Archives for the month of: September, 2008

The inaugural Wine(y) Poetry Night finally happened…despite extreme bike crash injuries (Miz A is okay, but got stitches in her elbow this morning), timing misunderstandings and my sudden realization that my collection of Pablo Neruda is missing (gasp!). I’ve been wanting to get this event going for the longest time and I finally got off my duff and did it. I adore my friend Jill T., but now I love her even more for the fact that she brought a super thick collection of Neruda, from which she read…and I swooned. His Tierra series hits me every time. I have a special affinity for “Unity”.

I was thrilled to share my love of contemporary poet Stephen Dunn. A piece of his entitled ‘Optimism’ from his Pulitzer-Prize winning collection “Different Hours” is one that I keep on my nightstand and read on a regular basis. I was introduced to Dunn by my former Photo Editor back in Nebraska, Ted Kirk, and I am most thankful for the introduction. His work has such power. It is complex simplicity.

The Divine Miz M, sporting a bright red t-shift printed with: W.W.J.J.D.?, read from her hero, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll”…hence the What Would Joan Jett Do?” t-shirt.

Tesa read a beautiful piece “And you held me” by Janet Marley (sp?) as well as a few exquisite pieces by Rumi. Miz A introduced me to the magic of Joy Harjo.

Wine(y) Poetry Night will be a standing affair, I’m glad to report. Stay tuned…

Wines sampled:

  • ‘The Turk’ from Turkey Flat (Australia):  Combination of Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet, Mourvedre grapes. Excellent. Peppery and earthy and comes in a screw-top bottle.
  • ‘Nero d’Avola’ from Archeo (Italy):  100% Nero d’Avola grapes. Lovely table wine. Smooth with a nice berry tones.
  • Marlborough from Nobilo (New Zealand):  Savignon Blanc. Crisp and sweet with fruity citrus tone.


Optimism – by Stephen Dunn
My friend the pessimist thinks I’m optimistic
because I seem to believe in the next good thing.
But I see rueful shadows almost everywhere.
When the sun rises I think of collisions and AK-47s.
It’s my mother’s fault, who praised and loved me,
sent me into the dreadful world as if
it would tell me a story I’d understand. The fact is
optimism is the enemy of happiness.
I’ve learned to live for the next good thing
because lifelong friends write good-bye lettres,
because regret follows every timidity.
I’m glad I konw that all great romances are fleshed
with failure. I’ll take a day of bitterness and rain
to placate the gods, to get it over with.
My mother told me I could be a great pianist
because I had long fingers. My fingers are small.
It’s my mother’s fault, every undeserved sweetness.

published in “Different Hours”


Last night, after a lovely dinner with my even more lovely friend Mel, I stopped at the market to pick up a bag of coffee. Three days earlier I had brewed the last of a truly fabulous roast that was a pleasure to wake up to every morning. Dark, sweet, a little spicy but very smooth.

I stood in the aisle, staring down all the varieties, trying to decide which I should choose. “Hmmmm…which country do I want to travel to each morning? France for French roast? Columbia? Sumatra? Hawaii? Do I want my coffee Bold? Balanced? Rich? Earthy? Full? Light?”

Sigh. None of these would be able to replace the pleasure and the depth of flavors in the coffee I had been enjoying for the past two months…the coffee that was brought back from Olympia, Washington as a gift and cannot be found locally (that I’m aware of).

In the end, I choose Sumatra. Earthy. Rich. Robust. Grand.

As I sip my cup of coffee this morning, it is none of those things. The flavor is bland, the aroma is boring. I miss the chartreuse green bag printed with two dancing goats that remind me of the Pan character from Tom Robbins’ book, ‘Jitterbug Perfume’. I miss the sweet smoothness and dark complexity of the coffee, and of the person who gave it to me.

Last night, in the market, I should have chosen a different coffee, a different set of adjectives…but there was not one that claimed to be “Dark. Sweet. Complex. Balanced.”, which is what I was really looking for.

here’s more love, from me to you.

the road home from Mexico…

sidewalk, Phoenix…

a horse named ‘Heart’, Holbrook, AZ…

Girls bathroom, Tucson, AZ…

Yuma, AZ…

elementary school, Phoenix, AZ…

i received this email from my niece, Scarlet, this evening. it made me smile.

“dear auntie tata,
If you want you can order another one if you like. If I sell 3 magazines from the same last name I will be able to plant a tree in my name. The logo says”Buy three plant a tree.” I hope you have a good day I know I did, I just won a spelling bee.
Scarlet Santana

Super big hug of congratulations to Scarlet’s spelling bee win..and yes, i will be ordering more magazines. everyone needs a tree planted in their name, don’t ‘cha think?

sigh. life has been busy and very full. visits from family and friends, birthday parties, traveling all over the state of Arizona for a contract photo assignment, making lots and lots of presentations to local high schools to recruit this year’s staff of 110º youth apprentices…and the reappearance of Love in my life (more on that later!).

my sister Heidi, her husband Jake and their son Kaeden came to Tucson for a visit. It was so nice to have family come visit, and especially nice to have a little fella around to cuddle with. we went up to Phoenix for a great weekend with the eldest Niles Girl, Julie, and her family at a resort. days were spent in the pool with a few rounds of adult beverages. very relaxing and fun.

who wouldn’t want to just kiss, kiss, kiss this cutie-pie?

a few hours after Heidi, Jake and Kaeden departed for home, the lovely Becki arrived for her last Tucson visit before her departure for her Peace Corps assignment in Morocco. we headed down to Puerto Penasco, Mexico with fellow former Nebraskan Jill P. it was beyond great to be next to a large body of water – the Sea of Cortez – and with two great friends! i sat there…took turns sipping my beer and inhaling the scent and sounds of sea water.

Jill is a fabulous bargainer, so we walked away from the market with boogie-boards for a nice price, which meant we went straight into the water and floated in the undulating waves for hours. i did get knocked over by a strong wave – lost my sunglasses and hair clip. totally worth it.

the next beach Becki and i will find ourselves on will be off the north-African coast! Becki leaves for Morocco tomorrow and i am extremely excited for her new adventure with the Peace Corps. it has been a long (and grueling) process for her and i’m so glad that she is finally on her way. i’ll be visiting her next june and i’m already hatching plans for (mis)adventures!

beach art…