Friday, December 31, 2004

The Sad End to 2004

Chris and I were having a lovely time on our trip, a mixture of nickel slots (for me) and skiing (for Chris). I won $250 playing my birthday at roulette (Gideon's numbers and astrological sign brought jack in terms of luck).

Last night Clyde's vet called. We were boarding him there because with his diabetes he needs to eat and be checked on a regular schedule. The first call was to inform us that Clyde was in a coma and they were doing everything possible to revive him (insulin, oxygen, etc.). The second call was to inform us that he passed away.

As you can imagine, we were pretty upset. After hearing the news I was convinced that there must have been some negligence on the vet's part because Clyde seemed fine when we left him there, in fact he seemed better than fine. After all the weight loss he was moving around really well. When we dropped him off Monday morning, it didn't even occur to us that he was a few days from death. On further reflection, I guess it was just his time and it was better that he was at the vet's when this happened and not at home for either us or a family member checking in to find him. Then it would have been, "if only someone had been around we could have saved him."

But I do have a tremendous amount of guilt. I don't think his last four months were very happy for him. When we discovered his diabetes, he was put on a crash diet of prescription food. He was always hungry. Also, the past four months the house has been under various forms of construction with various loud men coming in and out. This caused Clyde a lot of distress. Bizarre changes, strange smells and lots of horrible noise. Lastly, on the advice of several books, I had been giving both cats less attention than normal to prepare them for life once the baby arrives. So Clyde's last four months were that of starvation, terror and neglect. His last few days were in a cage in a room with other cats (which he hates). Yeah, I'm really comforted.

Monday, December 27, 2004

This Week at the No Tell

Denise Duhamel crosses and snorts the line at No Tell Motel.

Sunday, December 26, 2004


What has my 32nd year brought me so far? Some nasty acid reflux and unexpected barfing (apologies to the folks walking behind me in the Don Pablos parking lot this evening). It's also suddenly impossible for me to bend much at my waist (or what's left of it). My one pair of maternity jeans are pinching and uncomfortable. My other pants are getting tight too. At my doctor's appointment on Weds she made some comment about how this is when the pregnancy "stops being fun." Stoopid me didn't even notice the fun parts over the past 8 months.

Despite that, I feel much better now than I did over the past couple weeks trying to get everything finished by the holidays. Our Rebeccamas Eve party was fun even though several gifts vanished before the guests arrived and I have no idea where they went.

Chris and I are leaving on a secret four night getaway tomorrow morning. An escape from the home improvement projects and all things responsible. I should have Internet access the first two days, but I doubt I'll have it the last two.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Tree: Has needles/Put up tomorrow night (???)
2nd Vanity: Will be installed tomorrow
Rebeccamas Eve Menu: Planned
Grocery Shopping: Tomorrow night (???)
Cleaning: Slowly, Today, Tomorrow, Friday
Gift Shopping: Still more to do, Today (???)
Gift Wrapping: Haven't even started, Today (???)

Poems, journal, reading, intelligent thoughts: 2005 (???)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Is It Rebeccamas Yet?

Whew, I'm behind on e-mail, blogging, No Tell, gift shopping, pretty much everything.

In the good news category, the bathroom vanity is installed and beautiful. Hopefully the second vanity won't pose any problems for the handy man on Weds.

We still haven't purchased our Christmas tree -- it's going to be a Charlie Brown Christmas, I fear. Normally this would really bother me. Surprisingly, I'm not so bothered.

I'm not doing Christmas cards for the first time in probably 12 years. I'm a little bothered by this, but again, not so much.

After three trips to the Rockville, MD Buy Buy Baby they finally gave us the correct glider for the nursery. Chris seemed to have an aversion to opening the box and checking before driving out of the parking lot. He has a trust in labels and numbers that Tender Buttons would surely call naive.

Just heard from a prolific poet that she's pregnant with baby #3. My 2005 resolution will be not to complain about not having time to write and to instead just write.

Speaking of prolific, Didi is posting a bit about online publishing, sim subs, etc. While I don't share all of her views, I do agree that doing an online journal (just like a print journal) is a tremendous amount of work and no matter where one submits his/her work, the very least he/she should do is be familiar with both the guidelines and the type of work the journal publishes. I am constantly amazed at the number of poets who submit less than 5 poems to No Tell Motel. That tells me right off the bat that not only have they not read our submission guidelines, they haven't even looked at our journal because if they had they'd know we publish five poems per poet. Although it does make it easy to reject the sub, we don't even have to read the poems. And it's not like these submitters didn't have access to our journal. It's free and available to anyone with an Internet connection. There's no excuse.

