Monday’s Business


This morning’s walk was all silence until I arrived at the elementary school. The strawberry blonde dogs I named Mary-Kate and Ashley (but that are actually Bill and Ted), the friendly tabby called Simon, the omnipresent neighbor who relates conversations to Grateful Dead songs, and the rest of the characters that punctuate my route were not out enjoying the autumn air yet.

This Monday even the rambunctious yellow-haired boy who runs his Spanish-speaking grandmother around all morning did not beckon me to share what he was imagining. He was, though, wielding a hubcap and an antenna as though he was dueling dragons as his abuelita (grandmother), always watching the show, rested her head in her hand.

And then I heard the business of tetherball and the monkey bars. Of course I know there’s a lot of negotiation goes into playing with friends and getting our turn, but these little bankers and salespeople shocked me with their seriousness.

And then a man with a dog the size of a pony approached, and I could hear the change in pitch and diction as they transformed back into children again.


Palm Tree

Palm Tree

Though you cannot see him, a compact man is strapped to the top of the tree and is lopping off palm fronds which fall in one-minute intervals as a handful of neighbors and I watch one otherwise still mid-morning.

The morning before two wild bunnies, one white, one brown, grazing a yellowing lawn on a for sale yard, had a similar power over us.

Select a Language


These are the languages offered at the ATM at the Ontario airport.

I am continuing my Spanish study and English conversation in the Home Depot parking lot on a weekly basis.

Students in my face-to-face and online (composition and creative writing) classes come out on an irregular basis to join us.

Last week, two women joined us. One is a Sacramentan who lived a year in the Honduras and let us know more about the food and people. The other, a woman from Pakistan, speaks four languages, including Urdu and Pashto (because she wrote a book about Afghanistan!).

Two weeks before we had an Arabic speaker from Morocco, a curious woman originally from Vietnam, and a Californian with a lot of Spanish classes under his belt.

It’s a small world after all.

Looking for Something to Read?


I am holding on to the kite string of summer as tightly as I can, but school’s been in session four weeks already, and a flood of Advanced Comp essays will arrive, like a tropical storm, tomorrow night at 11 pm PDT.

There is some respite from commenting on comma splices and FANBOYS and thesis statements gone astray, and that, for me, is the thoughtful, personal, and experimental reading this semester’s cohort of talented creative writers are sharing as they are collaborating on five blogs:

Please enjoy them, follow them, comment, and tell a friend.

Sunglasses at Night


Outside of the yogurt shop on Saturday evening, we watched a man wearing shades and reading with a flashlight as the sky was turning to darkness.

The raucous Heather wanted to belt out the Corey Hart early 80s hit:

I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, so I can
Forget my name while you collect your claim
And I wear my sunglasses at night
So I can, so I can
See the light that’s right before my eyes

Imagine a Friday night dance with some sort of an overworked theme playing out in a room protected by a high ratio of chaperones. Picture the wall of adolescent boys nearly lined up on their side of the gym (or auditorium) hiding behind their cool sunglasses and singing along to their anthem. This is approximately when I learned that I probably shouldn’t dance — or sing.

Ask the Chicken


The other night we went to a groundbreaking for Verge Center for the Arts ( One of the art pieces is titled: “Battery Hen.” The piece is described as a “domestic appliance” that is for “labor saving decision making!”

The instructions start off just as the TSA scanning machines do with participants standing on footprints and following additional instructions which include:

2. Ask a “yes” or “no” question.
3. Gently pull clothes pin handle until egg drops.
4. Reach through safety window to retrieve answer on egg.
5. Return egg to black basket.

M and I both asked questions; the handy domestic appliance laid two yeses for us.

The black basket brimmed with ovoid ayes.

I immediately recalled the domestic appliance I always wanted from Santa, the Magic 8 Ball. This ball, filled with an antifreeze looking liquid could deliver fortunes and answers to life’s yes and no questions. However, the hen’s direct “yes” seems far more certain than the magic ball’s sometimes waffling or baffled responses:
● It is certain
● It is decidedly so
● Without a doubt
● Yes definitely
● You may rely on it
● As I see it yes
● Most likely
● Outlook good
● Yes
● Signs point to yes
● Reply hazy try again
● Ask again later
● Better not tell you now
● Cannot predict now
● Concentrate and ask again
● Don’t count on it
● My reply is no
● My sources say no
● Outlook not so good
● Very doubtful

Will Santa ever bring me a Magic 8 Ball?
“Cannot predict now.”