TBT: Once, I Was A Party Planner

This week, D and I have been pulling together Kiara's first birthday party and it really took me back. Before Pinterest and helium shortages, we used to throw some parties and post pictures of them on Kodak Gallery. Oh, how times have changed. So, for Throwback Thursday, here are a few images from a few of the events we planned together pre-K.

"Time of My Life" Prom complete with balloon arch, photo station, and dance floor.
Those were the times of our lives, apparently. Now there's a helium shortage!

We introduced the world to pineapple vodka for David's birthday. 
This image does not capture the crazy that night got.
Italian dinner in Highland Park was a birthday celebration but today it is remembered as:
The Night Camille Joined the Family.
I made a couple of Dodger cakes for David's birthdays.
But I think all of this party business might have started with Thanksgiving desserts...
and that led to flowers...
and then there is the love for wine and cheese...
Some great times with amazing friends; good food and tasty drinks. Surely there are more celebrations to plan, they will just be of a different sort (kid birthday parties).


52 Poems: Week 12 Wang Wei

During my MFA program at Antioch we took a course on translation and these are two of the poems I remember reading. We read and translated each poem and then read our classmates' translations until each poem became a dizzying collage of words and images.

Needless to say, the images from both of these stayed with me and with NoRuz (Persian New Year), and spring break upon us, they seemed perfect to share.The images are from the trip to China David and I took when my sister and her family were living there. One lotus shot is from Summer Palace in Beijing and the other is from the Great Wall looking into North Korea.

At the Lake Pavilion
By Wang Wei

On a skiff to meet an honored guest,
Slowly, slowly, it floats across the lake.
Facing the railing, we drink wine,
And on all sides, lotus flowers are in bloom.

Deer Enclosure
By Wang Wei

The Hills are empty, no man is seen,
But the sound of people's voices
As light is cast into the deep forest,
And shines again on green moss.


52 Poems: Week 11 Nikki Giovanni

I feel so lucky to have found the man I married because besides having so much in common (teaching, baseball, sports, Hapa-ness) we also have spaces in our togetherness like what Nikki Giovanni captures in this poem. 

A Certain Peace
by Nikki Giovanni

it was very pleasant
not having you around
this afternoon
not that i don't love you
and want you and need you
and love loving and wanting and needing you

but there was a certain peace
when you walked out the door
and i knew you would do something
you wanted to do
and i could run
a tub full of water
and not worry about answering the phone
for your call
and soak in bubbles
and not worry whether you would want something
special for dinner
and rub lotion all over me
for as long as i wanted
and not worry if you had a good idea
or wanted to use the bathroom

and there was a certain excitement
when after midnight you came home
and we had coffee
and i had a day of mine
that made me as happy
as yours did you


52 Poems: Weeks 9 and 10 Dog Sonnets

I posted Sherman Alexie's "Facebook Sonnet" last week and since I've fallen behind, here are a couple of the poems it inspired to catch us up. One is my own, about the night Scout bit Kiara. The other is by a student, Skyi, with similar themes.


The dog bites Kiara and we’re staring
at one another, unsure what to do.
Most nights at this time we’re online glaring
at our screens with memes, jokes, and photos too.

Tonight we’re in the ER pensive, sad.
How do you post about this in a tweet?
How can you hashtag away something bad?

We stare and wait until the words come out.
He tweets, and posts, and we’re not so alone.
The ones who can help do, or they curse Scout
for biting again, needing a new home.

  Our daughter is fine that morning at dawn.
  We’re traumatized and our poor Scout is gone.
~ Noriko Nakada


At school waiting for sixth period to
end, until finally the bell has rang.
I rush down stairs wondering what to do.
Then I see my mom; with my friends, can't hang.

Running and running to my mother's car
opening the door I say, "Hi, Mom."
She's smiling with a grin but no so far,
not so happy but I have to stay calm.

Halfway home and my mom decides to speak.
She tells me Jenny has been put down.
I burst into tears as I take a peek
at old pics while my smiles turn into frowns.

  Posting old pics of my best dog ever;
  knowing I will always love her forever.          
~Skyi Hilliard


52 Poems: Week 8 Sherman Alexie

Emerson's PEN visiting poet, Kima Jones, brought this poem for my students to read. We discussed the many social media sites we all navigate daily and I am so glad I don't have to experience the complex digital world as a kid today. The sonnets that followed from my students amazed me and I will post a few of those in my next post. So, here is Sherman Alexie's "Facebook Sonnet" which, after attending my 20-year high school reunion this past summer (and daily on the book) I relate to quite well.

Sherman Alexie laughing at/with us all...

The Facebook Sonnet
by Sherman Alexie

Welcome to the endless high-school
Reunion. Welcome to past friends
And lovers, however kind or cruel.
Let's undervalue and unmend

The present. Why can't we pretend
Every stage of life is the same?
Let's exhume, resume and extend
Childhood. Let's all play the games

That preoccupy the young. Let fame
And shame intertwine. Let one's search
For God become public domain.
Let church.com become our church.

Let's sign up, sign in and confess
Here at the altar of loneliness.