cell phone self-portrait

cell phone self-portrait
things are looking up

Monday, February 28, 2005


Come Monday, it will be Alright?

I don't know about that, Jimmy Buffett. It's Monday now, and payday, and I've got bills to pay. Not much else to report. I'll post a photo of today's tarot, the 4 of pentacles, but skip the reading since it's all downhill. Suffice it to say that this is not a happy-go-lucky card.

I'm going to a salon later for a facial --- that should be nice and rejuvenating.

Sessions with students (two) have not been particularly satisfying today, either. Both were recalcitrant (I looked this up; it's "stubbornly resistant to guidance"), and I probably find that annoying because I get that way myself --- and we tend to dislike in others what we find in ourselves. It's funny because even when I know I am being stubborn, I do it anyway; it's almost a defensive gesture. If I can pin this behavior down and deal with it in myself, I'm sure that I will better be able to deal with it when I encounter it in students.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Six of Wands

Sunday Kind of Love?

I drew the Six of Wands today, and he looks like the knight on the white horse type --- but I don't see a real one approaching. Well, it's Sunday and I've come into town to feed my friend's dogs and cat again. I'm going to make a phone call to a friend in Alabama and then be on my way back to the apartment to enjoy the last of the weekend in front of the computer with a side view of the television. Woo hoo. I did buy a new CD that I like --- country hits from the 90's, including "Anymore" (Travis Tritt), "Look Heart No Hands" (Randy Travis), and "No Doubt About It (Neil?), three of my favorites.

"No chains
no strings
no fences
no walls
no net
just you
to catch me when I fall
Look heart ----
no hands."

As for that Six of Wands fellow, here's what he's supposed to represent:

Public acclamation
good news (important news)
reward for hard work
great expectations


inconclusive victory
acclaim with no real substance

The most provocative of those is "inconclusive victory." I'll have to think on that. My daughter is reading Great Expectations at school, so I'll have to tell her about the reading, also.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday NOT in the park

It certainly isn't the fourth of July. It's a sunny but cold day and I've been inside working at the computer and alternately napping all day except for a brief trip to the Waffle House where I dined on Texas Bacon Cheesesteak and hash browns. I can't find anything on television to accompany my work. I think I'll go throw open the door and let a little sunshine in. The cats are begging me to at least open the blinds.

Friday, February 25, 2005


Ghosts and Angels

I've just read and responded to the latest blog on "Friends of the Writing Center Journal," and my head is full of ghosts.

I'm just a ghost in this house
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
that once burned out of control
you took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

I don't mind if it rains
I don't mind if its clear
I don't mind staying in
there's another ghost here
He sits down in your chair
and he shines with your light
and he lays down his head
on your pillow each night

Alison Krauss

Fortunately, I have an angel hovering around along with the ghosts. My tarot card today is "Temperance," represented by a golden-haired, golden-winged man-angel dipping his feet in a heavenly stream.


A moderate lifestyle
obtaining security through frugal management of means
all things in moderation (including moderation!)

All of this is interesting, coming on the heels of the party hearty card.


Competitive interests
too much caution
a person with whom it is impossible to work
misunderstanding others

Hoping to clear a few of these ghosts from my head.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

you gotta love Sherman Alexie's work

Nine of Cups

A Jolly Fellow

The Nine of Cups looks like a happy card. It features a large, smiling man dressed in royal colors and apparently balancing nine golden goblets on his shoulders. I'm feeling happier today, too, so it does seem that it's "in the cards." Tonight I get to watch one of my favorite films with my literature students (that is, if I can find a copy of the film today in a local movie rental place) --- it's Smoke Signals, based on the short story by Sherman Alexie called "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona." I absolutely love the film and the soundtrack.

