Tuesday, April 25, 2006

All Things Go 

A late frost tonight, perhaps the year's last, after a damp day. Not enough to make the new grass crunch, enough to bring a wet sparkle to the garden rocks.

Willow wakes moaning in the night, cannot tell us where it hurts. Her ears have not yet recovered from the two-leg flight home on Sunday; she's been in off-and-on pain and half-deaf mornings and evenings since then, but it might be just a bad dream. I go upstairs to help, she pushes me away for mama.

Mom was up today after a trip to New York and New Jersey side of the family. My brother and his fiancee, unsure of their future, trying to decide which coast would best support their art without forcing them to earn life-money with the time they need to create. Her cousins, once as close as siblings, now proud grandparents themselves, each struggling to survive in their own way. Her aunt, in the last stages of Alzheimers, cawing at her like a crow, refusing to take her eyes from her.

As the Florida warmth leeches out of mind and body I think more and more about her great grandfather. Dad's father seemed more lucid than the last time we saw him, though he didn't change his clothes the whole time we were down there. He talks about the present more; has rebuilt himself, mostly, moved on from the loss of his wife, my grandmother.

The connection he had with Cassia brought him to life somehow, more than any I've seen in him, even with Willow before her. When I left the room he spoke to Darcie of his first child, born ill, the daughter he lost long before she passed away; when Willow pushed at her smaller sister he turned protective, though he spoke with understanding of the rivalry there.

Maybe it's a blessing of sorts, that he's finally there for himself, unhindered by future or companion, able to live in the moment, love with whole heart a small girl just barely able to speak his name, who smiles up at him with big blue eyes and just a hint of his late wife's red hair, tries to give him the stuffed bear he gave her moments before.

My brain sifts through it all, trying to make sense of the unanswered moments before they fade or crystallize. I think about my family, slowly falling to pieces, growing up, growing old, spreading to the corners of this country. I think about the small ones playing musical beds upstairs as they cry and wake, rock and fall back to sleep again, enacting in microcosm the up and down curve of adult life, and of life itself.

This afternoon while Mom tried to take our picture Willow and I danced slow in the playroom, holding each other tight tight tight. I hid the iPod on a shelf behind their chair while they shared a story and song, and, thinking about the 8 track recordings my mother's father once made of he and I, there in their New York high rise, recorded their conversation for the ages.

Once I knew where those tapes were, and cherished them. But then, once I had Cassia's first cry, and then the old iPod was stolen.

The world shines in funny ways. Sometimes its just mica in the rocks, a soft rock so easy to peel away. Sometimes its quartz, hard and unforgiving, eternal and sharp-edged, permanent as teeth. Tonight it's ice. By morning it will have melted away.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:38 PM | 0 comments

Monday, April 24, 2006

Shades of Independence 

Like everyone and Everett, I like indie music. 7300 songs worth and counting, if the iPod is any indication.

Unlike Everett, however, who is happy to lump the Beatles and Dylan in amongst his "less cutting edge, straightfowardly "indie" music" downloadable set at All Things Go, I can't tell what makes modern indie music distinct from modern folk music.

(And I'm not alone, either -- see the Wikipedia entry on Freak-folk, aka New Weird America music, and pay close attention to both the mess of a genre-description and the oddly diverse list of acts that follows).

These days, indie instrumentation is raw and acoustic, themes remain subtle and slow, and -- for much of the genre, at least -- stripped down singer-songwriter is the name of the game. Especially confounding is the borderline acts once officially folk-designate, such as The Weepies and proto-genrebuster Ms. DiFranco. Both of whom I've seen at folk festivals. Before they were indie. When their music sounded the same.

Unless it's a very, very slight tendency towards the obscure and morbid found in everything from band names (cf. Death Cab for Cutie) to lyricism (cf Sufjan), it seems the main difference between indie and folk is little more than audience designate -- as if the very fact that bunch of SXSW-hittin' twentysomethings were standing up at a venue made something not-folk.

Which is silly, and a bit like saying that, because adolescents read more fantasy than anyone else, anything adolescents generally read must be fantasy.

So much for post-post--post-modernism. I'm calling the genre fakefolk, or perhaps faux-lk, until further notice. Please join me in designating the very concept of "indie" officially dead.

