Monday, April 23, 2012

Readings for "A Bird Black As the Sun": Save the Dates!

It's spring, and poetry readings for "A Bird Black As the Sun" are popping up everywhere! Spread the word, and we hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 28, 2 pm
Kepler's Bookstore, Menlo Park
Readers: Cynthia Anderson, Len Anderson, Constance Crawford, Patrick Daly, Robert Evans, Lara Gularte, Ellaraine Lockie, Diane Martin, Charlotte Muse, Connie Post

Saturday, May 5, 7 pm
Red Arrow Gallery, Joshua Tree
Readers: Cynthia Anderson, Jeanette Clough, Noreen Lawlor, Jim Natal, Ruth Nolan, Enid Osborn, Halie Rosenberg
This event features an open mic where any poet can read a crow or raven poem. Crow and raven-inspired attire is encouraged! $3 donation to benefit Transmission Joshua Tree

Saturday, June 2, 5 pm
Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena
Readers: Cynthia Anderson, Ron Alexander, Maureen Alsop, Cathryn Andresen, John F. Buckley, Jeanette Clough, Mary Fitzpatrick, Noreen Lawlor, Friday Lubina, Jim Natal, Enid Osborn, Martin Ott, Halie Rosenberg, Jackson Wheeler

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Snow and Escape to El Mirasol

Spring can be the toughest time of year for us. A week ago, it was 80 degrees--Bill got out his shorts and his mountain bike, and I was back to my summer schedule of outdoor walks. But this past weekend, temperatures dropped to 31 degrees and there was substantial snow in the mountains. (That's San Gorgonio in the picture above.) We barely missed getting snowed on at our house--there was a good soaking rain, which we're grateful for--but we just want it to get warm for good.

Fortunately, we can get some relief just by heading down the hill to Palm Springs. It's very therapeutic to sit on a sunny patio and have lunch somewhere. One of our favorite places to do that is El Mirasol. We've been going there since time immemorial, ever since our first visit to Palm Springs. It's a locals favorite, located on Palm Canyon Dr. but away from the center of town. Above: Bill's favorite dish, beef chile rojo. Below: my decimated plate of shrimp pipian.

Big news from El Mirasol: they are finally bottling and selling their house-made hot sauce under the name Dona Diabla. Highly recommended--it's really good stuff!!

We finished off the afternoon with a visit to the Michael Lord Gallery, where photographer Mike Rebholz gave a talk on his current exhibit, "10 Weeks: Ice Fishing in Wisconsin." The show, which runs through May 6, consists of images of ice shacks--about the last thing you'd expect to see in Palm Springs, but especially fun if you're from Wisconsin (Bill is!).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cafe Europa & The Corridor

We can't believe it took us this long to discover The Corridor in Palm Springs. It's a grassy courtyard tucked away behind the shops at Alejo and North Palm Canyon Dr. With Palm Springs Koffi and Cafe Europa right there, plus the Just Fabulous gift store, it's a popular hangout.

Last week we went to breakfast at Cafe Europa. Bill had the Spanish Scramble pictured above: manchego cheese, Spanish chorizo, avocado, red and yellow pepper, minced cilantro and onion (though Bill reported not finding any chorizo in the mix). This was a huge breakfast, served with a side of rosemary potatoes and toast. BTW: the eggs were organic, as are many of the veggies. I'm not going to say much about my breakfast, steel-cut oatmeal, except to say: don't get the oatmeal. This is the place for egg dishes and giant pancakes. Go for it!

The coffee, bien sur, is French press, which adds to the European atmosphere. We heard a waiter tell someone at the adjoining table who had asked for sour cream, "This is a European restaurant. We don't have sour cream, we have creme fraiche."

While this was not a 100 percent perfect experience, we will definitely go back. I've had lunch here too, which is excellent. And the views, people-watching, dog-watching and ambiance can't be beat. Check out the giant Don Quixote statue by the palms.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Receding Moon: An Origami Book

I've been getting a lot of mileage out of a recent poem I wrote called "Receding Moon," on account of the unusual format I found to share it: I made it into a mini-chapbook called an "origami book." You can learn how to do this yourself from the folks at the Origami Poems Project(TM), which has its world headquarters in Rhode Island. Click here to see a video of how to make your own origami book.

You can get a free Microsoft Publisher template from the Origami Poems people that's all set up and ready to go. Basically, you arrange all the pages on one side of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Then you start folding. Finally, you make a single cut with your scissors. Voila--it's a book!

Your little book will have eight pages. Here is a close-up of the first two inside pages of my book.

I have been giving away dozens of these. As the Origami Poems folks would say, "Free the Poets!" If you do make your own book, be sure to give the Origami Poems Project a credit line and help spread the word. BTW kids love this format, and adults do, too.

Finally, here's the complete poem. It was inspired by two things: the scientific fact that the moon is indeed receding away from the earth; and the beauty of the moonlight on the desert landscape in our backyard. (Don't be afraid to laugh at the end of the first stanza--yes, it's supposed to be funny!)

They say the moon is receding
bit by bit, like a person who needs
to be elsewhere and wants to break
it to you slowly, so slowly
you don’t even notice.

You are blinded by that full light
over the landscape, bright enough
to see it all except the source,
which is somewhere behind
the ridgeline of the house.

The light creates expectation.
You sense something will happen,
a vision, a sign. You look for a totem,
animal motion in the spotlight,
but see nothing.

Still, the shimmering silence
calls you. You want to step inside it
like stepping inside a photograph.
All the colors are silver.
You don’t ever want to leave.

There you stand, at the window,
a chambered nautilus
in a world of pearl,
immersed in what you long for
until the sun comes up.