Motel 6, Lincoln, Nebraska

June 15, 2010

Clouds pewter above Iowa & my lips quiver to the tune of the air conditioner–

listening to Eat, Pray, Love & wondering what the strong reactions are (she acknowledges her privilege, how her journey was paid for– what, should all wealthy white women shut up?) Ought I temper the delusion that I have something to say

to enact being grateful for what I have in this life?

If anything, the book has sparked questions, sparked gratitude. The inexplicable thing I’ve done in my life? Moved to Idaho the first time. Slight explanation for the recapitulation–

& no, I’m a fool to think one can find a right way to live. Being correct won’t bring me love from the feminists, from my peers– that’s missing the point. & my personal happiness comes from this record & comes from the rare moments I assume someone will like me because I’m human as opposed to misunderstand me because I’m so special & complicated or an elixir like that–

I don’t know. For my own survival I need to let that idea go while accepting that I’m a Scorpio, I’ll still be slightly guarded–

Even the Motel 6 has white towels with which I dry my face. Check my email, not respond. My legs can be shaved in Utah tonight– I’ll be 4 hours & 47 minutes away from my house.

Today: Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, lesson planning in my head.

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Night #1: Ann Arbor

June 14, 2010

…is still in Eastern Standard Time. Cute city. Molly has a fat cat named Lilly & we got to drink beer off of a stick– reminded me of a test tube rack from chemistry class.

Earlier I spilled gas somewhere outside of Oil City, PA while avoiding going to a BP station. The safety stop on the pump at the Kwik Stop failed & I was cleaning my windshield.

Desperately desire audiobooks.

We packed the car through the windows.

Broke a hubcap, miss its lone rattle in the back of the car–

the sun, spread-eagled over Ohio–

pass Cleveland & think of a., who would have been better company than my astronaut cabbage patch doll–

I enjoy the clarity of my own thoughts, my breath unfolds into my tense back–

an average of 40.3 miles per gallon, even with the car stuffed. I drove 568 miles today. Need to aim for about 800 or so tomorrow.

More Mapping (!!)

May 14, 2010

Today I found out that my teaching writer training has to start happening on June 17th at 8:30 in the morning. This makes me feel tempted to do a crazy 9-hour drive to Ann Arbor right after my sister’s bridal shower on the 12th, but instead I think I’ll relegate the craziness to the middle of the drive so I can still at least have dinner & brunch with Molly.

Now, the plan is looking like this:

June 13th: Wake up early & leave for Ann Arbor by 8am! Aim to arrive around 6pm, possibly 7.

June 14th: Brunch w/Molly. Leave by noon. Drive to Omaha, NE– about 12 hours, so I figure I’ll arrive between 1-2 am.

June 15th: Crazy day. Drive to Salt Lake (ish). 14.5 hours. Lots of caffeine pills, cigarettes, french fries.

June 16th: Aim to leave Salt Lake by noon & straight shot to Boise (hopefully!), about 5.5 hours. Arrive by dinner. Sleep & sleep & sleep as to not be wrecked for training the next day.

Maybe I need a travel companion– anyone in the mood for night driving? Either coast? I could help fly you into Detroit…

Apartment!

May 13, 2010

This is where Ryan & I will be living in Boise. It has everything I wanted + more for only $325/per person/per month. I’m especially stoked about the writing studio (it makes me feel like a real writer to have space like that! Gonna hang a photo of Virginia Woolf on the wall!) Part of me wishes I were there now– I’m getting sick of this limbo in New York that involves seeing all my friends for the last times & barely being able to create poetry or write grants (oh holy distractions!)

The Cabin in Boise is taking me on as a new writer for a week of camp! The more I anticipate it, the more excited I get about the opportunity to teach again. I feel bad that I can’t be there for training & that I couldn’t give them a solid moving date, but that happens– it’s an uglier element of a cross-country move.