In other news of impending independence, I've been back at work one day and already we're counting down the weeks (7) until summer vacation. Can I get a whoop whoop for the teachers and students in da house? Thanks, y'all. Now get back on the bus and get those damn white strings out of your ears.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:53 PM | 1 comments

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Last Night In The Sun 


DSC00827
Sunset over Delray Beach


Technically it's another night, back on the Barnes and Noble balcony squeezing a few final hours out of yet another whirlwind week in the heat and humidity. The kids sleeps soundly back at the cubanero rental, resting up for the long haul back North tomorrow.

Sunday will bring two planes, car returns, driving to and from. Apple juice in the lab again, surely -- I can feel the weight of baggage literal and metaphorical as if I had brought it here into the cool breeze. Work and school again in the early morning the following day loom ahead. Monday comes ever too soon.

It hasn't been all sunshine and light. The strain of travel got to the elderchild early this time around. Having a DVD player in the rental car got a bit too good; by the end, we could do little to top it; the contant threat to leave her in the car became more promise than anything.

In the end, this week's lessons include the sad truth that there's little to relax about when you're traveling with two wee ones. It occurs to me in the midst of our final highway drive home this evening, Willow whining about Cassia screaming, that it is a rare moment indeed for all four to be in sync, but so easy for one to drag the others down. Fun with children on the road is a frantic affair, much like chasing a high.

Into every swim a little sand must scrape, I suppose. But what a swim, and how warm the water. They're a handful, and I love them dearly. And no childless couple could ever know the sheer joy that is four of us, big to little, in those everrare moments of smiles and light.

Willow was so sweet with her old prep school friends today, disbursed souls like ourselves, now Floridian transplants happy to welcome us into their tiny townhouse. Cassia's knees are bloody from falling down in short pants, but she turns around so quickly, smiling, moving on, it's hard to imagine her as the tiny infant she was when we first set off on the road, bereft of home, prospects uncertain, the last time we hit sand and surf.

And so we move on, ever the wanderers, ever on the road, always together. The sun sets on another vacation. But somewhere, it is always rising, floating into the sky, light as my heart when they are by my side.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:57 PM | 1 comments

Friday, April 21, 2006

Please Vacate The Premises 

Still vacant, er, vacationing. Life remains relaxed and warm. My neck is sunburnt, but we've had much cooler nights since we discovered the air conditioning.

Many, many more pix up at flickr, some even right side up. Click here for evermore zoo, beach, fountains, and an especially wonderful series of shots featuring my father's father and his tiny greatgranddaughter; see below for the rotated teaser.

I'd write more, but it's not properly my night out tonight. I just popped off to upload the pictures, and to pick up some cheesecake for the goodwife's evening of decadence. She's waiting at home with a fork, so I better go. Keep smiling, folks...




Great Grands. Ain't it grand?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:35 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This = The Life 

DSC00351

I'm writing from a Barnes and Noble balcony, enjoying my first try at wireless, vanilla latte at my side. It's warm up here above the midweek bustle of CityPlace. Warm, and just quiet enough amidst the world.

At the table next to me, two earnest greybeards debate the meaning of life in their heavy euro accents; two down, a trio of overtanned students study and chat, wasting their $3.95 fiddling with their iTunes playlists. I identify with both, feel young, and feel wise.

Down below us the traffic zips by. The Gap turns off its lights. Florida begins to wind down for the evening.

It's been 89 and humid here in West Palm Beach, which is a bit above our family tolerance. But we've been making the most of it. Yesterday, early supper with my Grandfather, almost 91 and still going strong in his retirement villa; today, four hours in and out of the car at Lion Country Safari, a perfect dry rub on a row of St. Louis Ribs at Tom's Barbecue.

CityPlace is our saving grace, our latenight haunt. In the dark the antique streetlights glow like our skin after a day in the sun. The fountains burst forth in ballet on the hour and the half hour, thrilling the little ones. Willow grows fearless, leaning over the cement barriers into the spray, dancing into the night among the startled, smiling crowds. We stand in line for ice cream, prompt the ever-cheerful Cassia to wave at the crowds of cooing old ladies. It's hard to imagine the kids happier, really.

