Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ready to sail again?

From last year:

Lighthouse at Camden Maine by Fitz Henry Lane

The Old Ship
by Tabatha Yeatts

The old ship
Watches the water,
Ready to sail again.

In the waning of the year,
The weathered vessel docked in port,
Where its sturdy hull was emptied,

Cleaned, polished, and refilled,
Where it stood
Beholding the town's lights --

That landed constellation --
With its planks humming the winter songs.
Today, it feels the pull

Of the waves,
And strikes off,
Perhaps on a new trajectory,

Perhaps on a route
It has traced before.
But anything can happen at sea,

And the cargo it brings to shore
Next December
Will be a revelation.


Friday, December 30, 2016


Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Lord Alfred Tennyson

Happy New Year! Pearl says, "May 2017 bring out your best, furriest, most agile self."

Pearl on her Peace perch

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carrie Fisher

Keep in mind though, I'm a PEZ dispenser and I'm in the abnormal Psychology textbook. Who says you can't have it all?
~Carrie Fisher

Stopping by to salute Carrie Fisher.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

See you in 2017!

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.
~Robert Burns

It occurred to me rather suddenly yesterday that I couldn't blog this week or next week. Nice thinking ahead, eh? I'll leave you with 112 DIY gift ideas and two rounds from Christine Lavin and the Mistletones:

Monday, December 19, 2016

Then one foggy Danish night

The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good - in spite of all the people who say he is very good.
~Robert Graves

Had to share Mya Gosling of Good Tickle Brain's Shakespeare carols with you:

Give that rhythm ev'rything you got

Music has always been a place where anything is possible.
~Bill Frisell

Joyful dancing for this Music Monday:

And one more:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Homegrown ShadowBox Art

Beware of books. They are more than innocent assemblages of paper and ink and string and glue. If they are any good, they have the spirit of the author within.
~Erica Jong

Welcome, all! Today we have Homegrown ShadowBox Art by Robyn Martins!

The poem in the Amy Lowell shadowbox reads:

All day I have watched the purple vine leaves
Fall into the water.
And now in the moonlight they still fall,
But each leaf is fringed with silver.

An excerpt from the Emily Bronte shadowbox:

'Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere

An excerpt from the Percy Shelley shadowbox:

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory;
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Georgia Douglas Johnson shadowbox:

When I rise up above the earth,
And look down on the things that fetter me,
I beat my wings upon the air,
Or tranquil lie,
Surge after surge of potent strength
Like incense comes to me
When I rise up above the earth
And look down upon the things that fetter me.

Use code HOLIDAY16 for 10% off now through the end of the year!

And now, the round-up, old school style:

* Becky at Tapestry of Words has Holiday Math Poetry and a NEW CONTEST for PB Writers!

* Diane at Random Noodling is sharing "Christmas Carol."

* Kurious Kitty's Kurio Kabinet features Anna Grossnickle Hines' Winter Lights.

* At Life on the Deckle Edge, Robyn is sharing a new Animal Rights Haiku Anthology.

* Myra is Waiting for Something while “Winter is Coming” at Gathering Books.

* Check it Out! Jone offers A Gift of Birds.

* Over at Deowriter, Jone has the last call to sign up for the New Year Poetry Postcard Exchange and #haikuforhealing/16.

* Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme spotlights his winter poem swap present from Keri.

* You can find more healing haiku at Joyce Ray's Musings.

* Laura shares a Risky Writing poem at Writing the World For Kids.

* At Whispers from the Ridge, Kiesha writes of Walking Alone in Mid-December.

* Linda B. offers a poem of comfort for year's end and an observant haiku at TeacherDance.

* Happy to have all poetic "microprocessing," as Heidi describes her haiku. At My Juicy Little Universe, Heidi posts more #haikuforhealing.

* Molly features an ekphrastic poem at Nix the Comfort Zone.

* At Reflections on the Teche, Margaret has a haiku about haiku.

* Linda M shares an ekphrastic haiku at A Word Edgewise

* Catherine at Reading to the Core is in with a "commonplace marvel" haiku.

* Haiku instigator Mary Lee has haiku and a glimpse at the difficulties of teaching social studies/civics these days at A Year of Reading.

* Jama's Alphabet Soup brings us a couple of reindeer poems and cookie ideas.

* At The Poem Farm, Amy shares a poem inspired by a funny family story.

* Tara at A Teaching Life has a wintry offering by Tom Hennen.

* For a spicy sweet haiku, head to Brenda's Friendly Fairy Tales.

* Alice Nine shares foggy morning-inspired haiku to haiga to tanka at Talking with Letters.

