Monday, September 27, 2010

Crush and gratitude

Yesterday, we crushed a ton of Sauvignon Blanc grapes and a ton and a half of Merlot grapes. This volume was made possible by a raft of friends helping out and by the Big Dog, which is what I'm calling our new destemmer-crusher.

Doesn't it look sleek? Wait until we turn it on!

The garden statue yard next door...

Many hands sorting Sauvignon Blanc grapes...

Pressing the Sauvignon Blanc...

See how it runs...

Merlot coming through...

Most of wine-making is cleaning. A lot of cleaning. And I'm really grateful for the help with that!
I'm grateful for all the help with crush. I'm grateful we have the opportunity to do this. I'm grateful that it didn't rain much. I'm really grateful for the Big Dog, which made the day run much more smoothly (and we got home before dark).
I'm grateful for the sunny day we had on Saturday, and a poem acceptance.
Back a bit, I'm grateful for the Day of Caring on Friday, and the people at Hope for Horses who rescue abused and neglected horses. I'm grateful for Josie, the one-eyed horse who, after everything she's been through, likes to have her belly scratched.
I'm grateful for a moment of quiet so I can share all this with you. Open the door. Open my heart.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't burn out--come to LitFuse

This came to my inbox, and I want to share it, with high recommendations. I may be crushing; otherwise, I'll be at the heart of harvest and poetry in Tieton.

LiTFUSE Poets' Workshop

Dear Poet:

There are many reasons why we don't take the leap to embrace our authentic selves. Worries about money, the kids, job obligations; unwillingness to go over the mountains or to try something unknown.

All I can say is that every single person who has set those concerns aside and gone to LiTFUSE Poets' Workshop has been grateful they did so. They often come to me and say it was the best thing they did all year.

LiTFUSE is just over two weeks away, 10.8-10. Although there are plenty of fun Friday events, all the main workshops are on Saturday & Sunday. The cost is only $135, including the Poets' Banquet on Saturday night. Life's cares will still be there when you get back, but you'll have a refreshed spirit and new inspiration.

LiTFUSE only happens once a year. Please, won't you join us?

10.8-10.10, Mighty Tieton, near Yakima. A few free stays still available for those in need. Please CLICK HERE for the schedule or CLICK HERE to go directly to the registration page.

Northwest Writers UNiTE!

Michael Schein
LiTFUSE Director

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gratitude Journal: Late but no less thankful!

As I was sitting on the bus this morning, trying to make my way home as fast as possible to look for Gilbert the cat who ran outside when the wind blew the door open, I realized how important is to be thankful even when things are looking not optimal.

It reminds me of the movie My Life as a Dog, and the observation that "It all depends on how you look at it."

Right away, I am thankful that my cat came back. (Yes, I walked around the neighborhood for an hour shaking his carton of treats and calling him, and yes I sent out email to the neighborhood blockwatch, and yes, I was about to print out flyers when Gilbert appeared in the backyard, full of attitude, and slunk into the house, and I'm thankful for that.)

I'm thankful I work with people who understand the sudden nature of such events, and I'm thankful I still had time to do some work from home.

As I've said before, I'm thankful for my family and my friends and my family's friends. Friday and Saturday, we reveled and wandered with friends from Santa Fe. Last night was my brother-in-law's sixtieth birthday party. What a wonderful time!

I'm thankful for my four beans (yes, I'm up to four) and my one zucchini.

I'm thankful to see a little sun today.

And I'm thankful for a poem that needs some work and play. I'll get to that now.

Open the door. Open my heart.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


In a good way—

—the Fall 2010 issue of The Smoking Poet is online now, including the poems about Schrodinger's cat and stealing an ambulance, plus much more.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Gratitude Journal: Anti-anxiety

I began the Sunday Gratitude Journal because I often hit a patch of melancholy on Sundays--as though I'm not doing enough, not good enough, not thin enough—that I don't have enough time, and I'm not using the time I have well enough. Insecurities heap up like old receipts in my purse.

Today is one of those days, and I'm grateful for the Gratitude Journal, which reminds me of all the good things.

My sleepy cat, for example.

My children.


I might be thankful for the same things every week. Every day. It's good for me to remember them.

I'm grateful for my friends who continually inspire me.

I'm grateful that I can take time out for this—that I am able to take for granted shelter and food and clothing and a job. But I don't take them for granted. I am grateful for them. Every day.

And I'm grateful for opportunities and whatever poems come my way—the ones I write and the ones written by others that I read and feel myself knocked off my feet. I'm very grateful for that.

Open the door. Open my heart.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A new book is in the works

When I logged onto email Saturday morning, I found really good news: Ravenna Press would like to publish my book!

It was a euphoric weekend. It's still so exciting…

And the book will be coming out sometime in 2011.

I'm especially excited because I wrote these poems for a friend who, when I started, was undergoing breast cancer treatment and the long healing after. I've shared the manuscript with her (several versions over the past three years), but I've really wanted to be able to give her a book.

I went the query route and then the contest route. I was not always cheerful about this. A lot of rejection.

I returned to the query route, following some advice by Karen Finneyfrock , and I attended the Hugo House conference Finding Your Publisher in the 21st Century, which is where I first connected with Ravenna Press.

Now, I'm thinking about blurbs and cover art and an author photo.

But I want to take a moment to thank all my friends who have read through the manuscript and helped with the poems and cheered me up. I want to thank my friend who inspired these poems, for her persistent energy (she's also a fantastic wit). And I want to thank my daughter, who has believed in this project, and prodded me on it, from the beginning.

That's my news, my good news.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gratitude Journal, Labor Day

How quickly things can change! I posted my last post on Friday morning, and the next morning I opened my email and found good news!

On to the gratitude journal—a day late, and brimming with gratitude.

I am very grateful that my manuscript has been accepted.

I am very grateful for all the support I've received over the years from family and friends.

I am especially grateful for my daughter's support and her persistent belief in this project. That has meant so much to me.

I'm grateful for medical advances, increasing survival rates, the survival of my friends.

I'm grateful for having a family that enjoys each other and has fun together. And I'm grateful that my sons can kick my ass in Boggle.

I'm grateful for this day off, when I shall labor as little as possible, and I'm grateful for having a job that gives me this day off—for having a job.

And, really, I'm grateful for this life.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I just received a rejection in less than 12 hours.


Very efficient.