As for simultaneous submissions, I'm cool with them as long the poet informs us immediately that the work has been taken elsewhere. We respond to all submissions in under 6 weeks so there really isn't that much of a need, but it's your work and we're not going lay any claim until we decide we're actually going to use them. We do our best to be considerate of each poet and his/her work and in return we hope to receive the same consideration. As a poet, I've had my work held for unnecessarily long periods of time by editors. So I understand why poets sim sub. I sim submit about 25% of the time, but only to places that accept sim submission (actually there are a number of places, both print and online that do accept sim subs these days). If the pubs guidelines state they don't accept sim subs, I will either exclusively send to them or won't bother at all depending on what I anticipate the response time to be. This is the reason we're temporarily suspending our reading period from Jan 15 - Mar 15. I can't guarantee I'll be able to read and respond to subs during this time so I'd rather not have them sitting and piling up in the inbox for months.

That being said, do not send us work that has already been published by another editor (in either print or online publications). We don't consider posting a poem on your personal blog publication (yes, technically it's self-publishing). We do consider poems appearing on blogs run by editors, such as the Verse, as published.

Monday, December 20, 2004

This Week at the No Tell

Marta Ferguson makes the inn pet-friendly this week at No Tell Motel. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2004

On the Last Days of Rebeccamas

In this house on December 25th we celebrate Rebeccamas. I turn 32. That kind of bums me out -- I like the number 31. It's a cool number. It suits me. It's what I always play in roulette. 32, well, 32 doesn't do much for me. It's just a number like any other.

Been keeping busy with home renovations and managing No Tell See, I want to schedule and program all the content until the end of March by the end of January (hopefully sooner). We'll see if I'm able to accomplish that.

As for the home stuff, hah hah, Weds night Chris and I were moving everything downstair so the carpet guys could install our carpets Thursday. Chris managed to hurt his foot pretty badly on the stairs. I thought he had broken it the way he was walking, but it turns out to be a bad sprain. The carpet is down and his sister came by and helped up move most of the stuff back up the steps. Tonight we finish the nursery and stencil.

The rest of the weekend Chris will be installing the vanity in our bedroom. I caused some marital discord by calling up his mother's handyman and seeing if he could do it. Apparently Chris really wants to install the vanity himself. I'm worried about time. So we agreed that the handy man would only install the second vanity in the guest bathroom (which I'm pretty sure Chris won't have time to do before Christmas Eve when my dad arrives).

Note to all you potential homewreckers who wish to publicly support Chris on his quest to do all the work himself. Back off! I'm in a very delicate condition right now and cannot handle the competition. There is no time for him to dally on dreams of what it might be like to be with someone who understands or even appreciates him. Or someone who won't rabbit punch him while he sleeps.

This whole week I've been walking around the house muttering and quoting Norm MacDonald:

"Happy Birthday, Jesus. I hope you like crap!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It's Up

Literary MagNet

coquette: A woman who makes teasing sexual or romantic overtures; a flirt.

Hey, who says we're teasing? But seriously, what would Tom Bodett think?

I Haven't Seen It Yet . . .

. . . but according to Zach subscribers are now getting the January/February 2005 issue of Poets & Writers. When you get your issue, check out Kevin Larimer's mention of No Tell Motel in the Literary MagNet section.

Three Things

1. No Tell Motel and my main site may be down for a few hours Wednesday morning. There's another "scheduled" electrical outage. My e-mail will be down during that time too.

2. All of the gifts I ordered online from vendors other than Amazon (who couldn't promise them before January) arrived on Tuesday. These other places offered either free shipping or free upgraded shipping AND gave me free samples (one gave a particularly nice "sample"). Amazon has become a sad shell of its once great self.

3. The participants of the latest Vs. debate have been notifed of the winner. It'll be up on the site in a few days, so I won't spoil the news here, but suffice it to say my Red Lobster gift certificate ambitions have alluded me again. Congrats to the winner.

I think my poem wil be taken down in the next few days, so here's your last chance to read it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Practicing My Stabbing, Part 2

Plumber came, fixed and went. Different pipe (hot water) right next to the one that broke last time. So it wasn't covered under the guarantee from the last job. The plumber said we should consider a home filtration system because once these pin holes start popping up it means its going to keep happening in different places around the house. Sigh. He said depending on what needs to be done, it would run anywhere from $500 to $10k. Double sigh.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Gonna Practice My Stabbing

This weekend Chris and I tried to get a bunch of stuff around the house accomplished. I was going to write about how much Amazon sucks because I spent an hour filling my shopping bag with items that were marked to ship with 24 hours so they'd all arrive in plenty of time before Christmas. It was a huge order. It was almost half of my shopping for the holiday. When I tried to complete the order, it said everything (except for two items), would arrive mid-to end of January. I went back through my order and checked to make sure I didn't accidently select something with a 4-6 week delivery. I didn't. So I had to cancel my order, go to three different places online and got about half of the stuff I wanted. BTW, that was Saturday night -- all three places have already shipped my order. I talked to both TB and my mother-in-law and they had the same problem with Amazon. But now I have to go out and do the rest of this shopping at the store which at 8 months pregnant is a huge deal. I get tired really easily, I'm very clumsy and it takes all of my self-control not to freak on somebody's ass if they bump into me.

