Monday, December 19, 2005


I have been so unable to get words from my mhead to outside lately. So I thought I would start here. Just get words out. Not stress about them. Not edit them or rethink them first.
Its the week before Christmas. I'm simultaneously delighted and ambivalent. I thought my Decorating Party (we make ornaments) would kick my spirits into high gear but it didn't.
I'm too social for my own good in a way. I haven't had to do the mall craziness because I'm not buying a lot but I do sort of miss out on that buzz you get in the mall. I know its overdone and even sort of overwhelming but there is a commonality inherent-the idea we're all in this together at the same time. I'm a sucker for the whole Christmas Spirit thing and want to feel all snug and enveloped in it.
There's any number of legitimate, rational reasons why I couldn't so all the things I wanted to do to celebrate. I want to put upa gazillion Christmas lights outside and we have a smattering. And one set that look remarkably like teeth and people keep asking us why we've hung teeth for Christmas.
I want more than one tree, I wanted a little tree in each room so I can cater ot my folly for multiply themed trees. And I wanted to make wonderful batches of cookies. And, and and and I want to just feel delirious about Christmas.
Perhaps, it really all comes together for me on Christmas Eve when I can't see clearly anymore because its so late and I 've been wrapping like a mad woman...and then I get the annual panic that underneath the tree looks bare, that they'll be disappointed and then I have to remind myself its ok. Because I choose to choose gifts carefully and not for the volume under the tree. And the first stirrings that announce its Christmas morning. My four year old still hasn't woken up in a frenzy yet. She wakes up and tells us its morning and we have to remind her that Santa may have come in the night. And we saunter downstairs and she gets the big twinkly eyes and then methodically opens her gifts. It tickles us so much.
We simmer in the toy assembly aftermath and then collect our sense for the rest of the day where people visit and we visit others.
Well the Munchkin wants a little of my undivided attention...cya

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

So I'm a bit of a doofus

You see I have this whole poetry thing going on in my life. Its called and November 12th I'm having this big one year anniversary gig. I'm such a putz that I only now, this morning, three or so days before the event even thought to put the info on my blog.
But better late than never as they say so here it is!
Well I wanted my really snazzy poster to come up but I'm not techno savvy so I'll just have to type it up purdy.

You are eagerly invited to come enjoy the ALCHEMY PARTY
to Celebrate 1 Year Online and hosting poetry events!!
November 12
Library of Progress -1401 S. Light Street (Federal Hill)
Doors open 7 pm
Open Mic 8 pm
Some of the Featured Performers:
David Franks
c.e laine
Mark Sanders
Dri Fish & Native Son of 5thL
Jennifer VanBuren
Joe Wall
Bob Pyle
Raga Celtic Delta Blues
& more
more info 443-418-4762
Grab your friemds! Bring your relatives!
Swoop up your neighbors!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

SO here is the little bit o Halloween at our house. One Jack o Lantern on the porch and 4 leetle pumpkins on the tv. The kitchen construction has dashed my hopes of a well decorated Halloween. I LOVE Halloween

I want to be Stimpy this year but don't know if I'l lbe able to pull it off.
Sophie was Stephanie from LazyTown for her school parade. She looked great. Gotta find the pictures.

Halloween officially falls on Monday this year. Not much fun. But we'll figure out a way to make it fun. We MUST!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Was It Fate?

So picture this. You’re driving down a winding country road, late at night because you have to get out. Your toddler is in the car seat. You ache to drive and drive and just end up somewhere. Anywhere but the place in the middle of nowhere you are now.

Your phone only rings with bill collectors, you must choose between one less pound of hamburger or the magazine at the grocery check out.

You spend recklessly one day because your all time favorite artist has a new album. You are delighted. You don’t feel the least bit guilty you are holding his album in your grubby little hand. You choose to savor the anticipation. It’s still in the plastic wrap.

