Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 Do you remember those days
when dining out was a nightmare
with little ones who didn't want to be there?
Do you remember when they only wanted you?
Do you remember not being able to get them to eat anything healthy?
The nights they wouldn't go to bed until 11:30 pm
and then woke up again at 2am?
do you remember toys everywhere and a messy house
filled with kid stuff?

So nice to be a grandma..it has its privileges
it's not me he wants
it's not my mess
I can give him a cookie
and it's not me getting up
all night

I told my daughter to hang in there
someday she'll be missing all of this

Friday, May 27, 2011

This weekend,remember

The Debt
She lit the firecracker and closed her eyes.
"Throw it!" a voice yelled out from behind the bushes,"Now!"
Startled, she hastily let go of it and stepped back just as the fuse hit and it went off. 
Out from behind a privet hedge dashed her brother,
tackling her to the ground.
"You could have lost an eye or a finger,you idiot.I ought to tell dad."
With that she began to cry,"Don't tell Kenny, dad will ground me."
"You'll owe me," he said,getting up and dusting off his jeans. 
"...you'll owe me for the rest of your life."
Ten years later it was Kenny lighting the firecrackers and bottle rockets
at the family's 4th of July picnic.
The following Monday he would be heading to boot camp.
It was 1968 and he had been drafted.
"Remember?" he asked her that day,"remember when I said you owed me 
for not telling dad how you almost blew off your fingers? Well, I want to collect your debt."
Kathy laughed thinking back on that day. "Yeah what is it,what do you want?"
"Sis, if I don't come back,I want you to be the one to make sure that the
4th of July is always celebrated with fireworks.
And I want you to take care of mom and dad for me,will you?"
"I will."
"Hey,"he said,"let's light one more for old times sake..and remember,
toss it this time."

They lit the fuses and tossed the firecrackers onto the driveway,
their faces lit up in the darkness reflecting the children that they really were.

Kathy stood facing her brother,older than her by two years,
and began to cry,then shaking...grabbing hold of her brother and hugging him.
 And together they laughed and cried as the smell of sulfur filled the air.

Suddenly,their embracing bodies became still...as if they were to let go,
it would be parting forever.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


 Not all childhoods are filled with bliss.
This is what I am tackling in the story I am writing.
A story crafted out of many memories of childhood friends
whose lives were anything but happy or functional
So many children live with dread and fear
and secrets....some of their own..but mostly
family secrets
As I use these precious children that I remember,as inspiration
for the two young girls in my story
I can't help but tear up
wondering ..
What ever happened to them?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Light, shadow, writer

 I am writing a story that has much darkness in it
and I feel myself at the edge of a cliff
frightened that I may slip

Darkness is not pleasant
but it makes for a compelling story
A writer/teacher once told me that a writer
must be able to write to the edge...go there

It is a quite an experience seeing on paper what your mind
has brought forth....
Light and  shadows in the writer's hands

Oh to just be a gardener

But in ways they are similiar
Texture and light
color and drama
structure that stands in all seasons
and one who must tend it all
and make a garden out of it
so it is not just chaos
But chaos is good for me sometimes
gets the heart pumping
the mind engaged that something needs
exposure or editing or more tending
It is going to be a long day

Thursday, May 19, 2011

 My body rejoices in the sun's warm rays
I feel healing from winter going on inside of me

I love to labor in the garden
especially now when my heart is heavy from loss

The sight of the birds flitting over me as I weed
especially the quarrelsome Goldfinches
cheers me to my aching knees

Gardening is getting harder due to being long in the tooth
hee hee
I hope heaven is a garden
I can imagine it so
..for this is comforting
glorious flowers,trees, animals and birds
 all there for joy
and my loved ones
yes, I think of seeing them again as I bend
hands in dirt,pulling out prickly thistle
aware of the clock ticking away
the days flying off of the calendar
the hours twirling past
the minutes tickling me
and seconds 
Oh those seconds
when everything can change
Yes..let me enjoy the rays of the sun
let them warm my body today
and bring me joy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bobbs Merrill reader...magpie tale

Not a single child of mine wants them. Their aged leather bindings
their hand colored plates;they aren't drawn to them as I was since childhood.
The first "old" book that I ever saw was a Bobbs Merrill reader that I discovered
thrown out with a mound of "trash" in the alley behind old Mrs. Karney's house.
I am so sorry that I never got to say goodbye to her before she died. She was good to me
often waiting for me to walk thorough the alley past her yard on my way home from school.
"I baked some cookies today, want some?" she often said. One day she brought out homemade fudge.
I raved so much to my mother about the fudge that she went over to her house and asked her for the recipe. It was the beginning of a great friendship between the two women. My mother never had a mother and Mrs. Karney, I think, sensed that she might just have a purpose in this department and bloomed like a queen of the garden rose. When Mrs. Karney got ill and went into the hospital I had just been chosen for the lead in the school play, Alice in Wonderland. I meant to visit her when she got home, but I put it off and she died suddenly one day.
My mother said that she had a nephew that lived in New York. New York, why you might as well of said the moon to this mid-western girl. 
On my way home from school one afternoon I saw that someone was in her house, and that furniture was being carried out to a truck that said antiques on the side panel. Her red mohair chair sat in the yard along with a pile of linens.
The next day the house was quiet, but the alley was loaded with things discarded in the trash.
It made me sad to see her things disgraced like that.
I cried as I picked through the garbage trying to save as much as I could,finding there her recipe box.
and  the old reader. Ever since I have been attracted to old readers, a penance in a way for not having said goodbye, I think, bound to the little child within me.
Not a single kid of mine wants the books,
not even the Bobbs Merrill reader.
But she lives on in the stained, yellowed,
old fudge recipe on a 3x5 card
   in the old oak recipe box that sits right next to it on the shelf in the kitchen.
She'd of liked that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


a story written from this prompt above
for Short Story Slam
thank you Bluebell books for inviting me to contribute