But that's not what is really pissing me off. About 30 minutes ago I looked up at the ceiling right above the sofa where I've been sitting and working on my computer. Do you know what's up there? A big water bubble and stain. That's right. In the same place where the pipe broke a couple months ago. But now the room has been renovated, new paint, new wall board on the ceiling, new floors, new furniture. I don't think it's from our shower that he fixed on Saturday. It's possible the water is coming from the new sink/vanity in our bedroom that Chris half-installed this weekend (we have new carpet being put in on Thursday and it has to be ready by then). Actually, that would be the best case scenerio because if it's another broken pipe, shit, we're fucked.

I went downstairs and shut off the water, called Chris and he's on his way home to check it out. It's not like he has all day to work on it. He has to catch a plane this evening to North Carolina for business. I wish I would have noticed sooner. I don't spend a lot of time looking at the ceiling.

I really really wish we would have paid for professionals to do all of this work. I always suggest to Chris that we go that route and more times than not he over rules me and cheerfully volunteers to do it. I know he doesn't enjoy the work, he procrastinates, complains the entire time, always manages to hurt his back, his knees. It always takes 3-4 times longer than he estimates. So why can't we just pay someone else to do it? Yes, it's costs more, but a professional would work so much faster and better, they do this stuff all the time. OK, three months ago we did decide to try to do as much of this work ourselves to save money. We were drunk on baby joy. Our logic was impaired. We were not capable of making sane rational choices. Somebody should have put us in the institution and hired contractors.

At this point, so close to Christmas and baby arrival -- isn't paying a professional worth it? What are we proving by doing this stuff ourselves?

This Week at the No Tell

Kirsten Kaschock is having a bad night, bad this week at No Tell Motel.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

One of Those Afternoons

This past week I've come across at least five publicity pictures of poets posed holding their opened books as if they were lounging around reading them.

I am bothered by this. I won't explain.

I'll say this: I'm reminded of fakies. You know, bra stuffers. I've been told the correct term is "falsies," but I like the sound of fakies. False implies an untruth. It can be difficult to spot false. Fake implies articificialness. Fake is obvious.

Contemporary poets need more photographer pals. For 2005 let's all resolve on keeping up appearances.

I won't elaborate further.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Have a Discrete Holiday

Don't know what to get that special someone for the holidays?

For the gal with the great rack

For the gal who's milkshake, aw hell, for the gal with the great ass

For the guy who's masculine enough to pull off a little pink

For the baby on the fast track to debauchery

For that sensitive type who likes to write down feelings

For your naughty pooch

For Grandma's collection

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Print on Demand

Does anyone out there have experience with print-on-demand services, such as Lulu or others? If so, I'd like to hear about them. Molly and I are considering doing a project next year and we're considering POD as an option. I'm interested to learn more about production quality, getting an ISBN, etc. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Just got off the phone with my astrologer/card reader.

Apparently the number 9 is going to play a big role with Gideon, so I should expect a birth on February 9th or 19th or at 9:00. He was positive it was a boy -- so all you asses out there who keep saying "maybe it's a girl with a scrotum" can shut up now. The astrologer also said that Gid will not be a 20 pound watermelon. I'm quite relieved to hear that.

He said I won't get much writing done in February or March. Imagine that. I'm supposed to cram in as much writing as possible now and in January.


Pine Box

Maybe I’m impressed by the church light.
Split pews didn’t part the Red sea
--neither did diagonal stripes or rubbing shoulders.

When I say “impressed” I’m not talking penis, so
put it back in your pocket, those slithering slacks that
make me wonder if you’ve started working out.

This is about art, being over it and being good.
That’s what I came for. I’m so over it.
See God. See Moon. See Conifer. Over.

--But all this stained glass, the bright shades pined against night
sure, come hither, the man in the tower
just stepped out for juice and right now I
sense a potent sparkle from your beacon.
I’m talking literal, I truly believe you’re a ship
full of tiny wisps waving shiny lighters
screaming “Encore.”
Cruise liner, tug boat, sinking barge of coal,
what do I know?
Hurry, before I require downfall.
Careful, those rocks are sharp!

