Simone Hill


I saw this the other night and was just blown away. That hasn’t happened in a long time. I got the cd, and I a looking forward to the documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? which was released on Netflix in June. She’s fascinating. In the meantime, you can read about her from this good, but very long New Yorker article here:

Or hear her daughter, Lisa, talking about her here:


What’s Up With Me?

Well, how nice of you to ask! It has been a minute, now hasn’t it?

Let’s see. Summer began and I went on two great vacations. First I visited McAdams and Jono in Cali (that’s what the cool kids call California). It’s a good thing I went when I did; since then, the whole place is on fire, complicated by a-holes flying their stupid big boy toy drones into the area, which is thwarting the efforts of firefighter. Drones are dumb. Anyhoo, my trip was great. I went to Hollywood, Temecula, Laguna Beach and through Pasadena, where I want to return. While I was there I was bullied by a baby and a black Marilyn Monroe, checked out the Church of Scientology (very friendly!) and a Hooters (gave me the cold shoulder. Maybe even a frosty nipple. I didn’t stay long.) in a 10 minute span, saw driveways that appeared to be completely vertical, and avoided all the human hating wildlife that stalks the desert areas all around San Bernadino County. Deserts are dumb. Dangerous and dry, too. McAdams and Jono were great though. I love them. Even the baby grew on me.

Brown MarilynLaguna Beach 2015Smile for the camera!

Baby has left the building! The kid was very busy – lots to see and do. None of those things were get dressed,though.

Then I went to Cleveland to see chmchm. We did lots of stuff and I had a great time. It’s true what they say, you know – Cleveland rocks! The whole family treated me like a queen, and I loved being a part of their every day.

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, Sunset

Lennon's Guitar

 Kent Cry in Bronze How can ya run when ya know?

Thanks to everyone who hosted me! I loved summer vacations 2015! Who knows? If I’m lucky, I might even sneak in a few more!


Temecula Bridal Shower This was a bridal shower in Temecula. The ladies were drinking wine slushies when the dj played that Big Butts song, and the ladies got jiggy!People taking pictures of people taking pictures at the Hollywood sign

People taking pictures of people taking pictures at the Hollywood sign.

VoyeurI took lots of voyeur shots. I can’t help it.


auk This is an auk. Here is an excerpt from Peter Matthiessen’s Wildlife in America (1959).

“At the north end of Eldey [Iceland], a wide ledge descends to the water, and, though the sea was running, the boat managed to land three men, Jon Brandsson, Sigourour Islefffson, and Ketil Ketilsson*. Two auks, blinking, waddled foolishly across the ledge. Islefffson and Brandsson each killed a bird, and Ketilson, discovering a solitary egg, found a crack in it and smashed it. Later, one Christian Hansen paid nine pounds for the skins, and then sold them in turn to a Reykjavik taxidermist named Moller. It is not known what became of them thereafter, a fact all the more saddening when one considers that, on all the long coasts of the northern ocean, no auk was ever seen alive again.”

What a sad end! Auks were the first species native to North America to become extinct by the hands of man. That was in 1844. There is talk now of cloning them – Jurassic Auk?

Of all the animals to clone, the auk probably wouldn’t top the list or maybe even make the cut. After all, there are a lot of ex-beings to choose from. Check this out:

Sometimes I think we’re crazy. We’re just killing fools. We have a million reasons- God, glory, survival, shoes, drugs, fun, fury, for love, power, money – so many ways to justify.


A cry

cut short

Hacked off

Crack of axe

Click of lock

Final nail clacked

Clods crashing on a wooden box


Like lightning struck

leaving only

hiss of scorch


Auk like smoke

barely rising

diss -i- pates


No longer a memory


Yolk from crack runs

Six feet under



*Aren’t Icelandic names hilarious! These have not been changed, in order to shame the guilty. Even though they’ve been dead for centuries, shame on them! And speaking of shame, shame on you, Walter James Palmer. Enjoy that fur moldering on the wall of your family dental practice in Minnesota. It takes a real man to lure an animal out of a protected environment so you can kill it. The $54,000 it cost to take the shot was steep, but the pride you must be feeling for having paid it – priceless.

P.S. Thanks for reminding me, Smurp. It feels good to be back in the saddle! More soon and much love!

Tick Tock People

“The only reason for time is so everything doesn’t happen all at once.”   – Albert Einstein

TicToc Katherine Streeter for NPR I think a lot about time. You probably know that, because I write a lot about it. I’m kind of obsessive. I think about time and memory, time and conscious and unconscious thought, time ahead, time past, time better spent, time for change, how time doesn’t change, how quickly things change, the transient nature of reality from moment to moment.

Maybe I have too much time on my hands.