Cassia Meets the Ocean, and It Is GoodWe hit the beach a half hour before sundown, and get the place almost to ourselves. Cassia shrieks with glee at the waves, won't leave the water's edge no matter how forcefully it tries to bowl her over; Willow inches into the deeper waters, rolling with the tide, and comes up grinning every time. I swam out as far as I dared into the rough tide tonight, the water bathwarm and tart on my lips, and waved at them there on the shallow surf with Mama to show I was okay.

I'm more than okay. The yearbook's done, the school year almost over. My back feels better than it has in years. The dark jeans, black shoes and crisp blue-and-white checked shirts I prefer for their comfort mark me as one of the best dressed down here: quite accidentally, of course, but being well dressed in the crowds makes me feel like the world is in its proper place.

Now the kids slumber safe back at our rented Cuban villa with the wife in a bed once owned by J. P. Morgan. They're tired out, and I'm tired, too. We're missing the full bloom of our garden back home, and who knows if the new seed is growing into lawn in our absence. I spent the last leg of our flight down covered in apple juice and ice. The kids are rashy in the heat, and Darcie wilts visibly by midday.

But it's my night out, the night is still young, and I'm ogling the comedy club across the way as I wind the typing down. This is the life, and it's the sour that makes the sweet taste so good. Florida, I raise my paper cup to you. Enough with the blog -- I'm here to live.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:44 PM | 2 comments

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Afterthought 

I don't blog much anymore, it's true. Can't tell if the writing urge is waning again or if there's just too much happening. I hardly use the computer at home, fall behind on my mp3 blogging, don't bother catching up, skim when I finally get to this week's web.

Possible, too, that the words are merely coiling, ready to strike, a concerntarted force. Because the poetry is starting to trickle back. First I won that contest, and then, last night in the midst of yearbook, this circular thing, this sonnet of all things:

The moon is as bright as a streetlight
Tonight

Rising over the meadow
Like a knife
It parts the new tulips
Like a knife.

A thousand unshadows
Flood the paths between the trees.

The smell of woodsmoke
Has been replaced by
the smell of the woods growing
In our neighborhood.

It rises over the meadow
Floods the paths between the trees.


It's good to see the words come together so carefully again.

As summer approaches a teacher's vacation promises something new: a home of our own, a deck to build, a yard to tend; children to fill any hour.

Somewhere in it all I've been promised a first attempt at some serious writing. A novel, maybe. A sestina cycle. Kiddie lit. And it looks like it may just happen.

Something big is growing in me. I can feel it.

In the meantime, we're off to sunsoak. Back a week from Easter, with tales to tell.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:55 PM | 2 comments


Hiatus 

The yearbook's been put to bed after over 24 hours of last-minute pagesetting and creative solutions, thanks mostly to me, and a few kids who were available by email and managed to make a few pages each remotely in between golf lessons and soccer leagues. You can't imagine how good it felt to run through the pages in the cirtual booksetting, hitting "submit" with impunity, after being so far behind for so long.

It's hardly worth the thousand bucks, but I'll do it again next year, mostly because the yearbook publishing company has built everything from multiple image submission to cut and paste functionality into the new web interface, because I've learned (some) from my mistakes this time around, and because I can't say no to a new principal before he's even here.

The baby's birthday went off without a hitch -- both yesterday's private ceremony at the newly opened farm, complete with goats and burgers and cake batter ice cream milkshakes and today's family-full household. It was a bit overwhelming for the wee one, but she learned to say "egg" and "gapa" and "gama" and wandered fearlessly around the yard with everyone's dogs, so it's hard not to be proud.

Older sister got her first trike in honor of her first anniversary of sisterhood, but she seemed more interested in the easter egg hunt. Later, long after the relatives had gone, we spotted her wandering the newly seeded yard, still searching for any eggs unfound.

Folks were gone by three, so I even managed to squeeze a few hours in on the yard, finally getting the last of the moldy hay off the dirt. Spread seed in a matter of minutes with the verycool new seedthrower; uncoiled the new hose and soaked children and self in the waning heat; got filthy and felt fine.

Funny to think a year ago we were in the hospital with a new second child, tryingt o contain the older kid in the birthing floor hallways, worries about impending jobloss and homelessness while trying so hard to stay focused on the new miracle.

