Friday, January 28, 2011


We've been "passed over" by the snowstorms that crippled the Northeast over Christmas and through most of January, but the latest storm hit us.
Only eight inches... not so bad.
Heavy, wet snow - very beautiful.
I think of the first two stanzas of an old poem I learned as a child:

The First Snowfall

by James Russell Lowell

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Found the iPod !

After three days of obsessive searching, it turned up. Under the bed. What does this say about the state of my scrambled brains?

I'm so relieved. I'm also very happy to be able to finish listening to Henning Mankell's Wallander

novel, One Step Behind. It's a page turner... what should I call that when I am listening to it? It's a Swedish police procedural; the hero, Kurt Wallander, is a dynamic character, and the plot is gripping. This is the fifth Wallander novel I've read/listened to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Lost my iPod this afternoon...

What a sense of loss. I had it in my skirt pocket - stupid - shallow pocket - and somewhere between my office at school and the car, it slid out.
I've looked everywhere... including going back over to the Mount to retrace my steps, and all through the car with a flashlight, but to no avail.
If some student has picked it up, I hope they turn it in. When they see the type of music stored on it,they will know that it belongs to an old coot:
Christmas music from Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.... Joan Baez in Concert... The Beatles... Fleetwood Mac... whole books like The Help, and several Wallander murder mysteries, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince... podcasts of music from the Taize Community... clearly not your
undergrad's choice of stuff!
Photos of birds and flowers and gardens and Cape May...
I realize how attached I have become to this little machine.
Telling myself I can live without it...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Zick Dough Hits the Spot!

To the left you see a Titmouse chowing down on the Zick Dough I have stuffed into the top of the suet feeder on my windowsill.

Zick Dough is a concoction devised by Julie Zickafoose, one of my favorite naturalists and bloggers. It's made of melted peanut butter and lard mixed together with oats, flour, cornmeal, and Chick Starter. The birds love it.

I have had great entertainment watching them go for it.
I keep waiting for a Bluebird or a Robin to find it.

January in Emmitsburg

Some new poems

In the weeks of resting up, I have been writing. Getting another manuscript together. I think this one will be called Incremental Losses. If that's not too mordant.

Here are two new poems:

What you don’t know won’t hurt you

What you don’t know won’t hurt you

I said as I cleaned my dirty glass

Then you will see what will happen

Said the old woman, shaking her head.

I said as I cleaned my dirty glass

It’s time to get my vision checked.

Said the old woman, shaking her head,

It’s only been five years, after all.

It’s time to get my vision checked

Watch the blurry doctor shake his head

It’s only been five years, after all.

Plenty of time for an eye to go blind.

Watch the other doctor shake her head,

The woman-trouble doctor with bad news:

Plenty of time for a tumor to grow wild

Beyond its house and spread out to the yard.

The woman-trouble doctor with bad news:

It’s only been ten years since your last test:

Beyond its house it’s spread out to the yard.

Then you will see what will happen.

It’s only been ten years since your last test

Said the woman-trouble doctor, shaking her head.

Five years blur and ten years blood ignored.

What you don’t know won’t hurt you.

A Sudden Fear gripped me

Big black wore a roman collar

loud haranguing voice gripped my plackey heart

griped about my mistakes

groped in my head for control, contrition,

grouped its army of righteousness around me…

My clotted heart murmers an incantation:

Fear far fair fewer fever

sudden sodden

Would that a bucket of water would melt you…

Would that saying your secret name

Like Rumpelstiltskin

would force you to flee

from my memory

Where have I been?

I kept wondering why I was so tired... and then I began to get short of breath when climbing the hill from the parking lot at school to my office... and then I could not get warm... and then I was so itchy...
Finally I went to my doctor and she had some blood drawn. Turns out I have severe anemia from bleeding from radiation damage from the cancer treatment. My hemoglobin was 7 -- 13 is normal. Two days later I passed out in the hall at home and scared everybody, so I had an ambulance ride to the hospital... hemoglobin level down to 6.9. So they kept me overnight and gave me two pints of blood.
So the hemoglobin went up to 11, and I felt much better.
The doctor told me I had to take it really really easy, and eat spinach and red meat, and take iron pills... all of which I have been doing since these misadventures in December.
It was the most peaceful and quiet Christmas I ever had.

I'm better, but the hemo still isn't up to where it needs to be.
But school starts on Monday, and I will be happily back in the classroom, teaching Freshman Seminar, Mod Civ, and Women of Faith.