Monday, December 06, 2004


Working on January No Tell galleys while listening to a neat mix CD I received in the mail from Laura. Toto, "Hey Jude" in Czech, Radiohead . . . thanks Laura!

Another Laura wrote to me today and said that I probably think Richard Wilbur's poems are "effete and sterile." I had to admit I don't have a single opinion about Richard Wilbur. I know I've read some of his poems in anthologies, but I've never done any in-depth reading of his work and well, basically I'm blank. The funny thing is that I have no desire to run out and prove her right or wrong. I'm damn tired lately. One more thing for my 2005 To Do List.

I'm waiting for a telephone update on my grandmother who last I heard was having surgery tonight (or perhaps tomorrow). Not sure if there will be a last minute trip to Pittsburgh. It seems like a lot of people in my family are suddenly having medical problems. So many that I'm having a diffcult time remembering who to inquire about after what test or doctor visit.

This Week at the No Tell

Charlton Metcalf brings his breeding moodies to the No Tell Motel.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Virginia Shower

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Wanted: Affluent Local Relatives with Big Houses

Last night I attended a cocktail party/reading in honor of Carly Sachs who's poem "the story" was selected for inclusion in the 2004 Best American Poetry. The party was held at her cousin's lovely house which got me thinking -- I need some relatives with big fancy houses in D.C. too so I can throw literary parties. I told Tender Buttons to get herself a real estate agent and she made some crack about me getting her a job and I cracked right back telling her I did my part and now it was her turn. Lawyers, I swear, always trying to squeeze the last drop out of you.

It was my first in-person meeting with Carly, who graciously invited me sight-unseen based on the fact that our work has appeared in a number of the same places, we have several mutual acquaintances and we're both from Pittsburgh (technically she's from Youngstown, OH, but I'm not holding that against her). I also met some other D.C. poets, people I probably should have made a more concerted effort in the past to meet. One fellow told me that he had assumed "Reb" was a dude. Well, I do kinda have man hands. That's close.

Tomorrow is my VA shower. Got a manicure.

Friday, December 03, 2004

New Vs. Debate Poems

The debate poems for the most recent question are now up. Jennifer Michael Hecht, the last debate winner, assigned us the task of responding to: "What aspect of some other culture do you wish was part of yours?"

Poets participating in this debate are Richard D. Allen, Shane Bartlett, Laura Carter, Jeffery Bahr, Tripp Howell, Laurel Snyder, J. Riley and yours truly.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


There was a power outage on my street from 9:30 a.m until 3:30 p.m. That means all of our computer servers were down -- so if you had problems sending me e-mail or getting to No Tell Motel or my main site, that's why. Hopefully everything is fixed now. E-mail should eventually be delivered to me, but if you want to be double sure you can send it again.

So Now You Know

Phatback and "big-balls" (that's real sweet, dear, good one) know me best. Makes sense, they've known me the longest (aside from Sam who's been to my house numerous times, yet thought the walls in my writing studio were avocado).

A few things, Spike is my #1 heart throb (Angel would be #2 in that category). The beauty of Spike is he's a hot guy you can abuse and he'll keep coming back. I like that. But while I would make late night visits to his crypt, the hell if I would ever move in and set up a nursery there! Besides, do you really think I'd bring a vampire to meet my family? My family would appreciate Riley. He's the sturdy marrying type. The problem with Angel is that he's a mopey bastard. I could only put up with that for so long before I staked him. Also, that "gypsy curse" would put a damper on the relationship. As far as I'm concerned, Angel is damaged goods.

Mickey is my #1 Monkee. He's funny. Mike would be my #2 choice. Peter is too dorky and Davy is too wimpy. I like my men to be men, not boys.

As for the bullets and the knife gifts. A few months after Chris and I started dating, he turned 21 and purchased a gun so he could join his buddies at the range for target practice. I was a broke senior in college and with limited funds for a birthday gift. I was trying to impress him with the bullets, show him what a cool girlfriend I was. Instead he thought it was weird. But in my defense, a lot of other guys at the time thought it was a rather dreamy thing of me to do. A few months later for Christmas, Chris gave me a big chef knife because he often cooked at my apartment and I had no cutlery.

Most of you assumed I started my life of crime small (Dentyne Chewing Gum). Hardly! I'm a Capricorn. I have ambitions. I really wanted those tarot cards, they were $20 and in 8th grade my allowance was only a buck a week.

As for the "poet nailing" questions, if you were hurt or offended by that, it just goes to prove it would never work between us because I'm just too mean.