Now the yard is damp and dirty and the kids are all sugared out; the work is over for a while; it's school vacation, finally, after all this stress and bother: Now it's all miracles, and we're off to Florida to celebrate. Back in a week. Enjoy the Spring.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:58 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Procrastination Pays Off 


Still swinging, I swear!

Sorry for the long hiatus, folks -- too much coming down at once this week. Term grades were due Tuesday, for one thing...and that yearbook deadline hurts advisors more than you'd expect. Still to come: more lastminute layout madness, and the baby turns one on Friday.

Perhaps one day I'll do a proper post on the oddness that was Passover at our Universalist Unitarianist meetinghouse. Also the surprising meta-irony of a totally non-trayfe Yarzheit candle purchased at The Christmas Tree Shop. Oh, and teaching through a full-day coffee-only fast, to a school population which contains not one Jew out of 420 students. It's been a weird week to be Jewish, I guess.

In the meantime, check out my contest-winning poem The Internet Is Such a Distraction (or Turns Out Gwyneth Paltrow Is Awesome) over at mp3blog extraordinaire Awesome Until Proven Guilty:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art taller. Or sweaty. Or more awesome, and more temperate
Whatever that means...
[more]

AUPG bloghosts and sole jurists Travis and The Trick promise to send along mix CDs and "a bunch of awesome crazy stuff" when they can, which is cool, but it's really just nice to know I've still got it. 'Specially for a poem I tossed off merely to avoid the avalance. Did I mention the spouse is bugging me to quit my day job and write for a living?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:52 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Eleventh Hour Caption Contest Entry 




What can I do? They all have passes.



Also toyed a bit with they test for gravity in fifth grade now, Ms. Jenkins, but decided it wasn't universal enough. Wish me luck!

posted by boyhowdy | 9:32 PM | 3 comments


Untitled 

How clichéd to say
It was easier when we had nothing to lose.
How human to write it anyway.

And, though it is wet and cold,
Lie on the new grass
Under this three quarter moon.

This, too, will pass soon.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:55 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spring Mourning 

Mom calls from the car, I think, on her way back from temple. It's my grandfather' yarzeit this weekend -- the Jewish anniversary of his death, usually celebrated by direct descendants with candle and book, there in synagogue, rising into the prayer for the dead with a sprinkling of fellow mourners.

My synagogue lives inside me these days. So do book and candle, I suppose. I've chosen the blogging life in the sticks over standing alone with memory and thought in the crowd of a morning service.

I remember how soft his tan cheek was in the morning, how he smelled of aftershave and pipe tobacco, making eggs for us in his tiny kitchen, white undershirt and khaki pants. I remember his voice, laughing high and hearty; his focused eye in the workshop, the smell of solder, the glow of the television tube.

But I remember them less, each year. And those moments I do remember -- his pipe, his earlobes, his tan shoes -- grow more crystallized, become isoltated from the rest of him, as if a series of close-up snapshots could somehow comprise a being once vibrant and beloved in time and space.

Half a poem came today, before my mother called to remind me of the anniversary of his passage from illness into death. I wanted to bend it towards him after the fact, but our world is so far removed from the one he knew. I couldn't make it fit.

Our neighbors who we have never met
are burning leaves and stormdowned branches
In the yard behind the trees.

The air turns opaque with not-fog.
Smoke covers us. Ashes fall like snow
sparse and grey past the picture window.


Mp3blogger Kwaya Na Kisser has posted the best rainy Saturday mix of downloadable songs ever.

But if you need to cry, you really should be listening to The World Spins Madly On:

Thought of you
And where you’d gone
And the world spins madly on...

And remembering those once here to be loved, lest even their tiniest airborne fragments melt into the air and disappear.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:57 PM | 1 comments

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sometimes Songs Speak Louder Than Words 

Yearbook deadline. End of term grades. Schoolwide technology planning.

Too much expected, but not enough authority to make anything happen. No clear direction, few advocates.

Meanwhile my stomach roils like the ocean in a perfect storm. My brain is ever restless, flipping unspent coins long past their IOU.