As you cruise aimlessly through the darkened roads you feel the disc calling to you. Just wait a little bit longer. Just bask in this knowledge its there. But patience has never been your strong point. You reach under the seat and pull it out. Bite thru the cellophane and release it.

You tenderly slide it into the player. The first moments of silence are exquisite torture. “Inner Revolution” is the first song. It reflects what you feel about life. It resonates. You are glad Adrian Belew sings it. You see your toddler is tapping along in the back seat. Briefly, you only feel enveloped by music.

Okay, have you got it? Are you right there with me? Good!

The next thing I know, Adrian is singing about MY life. I am incredulous. He sings the thoughts that had been creeping quietly in my psyche.

“What was the sense in keeping alive

something that never made us satisfied
sometimes it's better to get on with your life
I don't believe in hurting each other all the time

Simple lyrics accompanied by bittersweet melodies brought all the pieces clicking in to place for me. Just like that. The painful truth was, that I would leave. I would disconnect THE FAMILY.

The funny thing was, it felt ok. The crushing weight that had been lumbering around on my shoulders, on my heart, got lighter. I blasted the volume and sung along. I decided I would no longer fight “The War In The Gulf Between Us”.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Who's Going To Save The Day?

September 12th, 2005
03:42 pm:

You have to understand a quirky dimension of my personality...I am a little traumatized, a little incredulous by the fact I never uncovered my superhero identity or superpower. Its true. For as long as I can remember, I was certain I just had to figure it out and then, with great fanfare and perhaps celestial cheering, it would be revealed to me in all its glory. Really. Because you see, its just latent, waiting, wanting to be discovered. Eager for that moment when you turn that inner key and unleash your special ability to protect the world, as we know it. You just had to practice enough to uncover it. I was SO sure.And believe me, I practiced. On the 150-acre farm in Southern Maryland where I spent big chunks of summer I had plenty of time and privacy to practice. I would find a respectable towel and a large safety pin and stand proud in my terry cloth cape. I would painstakingly tape the longest, palest, pliable pine needles to my sweaty face with tape. I was convinced I could channel Cat Woman and use her skills for Good. Then I would run as fast as I could! (without ruining my whiskers) and imagine myself either streaking insanely fast like Flash Gordon or melting into another dimension or gaining momentum and leaping into the air to soar effortlessly.Each time, each sticky, determined time it didn't happen I was dismayed. I just couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. What I was leaving out. What I was overdoing. So I would reconsider. Try another angle. Okay maybe I didn't have a physical, like, athletic superpower. Maybe it was something subtle, but really cool like telepathy or seeing through solid objects. So just in case that was my superpower I would spend hours trying to telepathically pick the order of playing cards. Boy that was boring but it felt like important work. Even when I concentrated extra hard I never scored much beyond like 50/50. That didn't even impress me.So each summer I came back to my little corner of Fells Point, still a regular mortal, my heart sank. It felt like I had failed somehow. Not only myself, but all the Superheroes who were cheering me on. Crossing their fingers that I would unleash my slumbering force.After careful consideration and review of the facts I decided I just hadn't awakened some critical percentage of my unused brain. That was the ONLY plausibility. I knew in my bones, in the molecules of my being, that I was going to fly or something.I craved that Eureka moment so badly I could feel my superhero outfit, feel my cape billowing in the wind. With that image firmly resting in my minds’ eye, I would try test leaps off my front steps and meet unforgiving cement. My body bears the scars as testament.And to this day, umpteen years into my adult life, every Halloween resurrects those painful certainties. I get helpless with the yearning to apply some sequins or spandex, leather or feathers and magically slip into my superhero identity.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Warming Up The Keyboard