* At Carol's Corner, Carol spotlights "Protest, Protest!" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

* Penny has a guest collaboration at A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt. Rebecca Gomez has written a poem that was inspired by a drawing by her 12-year-old niece, Rebekah.

* I just love you guys.

* Dori has hygge at Dori Reads.

* At Wee Words for Wee Ones, Bridget features a post and poem that came out of cleaning her desk and finding a prompt from Irene Latham and Liz Stienglass from Poetry Camp last October.

* Carol V writes about poetry friends and gratitude for the Poetry Friday community at Beyond Literacy Link.

* The ever-interesting blog Bildungsroman features "Floating Island" by William Wordsworth.

* Karen Edmisten returns to Thomas Merton's "Advent."

* Donna pipes up with Christmas haiku at Mainely Write.

* Julieanne finishes us up with a poignant classroom moment, a blessing by Joyce Sidman, and an original haiku at To Read To Write To Be.


I’m in no hurry: the sun and the moon aren’t, either.
~Alberto Caeiro

Sloths this Art Thursday. If you haven't seen this clip of Kristin Bell learning that a sloth was coming to her birthday party (or even if you have), it's a good intro:

Sloth, A Paper Zoo
Illustration by Ellen Raskin

Brooklyn Street art
photo by Kim Tairi

Two-toed sloths
by Louis A. Sargent

by Wes Reimer

Brehm's Life of animals : a complete natural history for popular home instruction and for the use of schools
by Alfred Brehm

by Jonathan Eichhorn

Clay sloth dolls
Another sloth doll

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Listening, making

Dare to love yourself
as if you were a rainbow
with gold at both ends.

For Wellness Wednesday, we have encouragement, fun backgrounds, and a gift you can make.

First, a little encouragement:

Now, take a little trip far away with Ambient Mixer! Ambient Mixer offers lots of choices for background sounds. For instance, you can visit Victorian London (rain, church bells, carriage going past, train leaving the station) or the Hufflepuff Common Room (fireplace, grandfather clock, purring cat, quill scribbling). Or maybe you'll hang out in the Star Wars Jedi Temple (running water, "harmonic rumble") or Relaxing with Sherlock (reading newspaper, violin, footsteps, stirring teapot). There are lots of choices!

Lastly, here's a zen garden you can make with an old Altoids tin -- help someone else relax or keep it for yourself!

An Altoids tin bonus:

I'm going to stop, really, but isn't this cute?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Double Standards

Those who plead their cause in the absence of an opponent can invent to their heart's content, can pontificate without taking into account the opposite point of view and keep the best arguments for themselves, for aggressors are always quick to attack those who have no means of defence.
~Christine de Pizan

Hades2k CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Creative Commons Senryu
poem by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

I've been thinking about double standards lately, principally because people often don't even notice them. They hold people they like (or agree with) to a different standard than people they don't like. They can even be righteous about it. This is commonplace enough that people on all sides of the political spectrum do it. It's natural to cut people you like some slack, but nobody likes to be treated unfairly. Maybe we could consider, "Can I switch it around and see if it's still equitable?" (Unfortunately, I think a lot of people feel disrespectful enough about folks they disagree with that they don't care about being fair. Sigh.)

I looked for poems about double standards and found one by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. You should read the whole thing, but here's an excerpt:

A Double Standard
By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, 1825–1911

...Crime has no sex and yet to-day
I wear the brand of shame;
Whilst he amid the gay and proud
Still bears an honored name.

Can you blame me if I’ve learned to think
Your hate of vice a sham,
When you so coldly crushed me down
And then excused the man?


A quote that made me laugh:

A man once asked me ... how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. "Well," said the man, "I shouldn't have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing." I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also.
~Dorothy L. Sayers


Check It Out has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dressed up

I find myself wondering about their lives...When you buy a piece of vintage clothing you're not just buying the fabric and thread - you're buying a piece of someone's past.
~Isabel Wolff

Karen Peacock's art today. The vintage dresses she includes in her mixed media pieces caught my eye. I'm also including two paintings at the bottom. (I think Karen will make custom art with your vintage clothes on commission.) Thanks, Karen, for giving me permission to share your work!

by Karen Peacock

by Karen Peacock

by Karen Peacock

by Karen Peacock

Parts Unknown
by Karen Peacock

An Idea of Progress
by Karen Peacock

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Do the stuff that only you can do

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before.
~Neil Gaiman

For Wellness Wednesday, we have Neil Gaiman and Zen Pencils:

Monday, December 5, 2016


Running, the music flew into him, became the wind that pushed back his hair and the slap of his own feet on the pavement.
~Ann Patchett

Okay, time to wake up, everybody! City of the Sun:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

20 Things We Should Say More Often

Never decide to do nothing just because you can only do little.
~Steve Maraboli

Friday, December 2, 2016


The beauty is in the walking ― we are betrayed by destinations.
~Gwyn Thomas

Announcing the winner of my Kitty Hawk giveaway:

Our esteemed Poetry Friday host, Bridget Magee! Congrats, Bridget!