I wake up on the couch at midnight, forehead burning too hot and nervous to sleep. Am starting to wonder if the stomachchurn is a sign that this job is too stressful, too undirected. It's hard to keep the voices out, even when I'm playing with the kids.

Sick. Tired. Impotent. Unfulfilled. Anxious.

Wide awake and dreaming of you.

I don't know the way, but I know this isn't the way. Bring on The Weepies, because sometimes the music gets it right:


Got an old ghost locked in my closet, I know I know
Got an old ghost locked in my closet, I know I know
I got, I got, I got to keep it there.

Came down on a bottle rocket
Found my heart right where I locked it
Last night like rain on chalk
It's gone like money in my pocket.

See those stars shining in your eyes and I know I know
See those stars shining in your eyes and I know I know
I got, I got, I got to keep it there.

(from
Keep it There, by the Weepies.)

For a free taste of the Weepies, check out their MySpace page, because MySpace pages have streaming musical goodness. Or, if you're podded, swing by Jefito's recent Weepies write-up, which contains two absolutely gorgeous downloads off their new album >Say I Am You, including new personal anthem The World Spins Madly On:

I woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
I thought of you
And where you’d gone
Let the world spin madly on

And everything that I’d said I’d do
Like make the world brand new
And take the time for you
Just got lost
And stepped right through the dawn
And the world spins madly on.

And I let the day go round
And I always say good bye
I watch the stars from my windowsill
The whole world is moving and I’m standing still

I woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
The night is here
And the day is gone
And the world spins madly on
Thought of you
And where you’d gone
And the world spins madly on


The Weepies: The soundtrack of your life. Better mood management than Muzak, that's for sure.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:50 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cool/Not Cool 


The Onion: Arbiter of cool?

Thanks to a healthy addiction to HypeMachine and a longheld fascination with making the world my soundtrack regardless of genre, I own most of the albums mentioned in this week's AV Club. Arctic Monkeys? Flaming Lips? Morrisey? Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Hey, I'm so cool, I play outtakes of that **** for my middle school students. In class. (And Morrisey's first album was better.)

Especially disappointing, then, to have never heard of the seven bands the AV Club labels as up and coming in their accompanying grammatically garbled feature The New What's Next In Music: 2006.

Okay, maybe I don't get out much anymore -- with two kids and a dayjob, until the folk festival circuit kicks in, I'm not the SXSW type. The part of me that longs for Bonaroo is easy overwhelmed by the part of me that hates seeing music from more than 20 rows back - and when you've seen Phish from the sixth row, with your elbows up against Jon Fishman's mother, anything else is a letdown. I'd rather be at this year's Jazz and Heritage festival, anyway. Damn you, Dad.

But you want up and coming? I knew The Weepies when they were just Deb Talan. And I saw Brandi Carlile open for Ray LaMontagne way back before anyone even posted her music. So maybe there's hope.

Yeah, the AV Club's the bomb and all, but I got some cred, yo. In 1991 my turntable swam with De La Soul, Fugazi, the Lemonheads. I got mistaken for a teacher by Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield once. Heck, I saw Green Day perform free at the Hatch Shell when we were all, like, fifteen. Beat that, beyotch. Those "up and coming" bands never go far, anyway.

PS: In case it wasn't glaringly obvious, I'm still ubersick, mostly brainfogged and hallucinating, with that burning forehead that accompanies the early stages of "get yo butt back in bed before you fall over". Here's hoping my natural "voice" will return with my health, cuz this pseudo-ironic streetchat isn't winning me any new fans, fo' shizzle.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:38 PM | 3 comments

Monday, April 03, 2006

Notes For An Unblogged Blog 

Something about how I always feel guilty when I stay home sick, because how sick is too sick for work? I mean, I could go, I guess -- I just wouldn't make any sense.

Something about how, by staying home sick today, I'm missing a perfect bluemoon opportunity for a workplace grand slam: namely, a precious 15 minute faculty meeting slot to a) introduce/promote the nifty new Pinpoint Library resources search aggregator seen here, b) deliver the message about public librarian classroom visits, c) offer real relevance by placing it in the contextually powerful happy coincidence of National Library Week -- and, in doing so, d) redefine library services in the context of teaching.

Something about how I'm sick, with specific attention to stomach (crampy), back (fluswollen), head (dizzy & vague).