Here's the reading (Yeah!) --- Party Hearty

Sensual Pleasures
Wishes Fulfilled

or a little bit of this, but we won't think about it much:

an absence of upright qualities
self-indulgent behavior
temporary illness

Here's to a good, productive day with a little partying thrown in. I started off by having a pepperoni/turkey/pickle/banana pepper/Southwest sauce on Italian Herbs and Cheese bread from Subway for breakfast! Yum.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Page of Cups


Since I have drawn the Page of Cups today, I'm thinking about the play on words with "page," as in something to write on or to read, "a leaf, as of a book; one side of a page; to paginate; to turn pages" --- as opposed to "someone hired to run errands or deliver messages; to summon or call a person by name" (all definitions courtesy of Webster's New Riverside Dictionary).

I am turning over a new blog leaf, then, and I am simultaneously delivering a message and paging all readers to respond.

Reading of the Page of Cups:

a helpful youth of artistic temperament, studious and intense
a trustworthy and trusting employee
the seeker that finds a child brings joy
a birth

I find this interpretation hopeful because I have been wanting to have foster children for a long time now. Maybe this will be the year.

alternate reading: (not very encouraging). Self, let's try to avoid these:

poor taste
a lack of discretion
an unpleasant surprise

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

eight of cups

Eight of Cups

I laughed a good bit last night, watching some comedy on television and talking to a friend with a good sense of humor --- and ultimately, it helped to lift my spirits all around. Today, I'm feeling a little brighter than I have for the past few days. I just had a good writing consultation with an English 155 student who is writing a narrative essay about an episode of unforgiveness in her life and the steps that led her to forgive the one who had wronged her. My appointment book is completely filled today, so it should be an interesting day.

The message from the Eight of Cups card is supposed to be --- Enough of This!


abandonment of this phase of life
rejection of material things
a turning toward spiritual things
disappointment in love
a search for new paths

or, alternately:

a search for pleasure
new love
an abandonment of the responsibilities of life


Monday, February 21, 2005

Seven of Wands

Seven of Wands

I'll stay on the tarot theme today and remark that yesterday was a blue day. I'm still not in the most hopeful mood, so maybe the 7 of Wands is an accurate card to describe my current situation.

Some possible readings:

success against obstacles
problems solved or turned aside

or alternately,

misgivings about an outcome
hestitancy causes a loss

I'm thinking of trying a strategy recommended on the Writing Center Mailing List by Margaret Carroll: drawing a picture of my internal editor, that voice that says "That's wrong, you can't write that, no one will understand, etc." According to Margaret, drawing seems to help her and her fellow tutors "be incredibly present, grounded, focused." Oh, to be any of those.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Page of Wands

Sunny Days

I love these bright and sunny days. They make me feel as if the world is starting over. I slept until 9:30 today and then headed off to do some chores, including picking up boxes of books from my storage building and bringing them into the writing studio. I breakfasted at Subway -- something healthy (self-applause) and went by my friend Kat's house to feed her two fox-hounds. She's away for this season's Hunting Ball and having a great time, I hope.

Not much in the way of intellectual commentary today. I do have a tarot card that seems to capture the essence of the power of sunlight. I'll post it here and maybe somebody who visits the blog can reflect on "The Page of Wands" and provide an interpretation. Some possible readings from the Robin Wood Tarot instruction booklet are as follows:

a child with too much energy
a faithful or loyal person
a stranger who explodes into the seeker's life with good intentions
a great idea leading to success
a good employee

the reverse readings for this card include:

childish pranks
bad news
the behavior of an acquaintance that leads the seeker to doubt his or her sincerity
a gossip

These are all thing worth pondering.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Out of the ashes