My cousin just had a baby boy, and his next few years will be measured by all sorts of time standards – not only will his life be segmented in days and then months, but in hours until he has to be fed, how much time has lapsed since he’s urinated, how long he sleeps, milestones he reaches early, punctually, late, or not at all. The minute we pop out of the womb (we count on nine months of gestation, but due dates are kind of arbitrary, since we can time the birth according to need and convenience), we are beholden to clock or calender.

My life is compelled forward by bells that measure time, what is over and what is to begin: alarm clocks, school bells, wedding bells, blue bells of spring, telephones that ring (or don’t), door bells, bells that toll. Even thoughts are measured by time – “the first time I discovered”; “I should have known then”; “I didn’t realize until”; “it has often been said.” Indeed, by the first time I thought these thoughts, those I have just written down, Poe had already said them with music and form.( Pink Floyd used bells in the poetry of the beautiful song “Time.”

By the time you think a thought, it’s a thought already thunk; by the time your bell is rung, it’s a song already sung. By the time you write a poem about time, you know that poems shouldn’t always rhyme.

Winston Smith, tragic hero of 1984, is obsessed with a nursery rhyme about the bells in different churches of London; it ends with the line “here comes a chopper to chop off your head.” Time’s up! Perhaps our greatest collective fear is that time will run out too soon.

We have Circadian rhythms and biological clocks. We have diseases that lay dormant like ticking time bombs, and mysterious powers of regeneration, and time sensitive skills, abilities and opportunities. Recently I read that not only do we have a master clock in our bodies that controls our natural sleep cycle, but that we also have little clock in virtually every organ and even cell, and that those clocks sync up and tick in unison, or we suffer drag or go too fast.

I have come up with this conclusion: time is important.

The thing is, when you look at time in relation to an individual, it does have a heightened significance, because time has a bearing on a person; we are products of our time, or we are anachronisms, or we need time to evolve into another aspect of ourselves. In an individual, time is finite and duplicitous; sometimes it crawls; others, it sprints. But on a larger scale, time is infinite, much bigger than an individual, a family, generations, an era. Time is vast and doesn’t flow linearly. Time has its own life, regardless of you and me, so measuring ourselves in relation to something that is beyond the confines of numbers or units is ridiculous; yet, this is what we do. We think: by this time, I should have accomplished this, or I need to acquire that, or I want to be here. And when we fall short of these goals, we are sad or anxious.Time is so important to us, but really, what does it matter? All things will happen, in time. If we stop worrying about the past and the future, we can pay attention to the time that is right now. We can become part of time, instead of trying to control or beat it. We don’t have to be time fighters.

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, easily measured in years, decades, scores and even centuries.Half a century, anyway. I thought that at this point in my life, I would be different than I am, and that my life would have taken turns that would have brought me to a place that I am not. I don’t regret very many things I have done, but I am wistful about some of the things I didn’t do. At this birthday, I took stock of the past, and, for the first time that I can really recall, I thought of the future. I should be making plans, setting goals I need to reach sooner rather than later. I should plan ahead, so others won’t have to plan for me. Really, when I think about it, what have I been doing all of this time? I wonder what it all means. I have lived a glorious life…but what does it amount to? Am I just passing through? Am I missing something that, once realized, will be forever mourned?

I had a party at the museum. There was beauty everywhere, from all time periods, representational of different movements, the ebb and flow of tastes and sensibilities.Friends came. Family came. There were people who have known me since I was born, and people I have known since their first breaths. Friends came from my various jobs and schools, from when I was wild and when I was tame, some who knew me as a child, some who recognize me only as an adult. There were people who have seen me cry and who have cried with me, and  who have brought me joy, insight, strength and inspiration. I have laughed and cackled and dances and sang at the top of my lungs with these people. Some of the friends I ran around with as kids brought their kids. I invited friends I know intimately and new friends I have just discovered. I thought of people who I am tied to who were not physically there, but who I felt with me, who I feel with me often.

I don’t know what time means. Sometimes I don’t recognize who I have been, or understand who I am, or am unable to conceive of who I will be. But looking out on a room full of relationships, of people who I love, and knowing that I am loved; when I look out, or I look in, and I feel gratitude and acceptance, and I see beauty and complexity and hope; when I realize that no matter how much time I have left, in the end, I will be happy, fulfilled and thankful; then I know that so far, I’ve used my time well.

Happy birthday, Ryan Robert. You have some splendid years ahead. And happy birthday to me, because I know I do, too.

Thanks to all of you who have given me five decades of goodness, and Happy Birthday to all the Pisces -Aries Peeps: Harper, KW, ED, Brandon, JWB, Em, Joe, June, Perry, BDT, Ed, Jen the C and David, Mollie and Robert, KSJW, and my godson, Raphe. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out!