August 28th, 2005
09:56 pm:
warming up the keyborad
You know how it is when you have like a trillion things you've been thinking about and ALL of them seem to have enough significance that you want to note it in some fashion? Maybe call a best pal for a phone chat, or hunker down over a just right mug of coffe and scribble madly in your journal or spontaneoualy launch into menaingful conversation with a stranger and then feeel like the world really is a good place? Well, I've been feeling like that for a couple of weeks now. Life has been busy and interactive enough that i actually have experiences and thoughts that go somewhere. But here's the thing...I think its created a kind of brain bottleneck. You know how there inevitably is a minor accident on a holiday weekend on the large interstate you have to travel...and its just a fender bender but the two drivers insist a police officer has to see the minor scratches with his on two eyes and so neither of them will budge an they block one of the four lanes and everybody has to a) slow down to see if there is any blood or a body or something and b)no one avoids the now completely blocked lane in any rational fashion, EVERYONE tries toget out of the lane first....and so the other three lanes back up hopelessly as result? Have you ever had that experience? well thats sort of wht's happening with my brain.For example, my trip to New York last weekend. Childless I might add. That alone is worth a bunch of commentary. Really. And I was just saturated with imagery and obervations. I even have some pictures. Trying to figure out how to link them to this blog. SO keep looking for them.And we cannot forget that the kitchen redo is still underway. Its starting to look like something now, which makes my heart glad. I really! miss my stove. I think I'll give it long, loving French kisses when I have it again. Well, to be completely honest it won't be just any stove, it will be a crazy brand new stove that (this is hard for me to say) matches the rest of the appliances. EEk I know. Its a really foreign concept and its freaking me out a little bit but it will look good. AND I will have some kind of funky dramatic tile scheme to balance the normal matching appliances. Because well I have to. I'm genuinely getting excited about it now. I'm starting to imagine the cool entertaining space that it will be. So look for an invitation of some sort in the next couple of months mmmkay.I really enjoyed this visit to New York. It was relaxing in a walk at least 40 miles in two days sort of way. I liked it becasue I didn't have any specific agenda or plan or schedule. My friend and I just wandered the streets downtown. A little China Town and (I don't remember all the names) but Greenwich Village I think, and Houston Street seemed to be one of our axes but not Houston like in Texas-its pronounced How-ston-this is a very important distinction. You will be screaming NON Native New Yorker if you say Houston. So file that in your important file.I delighted in the architecture. Ok Not all the architecture. The old stuff. The artistry just floors me. Would someone tell me the reason, beyond good old fashioned greed, that builders and architects stopped creating buildings with personality and class and flair. Structures that flaunted craftsmanship. I won't go all crazy on this soap box because I genuinely want an answer.... I mean sheer mirrored squares and other geometric shapes have some merit I guess. The really really tall ones probably murmur to themselves about how cool they are I'm sure. But they don't speak to my soul or my imagination. Give me a grizzled structure with some gargoyles leering from the roof or buxom womanly figures hanging lasciviously over doorways any day. I mean really. I'd live or house a businees in a 50 or more year old building with character than a brand new structure in a second. Because I want the roof over my head to be alive dammit.Random notable statement from the New York weekend , "Now, who in my life needs Angel Snot?"

