Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Look What I Found!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, Beth, and Anna
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday 
                                                      and nurturing our writing lives.

We have our usual walk to the small downtown district from our home.  It's about 3 miles round trip.  Recently, we've expanded a bit with a longer loop which makes our walk about 4 miles.  Occasionally we hike through the woods, onto the Lid, and through the downtown district for a five mile walk. 

On Saturday we did the quickest and most efficient walk possible.  I had forgotten to purchase hamburger meat when I went grocery shopping that morning.  So we walked directly to QFC and took the most direct route home instead of our usual scenic route through the residential area.  That's when we discovered blooming flowers on an evergreen tree! Okay, they're probably not flowers, but they sure look like flowers at first glance.  I'm pretty sure the center is what becomes the pine cone.  I haven't identified the tree yet.  We have birding books for the NW, but no tree books.  If you can identify this tree, be sure to leave a comment.  There are so many things all around us that deserve a closer look.  I'm glad that I forgot the hamburger.  And now I'm off to the KCLS site to request a tree book.   

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Celebrate This Week!

                              Join us each weekend for Celebrate this week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
  A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

1.  Messages and pics from Sara!
Sara's in Baltimore helping out after Ann and Andrew's family grew to four.  We haven't carved out as much time to chat, but I've loved the pictures and yesterday's FaceTime chat with the birthday girl, a three year old propelled by birthday exuberance!  I celebrate a three year old who moves constantly,
and a one week old who seems to be sleeping a lot!

2.  An evening walk with a friend!
We used to walk together frequently.  Schedules and life get in the way,
but we carved out time to squeeze in a stroll at sunset.  

3.  Poetic pleasures!
Our Thursday afternoon book club prowled the pages of poetry books in search of poems to share with the school community.  Next week, we'll meet on both Monday and Tuesday so we can post poems around the school in preparation for celebrating "Poem in Your Pocket Day" on Thursday.  

4.  400 Posts!
Today marks my 400th post!  I'm still grateful to my students who encouraged me to go public with my posts during Slice of Life 2012.  I closed my eyes and plunged in.  I've continued to plod along faithfully, rewarded by reading your posts and continually being inspired by the writers who surround me.  

Friday, April 24, 2015

Poetry Friday

Renee LaTulippe (such a poetic name!) at No Water River
is hosting Poetry Friday this week.  She has a wonderful Q & A
post that explains how to participate with us each week.
 Be sure to stop by for a taste of poetry love.

Evening light shimmers
as father-son paddle boarders glide by.
Walkers, drunk on lilacs, 
stroll blossom-filled roads.  
Poetry struts at sunset.

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Family

The bloggers at Spiritual Journey Thursday are            
writing about family this week.  
  Thanks to Holly Mueller for hosting
this group each Thursday. 

Even though I'm a day late, I'm linking up with my friends at Spiritual Journey Thursday with a poem and a pic.  Holly shared her reflections as her family grows to embrace a new son.  I share a short poem that notes the many ways we stay connected as a family.  Our photo was taken in August 2013 at Sara's graduation.   We are looking forward to Christmas 2015 when we will ALL be together again.  

Notes, letters, stories
Tender points of connection
FaceTime, Instagram, messages
Link us lovingly together
Until the next time
We meet to hug and talk

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Enchanted Afternoon

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, Beth, and Anna
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday 
                                                      and nurturing our writing lives.

In honor of poetry month, I continue my efforts to capture my SOL in poetry.
This week I choose the arun* to capture our Thursday afternoon book club.  
*Arun - a fifteen-line poem in three sets of five lines.
Each set of five lines follows the same syllable structure:
starting with one syllable and increasing by one (1/2/3/4/5 - 3X).

Enchanted Afternoon

by poetry,
we celebrate poems.
silence.  The
muse delivers
weaving her wonder.
heads share
laughter, sunshine
as poems beguile us.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Celebrate This Week

                               Join us each weekend for Celebrate this week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
  A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

1.  A visit from a friend and a new book!
Patty's visit was perfect.  We shared hot cookies, cold milk, hugs, and tears.  
She gave us the book Cat Heaven, a new-for-me book and a forever keeper.
I think Hadley must love sleeping on God's bed, but I miss her every day.  

2.  A Monday departure!
Sara's Monday departure meant her May arrival is creeping closer.

3.  Thursday book club in the Gator Garden!
Construction on our campus makes finding an outdoor spot difficult.
One of our book club members suggested the Gator Garden.  
We loved writing, reading, and sharing poetry outside.    