 One of them looks like a Wonder bread wrapper. I watch from afar as the balloons inflate,propane flowing to the burners which in turn fires the flames upward to the envelopes of cloth. I watch as they ascend and wish that I could be in one, as it untethers and disappears carried away by the sound of wind and flame.
If only pain were that easy to get away from.
My mother always pulls my parachute valve, wrapping her needy fingers around the silken cord that has bound us since my birth and yanks it so my life deflates before it can lift away.
She is alone, she is poor, she is sick, she is old. She is.
But I have found a man who wants me, loves me,and doesn't need me.  This time I will let my burners fire and be lifted up in a silken gown of white. This time I will yank that cord away from her
and watch the wonder of it all as I tighten the cord around her neck and the parachute valve opens and she descends into hell.
If only pain were that easy to get away from.
The wind blows my stringy hair across my face
and I know that I can only hold my stare upward into the sky and watch the balloons until they are but a speck in the sky,
my wonder released, barely visible.

May 11th's post

Saturday, May 14, 2011

 Woman of the Meskwaki tribe
They called you Old Fox Woman
Was it because of your shifting ways
your knowledge of things
between worlds
Your ability to charm your prey?
Or was it because you were invisible?

 I speak to fox that has visited me
knowing that now he straddles two worlds no more
but frolics in the better
no more dusk and dawn
I mourn for you my guide
knowing that one time you looked like the proud fox
not the sick old wearied one that stayed a while
I have searched for your message until it came
you left it as you crossed over

Once a snake came into my life
on the steps of a classroom
not once but three times,even shedding his skin
and I asked an Indian woman who was there.. what did it mean
and she asked
It came to you 3 times in one day?
It is powerful message of transformation
and it was
and now you have come into my life
as yours was ending and I was honored
I never feared you so close
but was stirred with compassion
believing you were here for a reason
I like to think of you now
healthy and running free
charming your way on the other side
you and Old Fox Woman

Thursday, May 12, 2011

 I will be in the garden most of the day
I hope I have  a
moment of poetry
that I can jot down
for the guessing

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sometimes life hands me a composition
a message of delight
in the colors of the sunset
or passing clouds
or bold shadows
or in the flower beds

It is up to me to linger a while

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There is nothing to writing.
All you do is sit down at a typewriter
and open a vein.

....Red Smith

I had my book club this morning
..interesting book, Long Long Ago and Essentially True

We had a good time talking about what we liked
and didn't like about the book
which made me think on the way home
Readers......the ultimate judges
and I got a shiver or two
It's not always what you put down on the page that counts,
but what the reader brings to it..their personal biases or hangups
or prejudices or needs
..and all after having opened a vein
...such a thing
this wanting to write....
I'm glad I also like to garden


Monday, May 9, 2011

Galena mother's day

I spent my weekend in Galena
my favorite place
It was just my husband and me
Life gets complicated when your children have children
and they have other family and one lives thousands of miles away
So we have learned to just go with the flow
getting in our celebrations with each of them
when we can
This year we celebrated early with our children and my mother
leaving us the weekend to escape to the country
Oh how I love the country
though we have a house in a resort area
it is surrounded by farms and woods
best of both worlds actually
Saturday morning the woods were filled
with bird calls...holy moly...like a concert
and at night it was so dark ...love that darkness of the rural area
Every farm had baby cows or horses
And the vistas of the land in Galena are a special part of Illinois
which is usually flatland
though I love flatland horizons
 My husband and I always seem to be on a date
when we are there
He is always so content visiting with the locals
that have become friends...
and we love just going for a ride in the country
no destination..but exploring the area
may we forever be explorers
if only weekend ones
I had a wonderful Mother's day
Here's a few pictures of our home and surroundings
I always like it when people..bloggers...share a bit of their
gardens or homes with me so
I hope you enjoy a peak

the driveway in

Looking out to the back woods

Baltimore Oriole and Goldfinches

It must have been a Goldfinch convention
at one time we had over 50  of them on the deck!

This is a male and female Rose- breasted Grosbeak

the male grosbeak


It was a glorious day

light and shadows everywhere

more grosbeaks

Baltimore Oriole

views around the house

leaving...always a hard thing to do

Friday, May 6, 2011

May I always find delight
in the simple pleasures of a child
chasing kitty around
who wants a rumble
May I nod my head in grace
like white daffoldils
standing in unwanted weeds

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May love rise out of me
as a  plant rises
each spring
 out of death and debris
pushing aside obstacles
with ease
and determination
for it is life
it seeks through
 the darkness

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sometimes sunshine is visible only in the morning
I saw it creeping through the shutters
falling across the room
it was a quiet sweetness
as I stood there
knowing this is a moment
a gift
a small wonder
of a new day
given me

Sunday, May 1, 2011

a love for all things

I am a hopeless romantic
I need a fix now and then

of a good movie

This foreign film
did it.

I was alone and the house was quiet
..the best time to watch a love story

about a woman's love
from beginning to end
about that magic moment
when your heart knows
its journey

 I had a surprise yesterday too

on my deck outside

He curled up in Handsome's Igloo
and went to sleep

and this morning he is back
all tucked in surrounded by
afghans and old quilts
like he belongs there

When your heart is all high on love
you look at things differently
rest dear fellow rest
I am filled with love

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