Notes To Get Back To You On

August 9th, 2005
09:01 pm:
notes to get back to you on
hey.we're renovating. All lower case letters to show my supreme excitement. (not). I mean don't misunderstand, I can't wait until the project is done and unveiled in all its new fancy brand spanking new glory. But. I gotta tell ya. Living in it, well is kinda a big pain.More on that, including a link to before and after pictures when I get them up.Still plodding along on the big party for my poetry site which was supposed to be a launch party but will now probably be more like a one year anniversary party because well its nearly a year old now. And doing well to my great delightful surprise. I have to give a couple people big thanks for kicking my bee hind and making me do it already- Meilena and my hubby. I kept hemming and hawing and they just wouldn't hear it. So now instead of talking about this cool website, I work on this cool website and talk to folks and generally have an outlet for my frenetic "gotta plan something" energy. I'm still a bit tortured that summer is zipping by and we won't really have a vacation (becasue of aforementioned renovation). We'll go to Lotion City for a day or two and I did do a 24 hour camping trip and I may take a brief jaunt to New York. But no week long simmer in laziness. Oh well. Maybe the whole summer vacation thing is just an illusion anyway? In other news, it looks like I'll be going to my high school reunion. This is sort of big new becasue I never thouht there would be a reunion. First of all, I only had a graduating class of two (myself and another girl). The school has long been closed. And well it was a nontraditional establishment at best. From what I understand there has been one other reunion but that was held for students from before my time. This particular one seems to be a mix of the two.So if I actually go, I'll be sure to tell you all about it. And if anyone reading this is familiar with Baltimore Experimental High School and might like to re-connect, holler and I'll give you the details. Students. friends of students, staff, friends of staff...if you were a part of that grand institution you should be there.On a totally different note, we've decided to take white sugar out of Sophie's diet. Not an easy task of course. But as an experiment I eliminated it for a few days and whoa what a difference. She had started getting this really nasty streak in her personality. Just not being much fun to be around. Bossy and pushy and over demanding particularly for junk food. Asking for it first thing in the morning. Marshmallows only from cereal and chocolate and then getting hysterical when we wouldn't give it to her. Now she is delightful to be around again. I've given her 'natural sugar"-ya know cane juice.. found cookies at Trader Joe's-and they don't make her so spazzy. So its either the white sugar or the artificial dyes-but I'm leaning towrds the sugar.Wish we could try eliminating it in lots of kids diets and see if the society at large didn't improve somewhat.I feel better without it too. It's got this insatiable thing about it. I've gone cold turkey from white sugar before. And I distinctly remember not eating it for about a week and then someone gave us birthday cake leftovers.I got the munchies, took a little bite and then COULD NOt stop eating it, It was gross. So I might have to tote snacks around and get the grandparents a stock but its so worth it.I had lots of other things to say but they've escaped me now. I'll try to post a little more often for the dozen or so people who visit.........
July 20th, 2005
08:20 am:
Sobering Thought
So here's a sobering only begin to care about how clean your house is if your creativity is going down the toilet. Got it? I think there's some truth to this because if you are busy being creative, who cares! how the house looks. You know the essentials will get done somehow because they have to but you don't worry about the dust bunnies on the chair rail.So I've been kinda obsessing on throwing everything away and starting from scratch. I crave places for stuff. I don't want to see a patina of cat fur on everything anymore. And did I mention we are gutting our kitchen and preparing to redo it and the dining room? Pandemonium is about to ensue.I keep telling myself some of this organization stuff I've been hearing so much about is going to visit my house and give me the space to be motivated because I won't be overwhlemed with the masses of stuff lounging around my house with no particular place to go. I will then be able to set up a functioning, hear that functioning desk and office like area. I have a desk now but it only just barely functions. I can only type on the desk becasue there isn't enough room to do anything else. I definitely don't have space ot arrange novel notes or write in my notebook.So this morning sitting on my cool, before the sun and humidity come raging along, deck I wondered which came first-the chicken or the egg? Am I too worried about house stuff so I'm not really writing or has it genuinely gotten to a place where it overwhlems me and its hard to write?I am, admittedly, a Jedi Knight, a Master of the highest degree when it comes to procrastination. It is an art from of quiet beauty I have perfected, lo these many years. It is the most absurdly self destructive behaviour I could ever wish on my worst nemesis. aaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!! ( I'm down on my knees now pounding the earth with bloodied fists) What did I do to deserve this!?And oh yeah there's the added spiciness of being right on the precipice of the decade I swore I would start meeting some of my creative goals. Right down there, a handful of months away. Ya know what I do when I have a few sort of undisturbed moments that my daughter gives me? I sneak over to the computer and read blogs. I read about all the sturggles and successes other people are having. I'll spend a solid half hour reading someone else's words put onscreen and then beat myself up because I'm not writing. "What in God's name is wrong with me, I can write like that. Or better than that, or more than that." Except I'm not writing much of anything.Soooooo dear readers, you have beeen subjected to this pointless stream of consciousness because for now on I can't read other blogs until I write something. Whaddya think? Will it get me somewhere? I really need a writing dominatrix to stand menacingly over me in something leather or latex and sexy and whip me into a daily writing practice. I do I really need that becausue I clearly don't have the back bone to do it myself.Maybe if I get a headstone mounted somewhere out back right now that reads something awful like "Here lies Julie. Never wrote a feeble line. Never wrote a line for that matter" or "Here lies Julie. She swore she would go out with a book in her hand. Guess What? No book". If I walked by an epitaph like that on a daily basis, sweetly rubbing my nose in it, would I get motivated?