4.  A Friday post!
Even though I had to whittle my list to six essential poetry books,
I followed up with a Poetry Friday post to expand the list.

5. A Saturday morning indulgence!
I let myself meander blogs for one hour before writing today's post.

6.  Saturday afternoon workshop today!
"Haiku and Painting:  Inspiring One Another
Join artist Molly Hashimoto and librarian Carrie Bowman
to discover ways that poetry, art, and nature mingle with delightful results."
I wish my blogger friends could join me, but I promise to report back.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Poetry Friday: Expanding my Poetry Essentials

Robyn Hood Black is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup
at Life at the Deckle Edge.  Be sure to stop by for a taste of poetry
love and check out her interview with Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell
in honor of their latest publication, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations.

Several weeks ago Roger, owner of Island Books, asked me to create a list of poetry books for their April newsletter.  I think he wanted poetry picture books, but I ended up creating a list of favorite anthologies.  Anytime I get to blow the poetry horn, I want to include as many poets as possible.  Every home deserves several well loved anthologies.  I visited my own bookshelves and the bookshelves of my favorite libraries to pull favorite titles.  It wasn't long before I stopped by the bookstore with a bin of favorites (winnowed from the two bins in the trunk of my car).  Lori immediately reminded me that I was supposed to submit only FIVE titles.   After much consternation and with Lori's help, I winnowed the list to six titles.  One of the titles is a slim anthology One Big Rain:  Poems for Rainy Days.  Organized by the seasons, it's something you need in your home if you live in the Northwest.  I also included Firefly July, a lovely recent picture book anthology organized by seasons.  Drop by Myra's review at Gathering Books for a peek inside Firefly July.  You can see my original six choices at Ramona Behnke's Poetry Essentials.  

Today's post includes additional essential titles (according to yours truly).  Someday soon I'll merge the two lists and create a document to share.  What anthologies did I leave off the list that are well loved at your house?  

Knock at a Star:  A Child's Introduction to Poetry - by X. J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy

Whistle and Shout:  Poems to Memorize - edited by Patrice Vecchione

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle...And Other Modern Verse - compiled by Stephen Dunning, Edward Lueders, and Hugh Smith

The Tree That Time Built - selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston

Julie Andrews' Treasury For All Seasons:  Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year- selected by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, paintings by Marjorie Ariceman

A Family of Poems:  My Favorite Poetry for Children - selected by Caroline Kennedy

Forget-Me-Nots:  Poems to Learn by Heart - selected by Mary Ann Hoberman

The Beauty of the Beast:  Poems from the Animal Kingdom - selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Meilo So

Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young - selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Marc Brown

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children - selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Arnold Lobel

A Foot in the Mouth:  Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout - selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka

I plan to have future posts for other favorite titles:  picture book anthologies, picture books by individual poets, poetry books for adults, and poetry books for teachers.  And a post with links to favorite blogs of poets!  Hope you're enjoying this month of poetry (even though we share poetry love year round)!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

One of Those Days!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, Beth, and Anna
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday 
                                                      and nurturing our writing lives.

A Fellow Blogger Helps Me Make Lemonade!

An afternoon of errands went south
when the man at the body shop
informed me that my tabs
had expired . . . three months ago!

We are people who pay our bills
and promptly meet our obligations.
How was it possible that this happened?
And that we hadn't noticed???

Suddenly it was imperative that I
remedy this gargantuan oversight.
I phoned hubby at work who informed me
that it was the year requiring an emissions test.

Easy enough, I knew the location of
an emissions testing center.  Then with hubby's help
on the phone, I located the nearest licensing office,
(haven't done this in person for years).

I wanted to put the tab on my license plate
immediately, but the clerk advised me to wait
until I arrived home out of the pouring rain
and could ensure a dry surface for easy bonding.

On the way home, I studied each car's tab
and didn't see anyone else with a past due date.
But if I got stopped on the way home,
I had the new tab beside me on the seat.

A drive that normally takes 15 minutes
lasted for 55 minutes in creeping, rush hour
traffic.  I arrived home in a beastly mood,
still needing to write my Tuesday SOL.

I recalled a post I recently read,
from a new blogger friend
with these wise words:
Rethink, refocus, restart, shift.

Rethink - Yes, it was a rough afternoon.
Time to look for the blessings in the mess.
Refocus - no lines at emissions testing or
the licensing office, and I hadn't received a costly ticket.