Now I know: the plan is to go from Pennsylvania to either Ann Arbor (if Molly agrees) or someplace a little further (into Indiana?) I like the idea of staying in hostels, & Iowa City is a healthy distance from A2, but I can find nothing about their lone hostel. I really want to stay in Omaha, but at twelve hours from A2 that might be a little much. However, there is this hotel/hostel in Des Moines that looks promising, about 10 hours away. Wait…nevermind, they don’t do that anymore. Bah.

Maybe I should just stop randomly (as I’ve done before) & just plan where I want to have meals? Look for good veggie restaurants, diners, etc. Maybe also look for Bikram studios? I need an organizing principle!

Okay, ideally, my stops will be:

Night 1: Ann Arbor, MI

Night 2: Des Moines, IA (or Iowa City, IA? Maybe talk to Andy…) with a stop in Omaha, NE. OR maybe someplace closer so I can spend some time in Michigan the next day…

Night 3: Cheyenne, WY

….then twelve hours to Boise on the last day, hopefully with a dinner stop at the veggie diner in Salt Lake.

***

Does anyone know trustworthy people with couches along I-80? I suppose this is another way to do the trip…

***

Sweet, I just heard from Molly. Michigan is a go. Maybe I’ll just play it all by ear from there?

where it’s going (!?!)

May 1, 2010

So, it’s been awhile. I got eaten by trying to make myself sane  & finish my thesis. Both things have relatively come to a head: I feel more balanced than I have all year (knock-on-wood) & the thesis has its final word document in all of its horizontal-page glory.

Ultimately I decided to buy a 2009 Prius. It has reduced my stress level in a way that I only feel a little guilty about: it’s a privilege to have a car, yes, but I’m trying to remind myself that its okay to desire comfort & I don’t need to punish myself for having what others can’t. I will probably drive to Idaho the evening of the 12th through ?? I might feel compelled to do it in three days. With the right amount of caffeine & pacing, I think this is do-able.

& I will be in Idaho from May 23-June 3rd. Well, in Idaho & at Sasquatch. & hopefully by then, Ryan & I will have an apartment or a house. The more we’ve searched, the more I feel like our search has been refined. I would definitely prefer a house or a duplex to an apartment, & something with three bedrooms over two, but I’ll take two if that’s all we can find in our price range. We found a PERFECT duplex around 25th & Bannock, but I don’t think we ended up being the first to apply even though I raced home & dug out proof that I could afford rent even without promised employment in Boise. It was only $650/month, & both Ryan & I could have had studios & one was basically living room-sized & made of windows! & a wood-burning fireplace! The other space I’m lusting over is a former grocery store around 13th & Pueblo. It costs too much for just Ryan & me, but using a 700 sq ft former grocery store as studio space sounded so romantic. If I had more time I could have figured out a way to make it an open studio, grant other artists & writers space & time, hang curtains like soft cubicles…mmmm….dreams…

Anyway, if it’s still available next week maybe I’ll draft a plan. Money is a bit of a worry, though: at this point, post-Prius, I should probably hold off on dipping too far into what is left of my inheritance. I sent my teaching artist application packet to The Cabin & the ed director says the Cabin seems like the right place for me, but can’t promise much work. The important thing is that I get to teach & give back, but otherwise I’m torn on how else I want to support myself. I’m definitely going to write a grant for the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund based on the intersection between the Idaho(me) Project & my poems, but the maximum amount for that is $1500. I’m tempted to write a similar grant for Astraea’s Lesbian Writers’ Fund, but I’m not a lesbian, strictly speaking, so I don’t know if that would work. My work certainly has “lesbian content,” but it may not be dyke enough to get my $10,000 to work on my first book. I also applied for a job at the College of Western Idaho, but it’s a serious full time admin assistant position. I really wanted it when I wrote up my application materials, but now I sort of fear having an interview with them. If I got that job, I wouldn’t be able to teach, which at this point I’m excited to do.

I’ve also been searching for Idaho(me) Project-related grants, or more organization-based grants. I still really want to curate a reading series or something, & told Marie Howe that I would love to bring her to Idaho. Of course, that would cost about $2000 to do, or some significant in-kind donations (from either her or a hotel or both!) I’ve also been dreaming of site-specific art days: to go to the river or someplace & meditate, write & have Ryan take photos & others write & take photos or draw or build an altar & play music & then make a book of it. Something beautiful. Kathryn Albertson Park would be another great site…so many others, too….