Something about how I hope this blog entry makes sense, because I'm never sure that I'm making any sense when I'm sick. Or did I say that already? Note to self: sick sucks.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:47 PM | 2 comments


Yardage 

Outside the window tufts and scraped earth, and undefined boundaries -- raw, with promise but so much work ahead to make it ours.

Inside, I am home sick. And, windowstaring, sick at the prospect of merely coaxing this physical space into something natural and safe for my children.

Last fall the task seemed obvious, immediate: clear the leaves off the newly filled leachfield before the snows came, in the hopes that a cleared yard would better weather the winter. Foresight would have kept me from merely pushing the leaves to the periphery.

Now it is too late.

The lawn grows tiny tufts of grass among wide swaths of dirt, goes half-raked at a time. The woods remain inaccessible, indefined, their boundaries piled high with last year's brush and soggy leaves.

The road and its surrounding spaces are all torn up from a plow operator that merely shrugged off our concern about the plans underneath. "You gotta put the snow somewhere," and I'm not the type to push harder against what I kow in my heart to be bad business. Now, along the long driveway, dirt mounds sulk among shattered shrubbery, adding insult to injury, laughing in the face of our desire for trim and organic environs.

Small garden spaces up against the house taunt me with their easy management, their clean boundaries, their rock borders and slate paths.

The task of making woods and lawn merge together seamlessly becomes herculean.

When I was a kid there were two yards, front and back. Also a hidden circle of drt behind the rhododendrons of our traffic circle driveway. All were secluded, separated from each other and the rest of the world -- by high crisscross fence, or the rock ledges that rose into the wilderness between our house and the one behind.

None were playspaces, really. Sure, we threw balls against those tilted screen in t-ball season on the flat front, threw frisbees into the hurricane there one year. But we were indoor children, bookish and clumsy. Outside was for going places, not being. The playground structure's swings were for contemplation, not play. It is telling that when I was too restless in the house, my mother would threaten to make me run around the block, rather than just expend my energy in outdoor play.

We planted bulbs one year, I remember -- the first, when we had just moved from a more suburban, less wild and more public lawn two towns over. My father and I on our knees on Saturdays in new mulch, trowels and soil in our hands, covering the earth, moving on sideways along the inner fence.

The squirrels came and dug them up. Years later, I would write my first poem about the experience. In the decades afterwards, landscapers came throughout the season, unexpected and in force, and sweep through the yard like a flood, leaving it trimmed, raked, and preserved, and seemingly inacessible as a living room couch under plastic.

I want my children to see the yard as endless, like my wife's childhood spaces, the ones that stretched forever into the cowfields and tilled cornrows, the woods and the stream, the dirt road almost safe enoug to walk unaccompanied by adult hands. I want them to feel safe in the outdoors, to own the world of sky and grass and feel like it has meanings both of itself and other, deeper meanings when they are in it. I want them to have hiding places, too. But that's a thought for another day.

The beaver pond and the trails behind are wonderful, and I hope forever think of them as extensions of our spaces, but they are ours to share with the universe, not ours to protect and build for the future. I do not want to terraform, or make artificial. But I want to make this house a place of comfort beyond its walls.

Oh, for a thousand hours and a place to put the waste. Oh, for a mind that can think in whole spaces, and plan slowly a lifetime of acreage management and maintenance. Oh, for a yard that spreads forever, effortlessly, into the world.

Oh, for a wellspace, inside and out, that could make better sense of word or world.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:00 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fool Me Once 


Question everything today. The Internet is suddenly, albeit temporarily, an entirely unreliable narrator.

Except, ironically enough, Wikipedia's up-to-date hoaxlist, a reader-driven attempt to catalog the interconnected web of pranks that is April 1, Web 2.0.

Uh oh. Do we really turn our clocks back tonight? Damn you, April Fools Day!




[UPDATE 2.0: Also wonderful, if a bit thick in the pseudogeekspeak: Librarians claim to discover the cure for information overload.]

posted by boyhowdy | 3:21 PM | 4 comments


The Urge For Blogging 

The blogging bug creeps up like poetry, words crashing together like poolballs through a haze of smoke and barclinking conversation on the green felt of my mind.