Restart - tomorrow I can return to my list
of unfinished errands and pick up where I left off.
Shift - I've written myself out of the beastly mood
I was in, and now it's time for a late dinner.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Celebrate This Week!

                              Join us each weekend for Celebrate this week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
  A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember!

My husband and I counted the days until
Sara's arrival on Tuesday from New York.
It's been a week filled with shared moments together, 
lots of hugs and tears (missing our Hadley),
chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, 
a busy time,
house hunting,  a job interview,
exploring Kirkland,
a happy time,
playing Yahtzee,
giggling until we cried,
an ordinary time,
trips to Costco, Target, and Nordstrom Rack,
a grocery store stop with Dad,
and today
attending church together,
a favorite meal for Sunday dinner,
bittersweet as her Monday departure crawls closer, 
but jubilation knowing that June 
with Sara's and Will's permanent arrival
is just around the corner!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Poetry Friday

Laura Purdie Salas is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup
at Writing the World for Kids.  Be sure to stop by for a taste of poetry
love and check out her month long series of Poetry Tips for Teachers.   

Why I Didn't Write this Post during the Time I Planned to Do It

Daughter says you can bring your laptop and write in the waiting room
during my extended doctor's appointment.  I bring  my laptop, and offer
to check out the public library for her (this may be her future community).
Get lost on the way to the library, not so good at following that google voice.
Scrounge through box of books in trunk of car trying to determine which books
can be returned so I can squeeze in a few more poetry books into the bins for next week's
book club adventure with poetry.  Take photos of titles I want to recheck in the future.
Ask patron to explain automated return system to me, and return books.
Stop by paperback books displayed as eye candy in the front lobby.
Stop in children's 811 & 821 sections.  Move on to the adult 811 and 821 stacks.
Get lost in the pleasures of prowling the shelves.
Uh oh!  Text from daughter:  finished with the doctor, two more stops and I'll be ready.
Oh no!  Does that mean it's time from me to pick you up?
Not yet, just giving you an update.  Are you writing your post or exploring books?
Exploring poetry books.
Of course!  (accompanied by smiley face and stack of books)
She knows her mama too well!
Frantic push to read two or three more shelves looking for gems I love,
Check out my box of books, hustle to the car, drive back to doctor's office
(without getting lost this time), but also without time to write a poetry post!
Scratch out my post just before bed, it may be Saturday on the east coast,
but it's still Friday in the northwest, and yes, it's raining.  Reminder to self:
A library offers far too many distractions to be a good writing place for me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

PO-EMotion: Acceptance

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Betsy, Dana, Beth, and Anna
for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday 
and nurturing our writing lives.   

I meandered the poetry slices this morning until I saw Mary Lee's word for todayacceptance, 
and then I was compelled to write about our cat, Hadley.  

So surprised when Sara picked you, an older cat,
instead of one of the lively kittens at the rescue shelter.
You came to Evergreen Lane seventeen years ago,
no longer an orphan, but a cat with an address,
and quickly became Sara's cat.

AT MEOW (Mercer Eastside Orphans and Waifs)
you were such a docile cat, they let you roam free.
But when you went back for nail trims,
you turned into a hissy cat, perhaps afraid of being returned.

From the moment we walked out of MEOW
and carried you home, you captured our hearts.

Sara loves to tell how Dad had cat hair on his shirt
when she returned from an evening with a friend
the first night you came to live with us.
You charmed even him, our lone holdout.

You surprised us with your willingness to cuddle,
but that disappeared as you became settled
in your new home, replaced by
aloof Hadley who might deign to grace your lap.

So many fun memories -
The clattering spoon as you explored the leftover chili,
Your guard cat persona whenever a dog was on the premises,
Our frantic family persona when you managed a quick escape,
The wild Hadley who took on Blake and his teasing,
The musical cat who explored the inside of the piano,
Your thundering paws as you galloped from one end of the house to the other
in hot pursuit of something that had moved out of your range of vision.

You were always Sara's cat until she went away to college.
Gradually you moved into my lap since it was the only welcoming one.
You kept us company as we transitioned to empty nesters,
and when business took Lance to Houston, you kept me company.

This spring you joined me most days for writing time in March,
our old cat, who rarely thundered through the house anymore.
Sometimes you were already on the bed, waiting for me to join you.
I'd scoot you over, laptop in hand, you beside me, gently snoring.
It never took long until you squeezed the laptop out,
and reclaimed your prime real estate, my lap.
You were even cover cat in Bonnie's writing places video!