This morning I'm still thinking about Eudora Welty's short story "A Worn Path," which I taught last night, and about the character Phoenix Jackson. I gathered my students around me and had them read the story aloud. We talked about the hunter that Phoenix encounters in the woods, who rescues her from the ditch but also points his gun at her in arrogance. We considered the old woman's journey into town and the obstacles she faces as a Christian allegory --- she, the Christ figure emerging from the thorny bush and arriving at her destination because of her determined love for a child. We also discussed the mythical phoenix, rising from the ashes, and the blend of this myth with the Christian symbolism. Phoenix is so like a small, frail bird, but she rises each year at a certain season (around Christmas) and follows the Natchez Trace into town to the doctor's office to get medicine for her grandson. Though her memory fails her occasionally while she makes the journey, she knows she has arrived when she sees the framed certificate (diploma) nailed on the wall with its golden seal. When we talked about the Christian symbolism in that, one of my students brilliantly pointed out that the golden seal suggested "King of the Jews."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hands with Coffee

For I Have Known Them All Already

I've just read and responded to Anne Gellar's blog entry (at Friends of the Writing Center Journal) about how we always think we are going to have more time available down the road. It made me think of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," so I'll copy part of the poem here:

For I have known them all already, known them all: ---
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

It's a strongly visual line --- "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." I see myself in the kitchen with a can of Folger's and a teaspoon, scooping up one spoonful at a time and tossing it in a cup that has no bottom and thus cannot be filled, or tossing it up in the air, so that it is wasted, like so many minutes of mine. My life grows stale, too, like old coffee, and after all it's only "instant" coffee --- not the real deal, from the bean, ready to be ground kind. I hardly ever drink coffee, in fact, so the can stays on the shelf until company comes. I guess in between I measure out my life with allergy pills. :>)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

the c.d.

the video

Ophelia was ...

"Ophelia was the circus queen, the female cannonball, projected through five flaming hoops to wild and shocked applause" (Natalie Merchant, "Ophelia".)


That's Not Funny! (as I snicker)

Yesterday afternoon I received a link to the Onion article, "Project Manager Leaves Suicide Power Point Presentation," and I hate to admit it but I laughed heartily at humor that is probably in very bad taste. Who can resist quips like "I just wish he would have shot me an e-mail asking for help"? The article pokes fun at technology-speak and at our complete inability to communicate on any real level about our personal pain. It's nothing new --- look at Hamlet's observations about Ophelia:

"She speaks much of her father, says she hears
There's tricks i' the world, and hems, and beats her heart,
Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they yawn at it,
And botch the words up to fit their own thoughts" (IV, v, 4-10)

Natalie Merchant's song "Ophelia" implies that all women are Ophelia. Listen and see what you think.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The book


I love the word "socioeconomic." Last week, I had a friend over for dinner. It was casual, and I sat our plates down in the living room in front of the television. When he asked if I wanted to eat at the table, I said, "No. The table is for fancy dinners. Where you're from, people eat at the table. Here in the lower socioeconomic classes, we eat in front of the t.v." :>)

In her essay, "Pedagogies of Belonging: Listening to Students and Peers," (see the latest Writing Center Journal,) Julie Bokser addresses the socioeconomic differences revealed when many students enter university studies:

"After they are admitted, many students find actually joining the university to be disorienting and even daunting, especially those whose socioeconomic, racial, linguistic, and/or educational worlds differ markedly from the academic world they encounter in college" (43). And how. I'm reminded of This Fine Place So Far From Home, a collection of essays by working class academics that features an essay called "Stupid Rich Bastards." It tells one woman's story of growing up with a father who was a junk dealer and then ending up in graduate school. Funny and too true. Often our parents want us to go to college, but they don't want us to change.

More later. I've got to meet with a student.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Our studio logo

"Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen" (Bob Dylan)
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That's me in the middle. These are my colleagues at OC Tech, posing with me in the Writing and Professional Skills Studio.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Blog 1

Dusk --- or, as Alice Elliot Dark calls it, the gloaming. I have so much work to do, but this time of the day makes me want to crash. A bunch of whining guys on the Discovery Channel, some show about building cars. All machismo. I've cleaned the apartment just in case I have a gentleman caller, or any caller. Lonely to the max. It can't be healthy for anybody to spend this much time alone --- unless, of course, he or she is called by God to monasticism. I certainly wasn't.