Friday, January 30, 2015

Winning at Yogurt

I tried again,
the same milk, warmed to 110 degrees,
a paltry amount of commercial yogurt scraped
from the plastic container and mixed in.
The same ice box with a lamp inside,
this time, a warm corn bag wrapped around
the same ceramic pot,
at the same moment the next morning
I tipped the container and smiled to
see the yogurt hold its shape.
my day was different, happier than
yesterday because my yogurt yog'ed.
Buyers, beware of $13 Bulgarian starters
from foo-foo stores that don't 
work as advertised.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Failing at Yogurt

I timidly opened the cooler lid,
it felt warm, it must have worked.
I cautiously removed the lid from the
ceramic pot and peered inside
only to find liquid milk that sloshed
from side to side, not the slightest
sign of yogurt curd.
I almost cried after all my hard work,
the heating to 160F, the cooling to 110F,
the lamp in the cooler, the towel to hold
it all cozy, the warmed dutch oven,
the love, the care, the kisses, the hope.
all for naught.
failing at yogurt, what is supposed to be
so simple, foolproof, that saves money,
that is healthy and quintessentially local,
what does this portend for my future.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

making yogurt

making yogurt is one of those things
you think you should make,
the recipe says its easy, failsafe, idiot-proof,
it's less expensive, healthier, as local as 
one can get, what could be,
I know better.
optimism smashed to smithereens
upon lifting the lid to find a watery
slop of milk and imagined yogurt curd.
but this time, this time, I invested
more, a starter, a digital thermometer,
an insulated box, a timer, 
higher levels of hopefulness.
the truth will tell tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Looking at spots

she leaned in close with her microscope,
peering intently at the geography of my arm,
its hills and valleys, the colors ranging
from white to deep brown, the furrows
and follicles, her brow knitted in
concentration gathering up her
observations into a pronouncement.
her eyes are the watery blue of old age,
her back slightly stooped from so many
years of leaning over arms and legs,
torsos and breasts, feet and fingers.
you need to see a specialist, she said,
handing me a bright blue referral sheet.
As I dressed, I creased it as many times
as to resemble the hills and valleys of my
forearm, it will unfold when the
sun is rising, bathing the mountains
in pink and orange.

Monday, January 26, 2015

As a kid

As a kid
I rode my bike with
my guinea pig, Sugar, in the front basket.
I sat at my grandmother's feet while she knitted.
I felt more loved gathering dust bunnies
for the birds' nest in the back yard
under the apple tree
whose branches brushed against
the rotted roof of the decrepit play house.
Sugar and I played in the grass
where no one could see us.
I'd collect tadpoles in the nearby swamp
to watch grow into frogs, their small
bodies eventually dessicated, sticking
to the bottom of the Pyrex baking dish I
had hidden on the top shelf, forgotten.
Their untimely deaths made me sad.
As a kid, I didn't realize that which
I know as an adult,
It would have been too heartbreaking.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Sibs

we are five.
all popped into the world
in under five
years, a couple sets of twins
may or may not have helped our long suffering mother.
she paid me back.
I'm in pink with a flower on my chest
we recover from such things with
a laugh and a smile,
now, we stand together as
one family
having celebrated 60 years for two
57 for two and more
for the lone one on the end.
sometimes a family takes decades
to come together,
it was our time.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flute Quartet

a drunken flight of bumblebees
weaving in and out, crescendo and decrescendo
a few missed notes.
two drop out for a bit
then fly back in with a vengeance
as if to strike all the others to the ground.
we're crawling along the stems, our
wings drowsy in the sun, knowing
that in a week or two or three,
the pace will pick up and we'll have
to buzz like real bumblebees.
to get there, we better practice
in the darkness of night, in our
minds, no glass of wine
in sight.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Family bonding over a TV series