Right now I’m working on a long poem called “Quotient.” & last night a. & I talked about its direction, how maybe it needs some Ida Saxton McKinley or 18th century bowties to go with God, Sartre, Kristeva, & the Dalai Lama. Never ending lines & glorious white space & it feels so good to sprawl & just explore in that space of the page. Like reckless philosophical or spiritual play. The product of years of blogging, consideration– the next thing.

It’s beautiful in New York today & later holds a poetry reading with a. & a friend from Idaho & a bonfire in a secret location. Now: a walk up at Van Cortlandt, finish acknowledgments, finish Jorie Graham’s Erosion.

Inspiration / Back from the depths of thesis!

April 27, 2010

Between orgasms, should-be-asleep inspiration: I know exactly how to frame my grant application for the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund– through the lens of the Idaho(me) Project–

If I send my manuscript & relate the speaker’s lack of grounding to finally landing in Idaho, I can talk about the project in terms of what I’ve talked about for this blog: discovering & making a home in Idaho as someone from the East Coast, the longing to revise the manifest destiny narrative but form community in a way that’s not conquering. Fund a trip or two for places to explore & my writing space. Public element: potlucks, readings, encouraging a community conversation as a component to creation…yes…

I just need some in-kind donations to beef up my budget, as this seems to be the only grant for writers floating around…

Could I get away with applying for a lesbian grant? Through Astraea? There’s enough pussy in my poems….hmm….

Anyway, time to sleep…

Budgets, More Wrenches

March 23, 2010

What if I decide to make this move lighter, to leave the physical & emotional weight of the bookshelves my parents built in Pennsylvania?

I can only be certain that I’ll stay here for a year, then what? Fellowship, another grad program, retreats, etc–

What if I decide to make my life more mobile? Will it make the decision to move to Idaho easier, even amidst all of the uncertainties–

I know it now, that I need to stop wanting & start doing. Being.

***

I worked out a budget the other day with big, ugly numbers. Started to freak out about the cost of moving these bookshelves that I can’t get rid of…& what if this doesn’t work out? I’m not ready or willing to settle down, & neither is my partner.

So these are the new plans I’m toying with, the definite portion being that my friend Ryan & I are going to look for a house together. Within biking, but preferably walking, distance from downtown Boise. Preferably in the North End, but I’ll also take Warm Springs and neighborhoods slightly west of the traditional North End. Something at about 1000 sq. ft– enough room so that we both can have bedrooms & I can build some sort of studio. I’m looking forward to this.

What I need to figure out now is if it is still cheaper to take Amtrak & ship the books, clothes, & dishes that I do want to bring to Boise & buy a futon OR to buy my car back east (preferably soon, because getting to a yoga class seems more desirable than anything else right now) & cart some books, dishes, & my futon (if I can make the room…) in the back of the car. Unfortunately, this would mean fuel costs + lodging costs (or awesome state park research!) but I’m down with doing some comparative cost analysis…

  1. An Amtrak ticket costs about $200. Fuel for a used 2008 Toyota Prius (I figure that if I buy it sooner, that’s the car I could probably get the best deal on…) would end up being about $160 from Philadelphia to Boise. Perk of Amtrak– no lodging costs. If I do the research & find places to camp for free, this could be worth it…
  2. Of course, this isn’t taking into account how much it would cost to register & insure my car in Pennsylvania (where I am currently technically a resident) only to have to switch it over when I move to Idaho. According to the Idaho DMV, it will cost me $78 to transfer my title whether I buy the car in Idaho or Pennsylvania. It will be about $60 to register a new car in Pennsylvania.
  3. As for insurance, getting a quote, or even a ballpark idea, of what it would be to transfer my insurance seems a little tricky, but Allstate does provide this nifty moving checklist. Not helpful in terms of budgeting, but probably will be in terms of moving.