A Defining Moment

June 28th, 2005
10:53 am:
A Defining Moment
I saw a wooden yellow and black Baltimore City festival booth at the Hopkins Fair, with two long haired people sitting on it, talking to passersby. I knew I had found IT. There was a banner with a butterfly and two laid back people were telling people about their high school. “No man, we don’t give grades”. “Exactly, you get to pick your own classes.”“There aren’t that many students, maybe 75 or something.”I dragged my mom over to the booth and asked a couple questions. When I found out it was right downtown I thought “yes!”. I clutched a brochure in my sweaty little hand until I made an appointment for admissions.THIS was my high school. I absolutely, would not go to an all girls’ school and wear a uniform. I would eat roaches first. But this school, this was something I could sink my teeth into..I was so excited I started that summer. When I met the other students I felt comfortable. We shared interests and concerns. I could work as hard or as little as I chose and no one chided me one way or the other. They didn’t care what clothes I wore and encouraged me to ask questions. They already knew all the safe spots to smoke a bowlWhat I didn’t realize until later was how much that choice manifested the course of my life. A seemingly simple, little decision impacted my entire life.At this high school, I met a guy who took me on an Alice In Wonderland emotional journey. I met my first husband. I learned that I had the ability to sway an audience with my words. On paper, in front of people. I found I could plan events and raise money. I learned that I didn’t have drug or alcohol addictions but I liked mind altering substances maybe a little too much. I learned I had self -discipline, even if my environment didn’t. I met a mentor who remains a great friend. My mentor helped me get my first steps into the career I wanted. I left that career path because I had my son. My first husband’s addictions forced me back into the workforce. Back to the nature center where I first worked and I met my present husband. I walked all of these paths because I was able to choose my learning environment. I preferred a place called Baltimore Experimental High School far more, than any of the traditional options.

How I Write

June 7th, 2005
03:01 pm:
How I Write
Once upon a time, I was a writer who wrote at the drop of a hat. I could write anywhere, with any level of noise. I could write about whatever came into my little head. I could write in the day or the wee hours of night. I dreamed of writing for a living. I fantasized seeing my book on the shelves of bookstores. I often wrote stories about aliens and monsters, blood and gore. Then I lurched into writing about random occurrences. I also wrote poetry if an idea didn’t quite merit the length of a story. I wrote because it felt good and it was fun. I didn’t have any prerequisites except a college ruled, spiral bound notebook and a pen that wrote smoothly. Then, one day I looked up and realized my writing had come to a standstill.Now, a divorce, 2nd marriage, 2 children and multiple forays into the workforce later, I am wondering how to get the magic back. I used to write fiercely, fearlessly. Now, I write nervously and only if I won’t be disturbed, interrupted.These days I need a prompt, a purpose, a kick start. A little something to outsmart the negative mantra that revs instantly and powerfully, like that Harley screaming up Loch Raven Boulevard. I frequently tease myself with the notion, “If I just get this laundry, organizing, event planning, child rearing, husband tending, gardening done first, I’ll make writing a habit again”. So, I putter along in fits and starts. Make myself attend at least one casual writing workshop a week. I read the work of other real people who write regularly and I remind myself of my vow not to be rocking in my chair of old age, nursing regrets about how I never got around to writing.