you'd never believe how this family bonds
from so many miles away, not with handwritten
letters or boxes of chocolates, nor with handknit
mittens or Valentine's Day cards.
we share a Netflix account, Karen, Daniel,
Stephen and me, and we bond over what we're
She just finished episode 1 of House of Cards,
he inhaled the whole series in 2 days,
we sipped a couple times a week.
I never thought she'd watch, the most
elite of literary snobs, I tremble before
sharing with her the most recent book
I've read, unless it is her personal
So, we'll bond over House of Cards,
Game of Thrones, Hit or Miss,
Vikings, 24, Downton Abbey,
Homeland, as well as our
shared musings over the
perfect pie crust recipe,
the advantages of wide fatty
hips in growing intelligent babies*,
and the affection that knows no time
or distance.

(*that one's for you, Karen)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Riding home in the snow

its quiet
only the soft settling of snowflakes
on my jacket, pants, boots, eyelashes.
the chill of melting snow on my 
the sting of snowflakes on my face,
soon chilled to numbness,
my scarf sits on my office shelves,
my glasses home on a warm table.
experience nature fully,
its quiet beauty, its purity,
pristine snow white.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What work looks like to a dog

chasing sticks
and chewing them
they reluctantly yield 
to the pull of sharp teeth
and powerful jaws.
the grass is soft and the
closest person is far away
doing her morning exercises.
we stay far away as she is 
likely afraid of dogs.
there are not so many sticks
out here and this one was
used in a tug of war yesterday
with Harley, a new friend.
after a significant effort
it's time to go home for breakfast
and settle in for a long nap.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A new operating system

he showed up at the door with his small briefcase.
khakis, a button down shirt, sturdy walking shoes.
I needed a new operating system,
he knew how to fix the one on my laptop
and had an array of tiny screwdrivers,
bent tweezers and torque drivers to do it.
the human brain is so much more complex.
Windows 8.1 is so much better than Windows 8
so I asked for that one and left him bent over
the bits and pieces of an old keyboard and
went about taking down Christmas lights,
folding laundry and doing dishes, things
I have avoided for many weeks,
just in time he finished.
he walked out the door in his sturdy walking shoes,
with his small briefcase,
khakis and button down shirt.
I waved good-bye.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy 57th

Happy 57th.
the sun is still shining on my children
I thought they would have outgrown the
teeter-totter, apparently not.
good for them
and for me who still careens down the
bike path, ringing a bell, singing
the same song,
thank goodness for 57, candles,
paper parasols, presents, the same
crooked smile, happier to be alive
than ever before, embraced on
all sides, having fun in the sun,
embrace 57.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Day 1 of 3 day celebration

grateful for another year
a back that keeps bending
arms that move, eyes that see,
legs that skate up mountains
and a mind like a steel trap.
a celebration worth celebrating
with friends and family, gifts
that make me smile, warmth,
another year gone, another coming,
for this I am grateful
worth more than a single
day, a single candle.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Socks make me happy

a simple gift
knowing how many miles
the feet run and walk
in the morning with a little black dog
on a Saturday with a dear friend
chatting about boys, work, life.
how many miles walking from
our house towards happy hour
somewhere downtown.
these socks are Vermont-made
indestructible, maybe even moreso
than my little feet that also
push the pedals on my way to
work every day.
they are happy, my feet
in these colorful socks.
a simple gift which
means the world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cute baby animals refresh brain

one of those brainy Ph.D. types told me
she keeps her mind fresh and snappy during
her work day by periodicallylooking at cute
baby animal pictures,
alpacas and bunnies, coyotes and piglets,
hamsters and giraffes.
she read it in a magazine, probably
Science or Nature, knowing her reading
I would have missed it and my
mind would have continued its
downward drift all day.
now I can look forward to shots
of brain energy via baby animal
i often laugh out loud.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Writing and Noticing

he was talking about writing
book after book of short stories
a few novels, being well known
when he realized he didn't want to be a
who would write a meaningless
four hundred words every day
a few thousand.
he said
in order to write, you have to notice
the look on her face
how a dog leaps into the air before
burying her nose in the snow,
the sorrow on the faces of those who
are lonely but too afraid to reach out,
how happy I am to get new socks,
the click of yaktraks, the sound of the
scraper on an iced over windshield,
what I avoid because it makes me sad.
all that can be written by a poet,
not a lawyer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Being #4