How much would it cost to ship things that would fit in my car if I were to drive? Would it be greater or less than the cost of lodging + re-titling/re-registering my car?

Maybe I’ll get ambitious & buy a car this weekend. If I do that, then I can drive to TN, drive to Provincetown… it would prevent a huge hassle…

More later. I need to snuggle with Devin before we crash (& I leave in the morning!)

Sitting in the sun

March 15, 2010

at the Boise Flying M & of course they are playing Neil Young. I spent the past hour walking around, to the Co-op mostly, where I was pleased to see people roaming & Tin House on the newsstand. Lately I’ve been desperate for the bigger reasons to move here (besides my relationship), maybe a modicum of certainty…

but we can never be certain– that is boring. & if I’m going to be honest here, I have to say that my relationship has been feeling less certain lately. Taking leaps in order to make discoveries has to be okay because that is living– & to make choices & live is what I’m desperate for…

& I can barely hear my inner monologue right now, I’m just typing, hoping for cohesion. Have tons of administrative work to do today– I need to write the budget for the move & do journal submissions, call my friends here. Going to a poetry slam tonight because I want to get a grasp of what the lit community here is like. I don’t see myself ever becoming a spoken word artist, but it wouldn’t hurt to know a few.

& I finally chose the Earthly Delights CSA, for the record. Budget entry likely later.

Community Supported Agriculture

March 4, 2010

On my way into the library 45 minutes ago, I overheard two fellow students discussing Food, Inc., one of my recent obsessions (seriously, if you’re open to it the film will change your life! ha.) Anyway, I’ve been drafting this blog entry for days, & I took their conversation as a cue to postpone my run for an hour or so & finish my overview of CSA options (in a basement with windows & no visible ants!)  in Boise.

CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” To join a CSA is essentially to buy a share in a farm. Some CSAs will deliver fresh produce (& sometimes fruit, eggs, & even wine!) to your door, while others have pick-up times, locations, events (some with wine & music!) Each member receives a portion of whatever is harvested from the farm or garden that week– essentially, what is in season locally (or semi-locally, if you’re in NY & your produce is coming from PA, a common situation for NY CSAs). CSAs are good for farmers because they are paid up front for their crops, which provides a rare sense of financial certainty. CSAs are good for veggie-eaters because it puts us in touch with the vegetables that are in season locally, which is likely to provide new cooking experiences & cut down the number of trips to the farmer’s market.

For a city its size, Boise has an impressive number of CSAs & community gardens. As if by fate, I received an email from Global Gardens Refugee Agriculture Program, who I tried to volunteer for last time I lived in Boise. I managed to miss all the farming internship deadlines at the farms I supported while in college (boo), but it’s nice to know that these refugee gardens still exist, are looking for volunteers, & have started a CSA of their own.

Boise-Area CSAs:

Global Gardens 2010 CSA

Price per share: $400 or $20/week, June-September (comes with two produce bags)

Pick up on Tuesday evenings after 5:30p. 6-8 vegetables.

Pros: will only miss one pick up before I move; supports refugees; volunteer opportunities

Cons: only runs through September; only one pick-up time

Earthly Delights CSA

Price per share: $468 or $26/week

Pick up (?) or home delivery of your share by bicycle for an additional $4/week ($72/season). Vegetables, herbs, fruits, & recipes.

Pros: variety of produce, delivery if I need it, can pay in installments until May 1 & I believe the farmer is my friend’s cousin & she’s pretty badass

Cons: more expensive than Global Gardens; no information about pick-up on website

Peaceful Belly CSA

Price Per Share: $400 for veggies, $22-24/week; fruit, flower, & wine add-ons available

3 pick-up times/days across Boise! 80 kinds of veggies!

Pros: all of the beautiful add-ons! & Peaceful Belly is one of the first local/organic farms I encountered at the Saturday market in Boise

Cons: in order to get the add-ons, one must pay extra, whereas with Earthly Delights, a bit of fruit & flowers come with the share (which might be better because this is mainly going to feed me, not two people…)

Morning Owl Farm CSA / Subscription Service

Price Per Share: a variety of plans available year round!