Yesterday was a slow day, not much accomplished
except lots of time with you.
Nap time together,
PBS time together watching the Ken Burns Cancer series,
Bedtime together (for just the 4th time in your life),
And writing time together this morning.
Not sure that I'll be writing on the bed for awhile,
it just won't feel right without you by my side.

But it does feel right to say
goodbye, my love, goodbye.
Pleasant journey until we meet again.

Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem - Day 6

I'm not sure what madness possessed me to respond affirmatively to a certain poet who messaged me on Twitter about joining the progressive poem this year.  I follow the poem each April, fascinated by the spell cast and the journey taken.  I love dabbling in words and had our girl with the bare browned arms striding along the edge of the water until Charles threw me a curveball . . . the indigo varnished handbag and Grandmother's oval cuffed bracelet . . .

She lives without a net, walking along the alluvium deposits of the delta.
Shoes swing over her shoulder, on her bare feet stick jeweled flecks of dark mica.
Hands faster than fish swing at the ends of bare brown arms. Her hair flows,
snows in wild wind as she digs in the indigo varnished handbag,
pulls out her grandmother’s oval cuffed bracelet,
strokes the turquoise stones, and steps through the curved doorway.

Catherine, I can't wait to see where those bare feet with jeweled flecks of dark mica are headed . . .

Join us for this month of poetic wandering
day by day, line by line . . .

1 Jone at Check it Out
5 Charles at Poetry Time Blog
7 Catherine at Catherine Johnson
8 Irene at Live Your Poem
9 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
10 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
11 Kim at Flukeprints
12 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine at DoriReads
14 Renee at No Water River
17 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
18 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
19 Linda at Teacher Dance
20 Penny at A Penny and her Jots
21 Tara at A Teaching Life
22 Pat at Writer on a Horse
23 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
26 Brian at Walk the Walk
27 Jan at Bookseedstudio
28 Amy at The Poem Farm
29 Donna at Mainely Write

Saturday, April 4, 2015

How Can I Celebrate?

                               Join us each weekend for Celebrate this week with Ruth Ayres.  
 When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build.
                                           Celebrating in the midst of great sorrow...

There are always moments that will be forever imprinted on our memories.  Yesterday was one of those days.  While running errands with my husband, I received a call from a dear friend whose son had taken his life.  My heart aches, and I long to be near her, to mingle my tears with hers and to hold her in my arms.

I'm ashamed to say that on my table is a sympathy card that I've moved around for several weeks.  I recently learned on Facebook that a friend from college lost her son.  Each day I promise myself that I'll send that card, that I'll try to write words of comfort to a mother whose arms and heart are empty, and each day I've failed.  So today I reach out to both friends with the words of this post, and promise to mail those cards today.

On the morning of 9/11, I walked with a friend who had yet to hear from a daughter who lived in NYC.   The daughter worked as a temp, and so my friend had no way of knowing where her daughter was that morning.  We talked with heavy hearts of the loss of so many lives.  She mentioned that when we feel such sadness that we are helping, as Christians, to bear one another's burdens.

I opened Writer's Almanac this morning to "The Cows at Night" by Hayden Carruth.  I borrow lines from his poem this morning:

"                                   ...for how
in that great darkness could I explain
anything, anything at all."

And while my words cannot explain anything, He who bore all the sorrows of our world promises:

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee:  be not dismayed; for I am thy God:  I will strengthen thee: yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not: for I will help thee.  (Isaiah 41:10,13)

I pray for my friends to feel His love, to know that He who experienced all sorrow walks beside them through this dark time and holds their hands.

And so through my tears and sadness, I celebrate the Savior of the world who overcame death, walks with us through our dark times, and promises His help and everlasting love.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Poetry Friday

Today's Poetry Friday is hosted by the lovely Amy at The Poem Farm.  Funny how the words that we're surrounded by pop up in our thoughts and writing.  Today's haiku was inspired by Mary Lee's PO-EMotion "anticipation," but when I visited her blog today, I discovered that it also works with today's PO-EMotion, "surprise."

I watch with sadness as pink blossoms float to the deck.  And then I notice something. Sorry for the shaky photos (not telling how many pics I took to finally capture one of the pink blossoms falling).

Tiny pink blossoms
Drifting languorously down
Tender green arrives

Every season brings change,
something to anticipate,
something to embrace,
something to notice.