Two poems intended to soothe the spirit today.

Walking Blessing
by Jan L. Richardson

That each step
may be a shedding.
That you will let yourself
become lost.
That when it looks
like you’re going backwards
you may be making progress.
That progress is not the goal anyway,
but presence
to the feel of the path on your skin,
to the way it reshapes you
in each place it makes contact,
to the way you cannot see it
until the moment you have stepped out.


photo by Erin English

A Milkweed
by Richard Wilbur

What power had I
Before I learned to yield?
Shatter me, great wind:
I shall possess the field.


Wee Words for Wee Ones has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Bridget!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Who knows but this chance wild fruit, planted by a cow or a bird on some remote and rocky hill-side, where it is as yet unobserved by man, may be the choicest of all its kind, and foreign potentates shall hear of it, and royal societies seek to propagate it, though the virtues of the perhaps truly crabbed owner of the soil may never be heard of, -- at least, beyond the limits of his village?

...Every wild-apple shrub excites our expectation thus, somewhat as every wild child. It is, perhaps, a prince in disguise. What a lesson to man! So are human beings, referred to the highest standard, the celestial fruit which they suggest and aspire to bear, browsed on by fate; and only the most persistent and strongest genius defends itself and prevails, sends a tender scion upward at last, and drops its perfect fruit on the ungrateful earth.
~Henry David Thoreau

When I look at these pomological images (pomology -- the branch of botany that studies and cultivates fruit), I am delighted by the care that Amanda Almira Newton has given to the details. It reminds me of the way a poet notices the natural world.

I'm also a bit dismayed that the grand variety displayed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection is nowhere to be found in our grocery stores.

Golden Ball apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Black Ben apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Roman Stem apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Spitz apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Red Astrachan apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Pumpkin Sweet
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Goodwin apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bereavement tips

She, if she had to, would grieve wildly - with noise, mucus, paint on the canvas, blustery walks on beaches, curse words and exhausted sleep. But everyone grieves differently just as everyone loves in different ways.
~Susan Fletcher

For Wellness Wednesday, I'm thinking about everyone who has lost a loved one this year. Grieving during the holidays...what to do?


City of Hope offers these suggestions:

Grieve together. “There is a tendency for those grieving to withdraw from social interactions to mourn alone,” Folbrecht said. “But by sharing this experience with others, they will know that they are not alone in this ordeal and are better able to share, and ultimately work through, their feelings.”

Be prepared for interactions. “Mourners may also avoid socializing because they are afraid to burden others with their grief, a feeling that is amplified over the holidays since they may meet people they do not regularly see throughout the year,” Folbrecht said. To address that, Folbrecht suggests mentally preparing with how much (or little) they want to disclose about the situation to various social circles. Finally, mourners should be not be afraid to say "no" or "later" if the situation becomes too overwhelming.

Consider your traditions. One reason the holidays can intensify sadness is because cherished activities become a source of pain. Rather than focus on the loss, Folbrecht suggests mourners should examine what traditions they want to keep and practice to remember their loved ones. "Some traditions may be difficult to continue after the loss, so loved ones should consider replacing them with new activities that honors the death while helping loved ones through the grieving process," Folbrecht said.

Don't forget self care. “Grieving is a very exhausting process for both the mind and body, so it’s important to take a break for self care,” Folbrecht said. The holidays offer numerous opportunities for mourners to take their minds off bereavement, she added, suggesting that they volunteer at a food and clothing drive, write greeting cards to loved ones or simply check out the festive decorations in their neighborhoods. Activities like exercising, meditating and enjoying a massage will also help reduce the stress of the holidays.


from From Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief:

Discover Small Joys

As the holidays unfold, tune into small joyful moments, Apollon advises. "When you hear the laughter of children, focus on how good that feels. When you eat a piece of pie, really taste it. In the moment, it tastes so good -- and in that moment, you're outside your grief."Also, look for opportunities to laugh. "When you're laughing, your brain produces endorphins to boost the immune system," she says. "Give yourself permission to find things that make you laugh."