Hank Willis Thomas

I think this guy is amazing. His mix of race, marketing, identity and popular culture in a variety of media is interesting, provocative and fresh. Check this out:

Absolut Power, Hank Willis ThomasWow.

Hank Willis Thomas, Branded head

Hank_Willis_Thomas-2 He also works in sculpture and mixed media. So talented! I have a new favorite! Google him. He has so many pieces worth checking out.

Here are two interesting interviews as well.


I made up one of these jokes. See if you can guess which one.

1. If my dog was a designer shoe, he’d be a Furrygamo.

2. Q. What did the nosy pepper do?

A. He got jalapeno business!

They are both brilliant, I know. The sixth graders that I teach think I am a comedic genius. They feed me orange crackers just to see me do my Cheezit dance. They live for Selfie Wednesday when we take Ms. R’s Sixth Grade Selfie. The fact that it is not a selfie and that I am never in it only makes it more thrilling to them. I make them walk down the hall like an Egyptian, or as if they were velcro-d to the lockers. Hey! What do you call a bird that is stuck in the sky? A velcrow! Caw Caw! Get it?

Ladies Sing the Blues

Recently I’ve seen two performances that really moved me, because of their passion, intensity and intimacy. This first one is from 1965. It’s funny that her audience is a bunch of wealthy white people. I love her voice and expression.

This next one is much more personal and less overtly political, but it certainly brings up gender politics and issues of self identity in the context of societal norms. I saw this clip on SNL two weeks ago, when they re-aired their first show from 1975, in honor of the 40th anniversary. I don’t know if I had seen this performance, but I was spellbound by it, and have since watched it several times. This is the only place I could find the SNL version: There are lots of other versions of the song from the same time period on youtube, though.

Ah, life is hard, there’s no denying it! I’m impressed, though, when people can make something original and meaningful out of pain and sorrow, even if it is inevitable and senseless.

I want to leave this post with something happy…but what? How about this picture of an emu?

emu He doesn’t look particularly happy, though. That is one pissed off emu.

Here is a picture of my boot. These boots make me happy. They’re made for walkin’.

Are ya ready boots? Start walkin'! Ayup. That’s the best I have right now. Make it work.


Birdwheels, birdwhales

Truth be told, I’m not a big bird fan. Birds are weird and creepy, and they have mites. Some of them have flat eyes, and legs made of snakeskin. They’re prehistoric. Don’t even get me started on their beaks, feet and talons. If I think about it enough, and especially if I begin to obsess on their dirty bird poop, I get really uncomfortable. I’ve talked about it before- a lot. If you want to revisit my paranoia, go to this post and scroll down:

But when they travel all together, in those surreal bird cloud, I remember what the word ‘awesome’ really means, and I’m mesmerized.

Look at that! So cool! They look like whales floating in the deep blue sky, or jelly fish, or the oh’s of Virgina Slim smoke chm chm used to blow when she painted my nails in high school.

I’ve tried to take a thousand pictures of them, but they’re tricky little bastards, so fast and ephemeral.  I did write this poem:

Fearless Symmetry


Maybe they do it

For the fun of fractaling


Kaleidoscoping a peacock plume sky

Herding Marie Antoinette’s pink lamb clouds home

Surfing a Hokusai wave


They like to see themselves cartwheeling the air

Turning on a talon

Willowed ballerinas bent

In the moon’s curve

Chins pointed north

Beaks to the stars

Wing tips fluttering


A military formation

Parade of regiments

The march of mirror images

Showcasing snapstep precision

That’s some fancy featherwork

Flap flap turn

Flap flap glide


Tic toc keys

Unlocking invisible planes

They slip

Into the eyelash slit of dimension

Tessellating heaven


Maybe they do it to baffle me

Englassed, ensteeled, enclosed

Inhaling the insidious exhaust

Of collective commuter angst


They laugh

Caw, caw, caw!

When, mesmerized,

I miss the light

Hypnotized by a dazzling spiral

Gray Hitchcockian blur that splits

Angry cloud into fat raindrops

Death defying Wallendas on electric lines


They laugh, pointing with their feathers

They mock me,

Cackling, clucking their disapproval

Pitying my heavy legs


In my sterile climate controlled bubble

I stare transfixed,


They rise in unison, enticed by a breeze

Black fluttering arrow, pointing north


Car horns Aaoogaa

Vibrato with scorn

Those who missed the show

Red faces furied

Force my attention back to the road

A dozen AK47 eyes

Shooting me the bird


This post is dedicated to my beautiful, graceful cousin, Robin. Soar, cousin!