Delivery service available

Pros: tons of variety & flexibility; available year-round with eggs, dairy, fruit, etc. from their farm & other local organic farms

Cons: such a thing as too much choice? would have to drive to pick-ups.

Urbane Farms

No information about CSA 2010– do they still exist? I always appreciated their presence at the Market because they grew an interesting variety of vegetables, herbs, & flowers…

So yes, I have a decision to make & I either need to figure out whether I can donate back the veggies for the weeks I won’t be in Boise or find a friend to pick up/eat my shares for the beginning of the season. Any takers?  Also, if anyone wants to start a Crop Mob, let me know. I continue to have serious dreams about being an active part of this movement of young farmers, even though I’ve barely gardened let alone started a sustainable farm. Nevertheless, I can say it’s in my blood– my pap grew a variety of fruits & vegetables in his Northeast Philadelphia garden, & a large percentage of the sauces & jams I ate as a child (& the wines my parents drank) were a result of his labors. I’m often quick to write off what I’ve inherited, but maybe this mythology can propel me to gain the knowledge I need to harvest, plant & grow on my own. For now, I hope a CSA can sustain me through writing my book & living actively in Boise.

& Ralph Nader on Democracy Now! this morning

March 4, 2010

Okay, so I was going to blog about CSAs today, but in the wake of the recent Toyota Prius recall, I’ve become preoccupied with buying a new car (even though I need to choose my CSA much sooner than I need to choose my car, even if I want to have a budget to my financial advisor by March 25th). Do I decide on the car that seems the greenest, or the safest, or the cheapest, or…what combination of elements?

I determined awhile ago that in Boise I’d want both a bike & car, & that I don’t plan on doing enough driving to make the price of a hybrid car worth it, but I feel a car is necessary to live in the Treasure Valley. There are plenty of fuel-efficient hatchbacks on the market with enough room in their trunks to fit skis, bikes, or a small kitchen table, which is what I want & why the Prius initially seemed like my natural first choice. I’m smitten with the aesthetics of the Prius. It’s still the most fuel efficient car, & not just according to this website.

However, it seems ridiculous to spend over $20,000 on a car. The only hybrid model that fits my criteria & is less than that is the Honda Insight Hybrid, which wasn’t on the first list I looked at on Yahoo!. I have a feeling that I would have ruled it out because I find its face ugly…

but after some time courting the cute little Honda Fit (in orange, no less!), I’ve decided that maybe the few thousand dollar price difference would be “worth it” for the under-$20,000 hybrid. The Insight is also slightly roomier& the ugly silver bar across the front doesn’t look so bad if the car is black.

Otherwise, I’ve researched a few other models. The Hyundai Accent hatchback is cheap, cute, & fuel efficient, but is the lowest rated in its class when it comes to safety. Same problem with the Chevy Aveo– while the idea of buying an American-made car is somewhat appealing, I want the care to be safe & drive easily up Bogus Basin Road. & really, do my ethics dictate that I ought to consider an American car over all the others? Should safety trump this, or perceived safety as the case may be? I haven’t made up my mind yet, & I can test drive many cars…

Now I just need to make the idea of a new car sound appealing to my financial advisor (in the end, I know it’s my decision & it’s made– I want a warranty with the dealership. I had so many issues with used cars– my $5000 Hyundai Tiburon cost more than I spent on it to repair it in the time that I owned it!) I need to figure out whether it would be best for my credit score to finance the car & pay it off incrementally or just buy it outright (which is a huge chunk of money & a huge privilege…)

Anyway, that concern is for my meeting w/my advisor. Other budget elements I need to work out include the costs of my “side trips” (to Ida & somewhere with J. & K.), plane tickets, train tickets, & what backpack I want to live out of for the end of May into June.

& I wish I could figure this all out now, but I must sleep. I haven’t been doing that so well lately, & I ran for the first time in a week (which wore me down!) The CSA post is about a quarter finished & hopefully I will figure out how to handle that tomorrow.