Here's a tip from Chesapeake Life Center's bereavement counselors:

Above all, communicate: Communicate what you can handle comfortably during this time to your friends and family. “Let folks know that you might need to take a break from festivities after a while,” Roberta Rook, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, said. Let them know it’s not because you don’t want to be with them, but because you need the time to recharge and gather yourself. Tell them whether or not it’s alright for them to talk about your loved one. Make them aware if you need to make changes in your role in family holiday responsibilities. “By relating your needs, you minimize the chances for misunderstandings and hurt feelings,” Rook said.


Another video, although this one focuses on depression during the holidays.


Lastly, here's Gayle Danley, Your Grief Girl

Monday, November 28, 2016

Alma Deutscher

Alma’s most important talent is the perfect connection between her inner world and the melodies she creates, which are so beautiful because they stem directly from this inner world. Few composers can write such tunes, which from the first moment are immediately impressed upon our memory, and thus turn into the possession of all those who listen to them.
~Ron Weidberg

Pre-teen composer, pianist, and violinist Alma Deutscher today.

From her web site: "Aged 10, Alma finished a full length opera, Cinderella. A chamber version of the opera was performed in 2015, and the full version will be premiered in Vienna in December 2016 under the patronage of Maestro Zubin Mehta."

Friday, November 25, 2016

All those cycles of the seasons

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.
~Madeleine L'Engle

Bookshop El Ateneo, photo by Josefina

Three poems from Women's Voices for Change: Redefining Life after Forty.

Used Book
by Julie Kane

What luck—an open bookstore up ahead
as rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,
and then to find the books were secondhand,
with one whole wall assigned to poetry;
and then, as if that wasn’t luck enough,

read the rest here


Word Pond
by Susan Kolodny

Go back, past the curtain of details, the wall
of chores, the grimy surfaces that obscure.
Go around the corners, under the broken fence,
crawl if you have to over moss, snail
slime, climb up the uneven hills

read the rest here


Her Art
by LaWanda Walters

I’d like to cry on Elizabeth Bishop’s shoulder.
I lost my mother’s engagement ring, for one thing.
Not your fault, she’d say. So much seems to want
to be lost. Even if, one day, in anger or grief
you threw it across the room or placed it somewhere
safe, the fact is, now, it’s gone. Just read my poem.

Remember? My mother’s watch was in that poem.
My losses are famous. Don’t cry on anyone’s shoulder—
even if I were available, I’m lost somewhere.

read the rest here


Carol's Corner has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Thursday, November 24, 2016


All too often in the commercial world, we are overwhelmed with monumental images, distracting sound bites, and overall visual clutter. This exhibition causes each of us to pause quietly and look closely at the meticulous skill with which the subjects are rendered, as reflected in the patient attention to detail, artistic expression, and the ideal of perfection.
~Ken Rollins

Models today. Not the human kind -- the small-version-of-a-bigger-thing kind.

photo by Ian Usher

photo by Glamhag

Trafalgar Day, Greenwich Maritime Museum, London
Louis Vest

Verona Model Expo, 2013
Angelo Moneta

York Model Railway Exhibition
Peter Taylor

Lugano, Swiss Miniatur
Allan Watt

Set design model for Giuseppe Verdi's Otello, 1895
by Marcel Jambon (1848-1908)
photo by Gallica

York Model Railway Exhibition
Peter Taylor

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Cakes are healthy, too -- you just eat a small slice.
~Mary Berry

Back with more Wellness Wednesday! We all need a laugh sometimes, so today, we have The God of Cake from Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half:

My mom baked the most fantastic cake for my grandfather's 73rd birthday party. The cake was slathered in impossibly thick frosting and topped with an assortment of delightful creatures which my mom crafted out of mini-marshmallows and toothpicks. To a four-year-old child, it was a thing of wonder - half toy, half cake and all glorious possibility.

But my mom knew that it was extremely important to keep the cake away from me because she knew that if I was allowed even a tiny amount of sugar, not only would I become intensely hyperactive, but the entire scope of my existence would funnel down to the singular goal of obtaining and ingesting more sugar. My need for sugar would become so massive, that it would collapse in upon itself and create a vacuum into which even more sugar would be drawn until all the world had been stripped of sweetness.

So when I managed to climb onto the counter and grab a handful of cake while my mom's back was turned, an irreversible chain reaction was set into motion.

I had tasted cake and there was no going back. My tiny body had morphed into a writhing mass of pure tenacity encased in a layer of desperation. I would eat all of the cake or I would evaporate from the sheer power of my desire to eat it.

My mom had prepared the cake early in the day to get the task out of the way. She thought she was being efficient, but really she had only ensured that she would be forced to spend the whole day protecting the cake from my all-encompassing need to eat it. I followed her around doggedly, hoping that she would set the cake down - just for a moment.

Read the rest here