old LJ repost #2

May 6th, 2005
08:38 pm: I've almost forgottenhow this blog thing works. Its been ages since I've posted anything. For good reason..I've been surprisingly busy. Surprised by the fact my little pet project, is doing quite well. I'm totally surprised by how many members I have already. There is consistent daily activity, interaction, support between members. Its really a good thing. The more surprising aspect has been the success of the poetry events I've been putting together. I've gone from wondering if there will be any poets, which was what I worried about during the joint project I undertook before, and my first sponsored poetry event when I worried wether all the poets that showed up would get time to read before they closed the venue. I even raised money for a local nonprofit, BookThing ( on a tuesday night with a event. I'm part of the team putting together poetry at a local festival, SoweboFest, and with very little press, we have 29 poets signed up two weeks before the festival. Awesome!I think what pleases me most about how this project is coming together is that it is my personal antidote to the all the bad news the networks push down our throats, the wars, the general malaise that can so easily descend upon someone living in the US right now.This is my way to give community a chance, a way to get to know some new people, a way to get poetry into the mainstream a little more. I feel like poetry is one of those art forms that gets you to slow down a moment. Its always an opportunity to see glimpses of someone else's head, world, and perspective for a change.Its also been gratifying to see people enjoying my poetry. I'm still really fighting the stage fright thing. I don't quite understand it because I taught for years and that kind of "public speaking" came easily to me. Reading my poetry is a fresh little trauma each time. But I try to look at it this way, at least when I'm feeling all nervous and antsy and self conscious-I know I am alive. I'm present in the moment of anxiety.... I'm pretty sure it will get a little easier each time, and I have been in the company of and gotten support from some excellent role models. I was kind of proud of myself last week, I went to see a nationally known spoken word artist, Ursula Rucker,very strong, really moving. And there was an open mic afterwards. I hesitantly put my name in the hat. I was the first name called..and yikes, what a performer to follow. But I got up on stage anyway, and read as clearly and directly as I could muster. It was hard but I did it. I feel good about that.I haven't been writing as much poetry as I would like lately. But I've been going to weekly workshops around town and keeping the juices flowing. I did write one last week that had been stewing for awhile. I've been reading this fascinating book called The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram ( I think) and it sparked my most recent poem.geesh, this was a long post....I guess I'll quit here and save something for the next one.

repost of old LJ #1

December 3rd, 2003
11:20 am: flogger(this is also on my blogspot)I think I'm in the market for a good flogger. We need someone to come here and beat us senseless until we figure out how to clean up after ourselves. I mean its really out of control. 98% of the time, if someone "popped by" I would be mortified by the state of my house. Not just kid clutter, well, ok, there is kid clutter. Is there such a thing as kid filth? There's always a fine patina of crumbs, and dried play doh and cat hair and tiny shreds of paper. I guess I can understand that. But, I can rarely see the floor in our bedroom. Everything is always on the counter and not in cupboards in our kitchen. The sink usually full with who knows what dishes. Some from today, some from yesterday I just didn't have the energy to finish, a couple days of rinsed recycling on the drying rack. My desk is just a cacophany of misplaced crap, pens that may or may not write, cds, cassette tapes I don't even listen to, jewelry wire, my engagement ring, a paper lantern......I don't get it. So really, If someone could just come over and beat us regularly, maybe we could get the hang of it. If I go to leave the dinner dishes in the sink over night-just a few good slaps might remind me. I really do apologize if some of you had horrible parents that disciplined you that way for real...this is just my bizarre fantasy life and I didn't mean to open old wounds. Now, my mother might argue that was how it was in her Cinderella life. She was her parents scullery maid and vowed as an adult never to lift a finger to clean unnecessarily. ( while typing I realize Soph has dusted the entire floor of the house in molecules of shredded soy cheese) And by the way, I can tell you that even a REALLY impassioned motivational conversation doesn't get the kitchen floor to clean itself. I just thought I would save you some trouble.