I'm fine being #4
after Heather, Christina and
that smart woman from MIT.
their freckles, their laughter,
the Victoria Secret bag,
a hand on the knee,
they're beautiful and intelligent
and they gaze at you with desire.
they want you
they are available
you could go for #1, #2 or #3.
converse on a plane
and fly exotic places,
share a meal at a fancy restaurant
hold their hand
snuggle at a cabin hidden in a forest
you can do all those things
and more.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

a moment of beauty

rose orange red
on the horizon, it's cold
and I fear slipping on the ice
I need to look down, in front of me,
but it's so beautiful
and the rose orange red
have faded every time I look
up from the ice on front of me
until the sky is pale pink
pale blue
I turn away to face west
the light snow sparkles
above the fog.
let me never look down.
in the early light

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dinner at the Black Cat

we were worried about what to wear.
he strolled in a grey zip down sweatshirt and a black turtle neck.
we relaxed into it, me in a wool skirt and a cashmere sweater,
S in a clean shirt, that was the big accomplishment.
we were seating in a black sofa, we were all so
to match the name of the restaurant.
black until white, until red
wine, and indescribable
names of one white plate after another
and talk of books and love and
he had to get ready to take a plane
we had to go home
and collapse
so good.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Long lonesome road

it would be
if he weren't at my side
and we weren't looking out the window
noticing the clouds floating in a still blue sky,
it would be if the little black dog were not
in the back seat, gently breathing,
occasionally chasing a rabbit in her dreams
after chasing skis all day, sometimes
disappearing in deep snow banks only
to pop up again, her face sprinkled in white.
it used to be lonely on this road,
but not anymore.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Spoiled Dog

a huge cardbox on the front porch,
not full of cashmere sweaters or socks,
new ski boots or a stash of great reads,
dog cookies, dog treats, dog, dog, dog
she's spoiled rotten, sleeping on the couch
only slightly raising her head to watch
me bent over carrying in her bootie,
then closing her eyes and settling
back into sweet dreams of dog treats,
rawhides and cookies.
if only my dreams came true.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


the ocean is in my ear
the waves going in and out
with the steadiness of a heart beat,
crashing over all thoughts
drowning them into nothingness
that goes in and out with
no meaning, just the rhythm
of nothingness, the
noise that never
goes away.

Monday, January 5, 2015

emptying the refrigerator

it's completely full
of food from Christmas, New Years,
even Thanksgiving in the very back
behind the wilted celery in a plastic bag.
mashed potatoes, left over gravy,
lasagna, rice, a half eaten chicken,
a single carrot.
it will all go into the big compost
pile and reappear in my garden
next year
i hope the refrigerator will
be repopulated soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Flowers instead of grumbles

when one expects grumbles
rightly so
but gets flowers instead
how lucky can
one be
especially when it is

Saturday, January 3, 2015

sleep calls

sleep calls
so tomorrow's dawn will wake me,
I will creep up the stairs to work left dangling
when children called
and I went to them
leaving the computer to hum alone
office mates to toil in silence
as no one came in to greet them
awakening them from their sullen plodding.
sleep calls me now
a warm bed and blissful
unconsciousness, only to be
aroused by his arm reaching
over to embrace me
and capture my warmth.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Notice Something New

it's a new year
a fresh number, a fresh month.
notice something new,
icicles dangling from the steam pipe.
how odd that it snakes up the hillside.
a stand of trees all the same youthful age,
the older one leaning so far over the creek
as to touch the branches on the other side.
today, the birds are chirping that I am late
where have I been, but sleeping under 
warm covers waiting for the sun to 
barely touch the top branches.
notice something new, a quickening
of the pulse, a new yearning,
a touch that feels warmer,
a fresh start.