Today it was truly Spring, warmer outside than in. The day had the heaviness of rain but the brightness of halfsky sunlight, the breeze that tousled the treetops never touching ground.

I slept through it until noon, trying to damp down the flu that left everyone else limp yesterday, but seems to have gotten to me a day late, a reward for the care I gave them. Slept, and crept discomforted in bathrobe and barefeet to coffee, and from there to a perch on the front stoop.

So natural to meander outside, a first morning of an infiite homeowner series. As if it had always been.

In our yard so far wasps hover above the tiny rockgardens, where tufts of bright green stems swell with the bright yellows and whites of the blooming season to come. The cat has taken to sleeping some sort of perennial creeper, a tangled green scarf just outside the door.

And the urge for blogging rose in me.

The words began to burble there on the cement porchsteps, mug and well-thumbed novel by my side, but I pushed them back into the still, humid air, stifling the language until the girls crept up the hill behatted and pink-cheeked from their walk down to the waterfall.


Up Up Up Home!


This is what is left. This blog, these few uphill photos, and a thousand words now forever in motion, fading permanently restless into the feverbrain.

Just like the thunderstorm, finally here and all around us as I type. Just like the wind, shaken free of treetop by cloud and falling rain, suddenly rushing through our open windows.

Ah, awakening Spring. Ah, cleansing fever. Ah, the rising tide of words, the melting flood of Winter, the ice behind us at last.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:29 PM | 0 comments

Friday, March 31, 2006

Post #1501 

Home today taking care of one violently ill three year old, one slightly less ill and able spouse, one fast-moving toddler two weeks shy of her first birthday.

Somewhere in the invisible distance the workplace goes on without me. My students get taught something like and unlike what I would have taught them myself, inviting the eternal question of pedagogy vs. curriculum, a long-awaited nature/nurture parallel.

The child sleeps at my feet, curled around pillow in startling daylight. The wife sleeps restless upstairs with the baby, trying to keep her from illness. Outside, the cat stalks a hundred birds of spring.

It's like a weekend, except not at all.

Which is no suprise, really, because nothing is like anything anymore. Not my daughter's stomach. Not the Web 2.0 that I ask my 8th graders to consider in my absence, the new wisdom of the web so much like the old wisdom before it. Not the lawn, growing grasstufts here and there, where before a leechfield melted into the woods, loam and rock.

The world reforms, begins anew each day. Each blog post is another Spring, an essai, an attempt at worldcreation. Each garden bulb, each new green shoot is a mystery that will solve itself with or without the words to describe it.

Redundant, circular, we wander around Escherworld corners, never knowing where/when we might meet ourselves, never sure whether we should be afraid or hopeful in the face of such possibility.

Is the stomach growing queasy? Perhaps I am sick, or will be. Or maybe awakening always feels like this.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:49 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Indescribable Life 

The evening sky is full of stars
I think that red thing there is Mars
And in the distance, passing cars
Weave homeward from our local bars



Poem fragments flit through my brain. I look up vilanelle to see if the form is coming; lose myself in other people's words.

Form is my prompt. Writing is my therapy, my meditation. The blog is what has kept me sane for these fifteen hundred posts -- today's milestone, this one, right here, right now. To give it up would be to give up the long-held illusion that I am manageable.

To blog about it again would be banal.

It was a week exquisite, like every week before. My first experience with standardized no child left behind testing. A beaver sighting at the downstream dam. Trout fishermen and their children. My wife's full-day outing with my mother while my father and I watched the kids. Willow and I hand in hand in the late Northampton sunshine, all the way back to the toy store to return the doll she stole for her sister's birthday.

But the world did not end while I waited to blog it. Truly, a week unbloggable is only one mote off, a tenth of a degree different or less, too subtly something else for words.

Perhaps the world will keep spinning after all. Perhaps it is too late for any imitative semblance of forced order, any organizing principle to make a dent in what is somehow an undercurrent life.

Perhaps the life unexamined is equally worth. Perhaps it is the life lived, instead.

How fitting to have hit my fifteen hundredth post today, and be once again writing as if it were the end of the public life lived. How curious to be alive at all, really. The world turns, blogged or un-, and having been written, moves on.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:51 PM | 2 comments
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