Friday, April 28, 2017

At the Goody Goody Diner, plus spiders

Some of these spiders could straddle over a common saucer with their hairy, muscular legs, and when their feelings were hurt, or their dignity offeended, they were the wickedest-looking desperadoes the animal world can furnish. If their glass prison-houses were touched ever so lightly they were up and spoiling for a fight in a minute. Starchy?--proud? Indeed, they would take up a straw and pick their teeth like a member of Congress.
~Mark Twain on tarantulas

Hi y'all!

Two bits today. Pretty different, or maybe not. This gentleman offers diners custom poetry from the heart:

I heard the following poem performed this week during the Poetry Out Loud semi-finals. The student did an excellent job, and I was sorry she didn't get to go on to the finals. (I can't remember her name or state!)

By Thomas Lux

For some semitropical reason
when the rains fall
relentlessly they fall

into swimming pools, these otherwise
bright and scary
arachnids. They can swim
a little, but not for long

and they can’t climb the ladder out.
They usually drown—but
if you want their favor,
if you believe there is justice,
a reward for not loving

read the rest here


Teaching Authors has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, JoAnn!

Thursday, April 27, 2017


I discovered about 150 dots is the minimum number of dots to make a specific recognizable person. You can make something that looks like a head, with fewer dots, but you won't be able to give much information about who it is.
~Chuck Close

150, eh? Does that make you want to test it? I have the feeling that he's right.

Polka dots today:

Polka Dot House, Detroit
photo by Patty Mooney

012 Polka Dot, London
photo by Eric
part of The Elephant Parade, drawing attention to plummeting Asian elephant populations

Polka-dot piano
photo by Steve Grant

Side of Polka Dot Bus
photo by Patty Mooney

Superhero Dachshund
by Jenn and Tony Bot

by Yayoi Kusama
photo by Wendy Tanner

Art installation of polka-dotted characters, Let's Go to a Paradise of Glorious Tulips
by Yayoi Kusama
photo by Choo Yut Shing

Lastly, a quote to make you go "hmmm..." from artist Sigmar Polke:

I love all dots. I am married to many of them. I want all dots to be happy. Dots are my brothers. I am a dot myself.
~Sigmar Polke

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Appreciating Volunteers

The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.
~Terri Guillemets

It's National Volunteer Week -- time to thank volunteers and assess the volunteering we do, see if there's anything else we'd like to try.

I've talked about volunteers occasionally before, such as morgue volunteers, book movers, and my own tutoring.

Recently, I received a hospice press release about all the different types of volunteers who help with their work and I was really struck by the variety:

· Licensed cosmetologists: Provide haircuts and other grooming to our patients in their homes.
· Healing Arts: Licensed massage therapists, musicians and artists, people to perform Aromatherapy, Comfort Touch, acupuncture and reiki.
· Pet therapy: Licensed pet therapists as well as dog owners who are interested in having their dogs certified as comfort pets through our partner program with Petco.
· Threshold Choirs: Sing with small groups at the homes and bedsides of hospice patients to bring ease and comfort to those at the threshold of living and dying.
· Camp Volunteers: Be a Big Buddy to a child or teen at our summer bereavement camps held from Aug. 11 to 13.
· Patient care: Provide companionship and a supportive presence for our patients and respite for caregivers. They offer a listening ear, open mind and loving heart to those in our care.
· Vet-to-Vet Volunteer: These are patient care volunteers who have a military background who are assigned to visit patients who are veterans.

So many people who are needed, so many ways to help. Why am I including volunteering on Wellness Wednesday? Because volunteering makes you feel better, as well as helping others. If you aren't currently in a place in your life where you can do consistent volunteering, consider one-time events.

I loved these kids explaining what a volunteer is:

Nice song:

One place to find volunteer opportunities

Here's another: Volunteer Match

Monday, April 24, 2017

Storms, skaters, birds, and barks

Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment excellently, and at the conclusion he added a free fantasy [an improvised cadenza] which absolutely astounded me, for it is hardly possible that anyone has ever played, or ever will play, in such a fashion.
~Johann Friedrich Armand von Uffenbach

Let's start Music Monday with some interesting bits about Antonio Vivaldi from Wikipedia:

"Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi (who had been ordained as a Catholic priest) was employed [for 29 years]."

Doesn't that sound like a story in and of itself? Orphans, female ensembles, and a redheaded priest composer.

"The inspiration for the [Four Seasons] concertos was probably the countryside around Mantua. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterized), barking dogs, buzzing mosquitoes, crying shepherds, storms, drunken dancers, silent nights, hunting parties from both the hunters' and the prey's point of view, frozen landscapes, ice-skating children, and warming winter fires."

A folk version of Spring performed by Barocco Boreale:

All four of the Seasons with violinist Janine Jansen:

Four Seasons album covers

The sonnet that goes with Summer

Saturday, April 22, 2017


I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them.
~Walt Whitman

If you know how much I love nature and how much I love NASA, it won't surprise you at all that I celebrated Earth Day by attending a March for Science.

Loved seeing all the cool people with their cool signs (showing up, even in the rain!):

Hearing Bill Nye, Judith Hill, and Maya Lin was a treat. Also, Mr. Dolby!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Waiting rooms at bus stations

Poets are like steam valves, where the ordinary feelings of ordinary people can escape and be shown.
~Sharon Olds


I planned to write form poems this week, and in fact I did write two, but I am not content with either. Our kitty Pearl died suddenly last Friday. She was a young cat, with no signs of illness, and she started throwing up blood-tinged bubbles while I was in the shower Friday morning. She had an undiagnosed heart condition which the vet said only shows itself when cats go into heart failure. The poems that I wrote were about pets, but they need work. My concentration is not what it could be this week...

So I'll share a video with you instead. It was read by my younger daughter's friend, and my son added the images:
The visible and the in-
Want to join the Summer Poetry Swap? If you take part in the swap, you will send 1-5 poems to your fellow swappers (and receive an equal number). If you sign up for five, you will be sending a poem to a person every two weeks over ten weeks (June-August). Poems can be sent in envelopes or on postcards. Email me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com to join or for more information.

painting/logo courtesy of Elena Y

Here's Mister Linky!

Birds of America

I cannot write at all, but if I could how could I make a little book, when I have seen enough to make a dozen large books?
~John James Audubon

Images from John James Audubon's Birds of America today. Audubon saw such a rich assortment of birds, and he obviously took a close and thoughtful look.

White Gyrfalcons
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Purple Heron
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Brasilian Caracara Eagle
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Blue Crane or Heron
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Common Cormorant
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Canada Goose
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Barn Owl
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Baltimore Oriole
by John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Time to play

Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.
~Stuart Brown

Playing around for Wellness Wednesday:

A joyful kindergarten:

10 suggestions for adult playtime

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cruising in belatedly

...There are spiders whose bite can cause the place bitten to rot and to die, sometimes more than a year after it was bitten. As to why spiders do this, the answer is simple. It's because spiders think this is funny, and they don't want you ever to forget them.
~Neil Gaiman

I'm running late but it's still Monday! We have an unusual selection today. Spiders, Legos, and cartoons:

Electroarachnid Soda Pop from Jason Ward Studios:


Thursday, April 13, 2017

9-Step Routine for Writers

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
~Ernest Hemingway

So, I'm writing form poems for kids during National Poetry Month, and I think I messed up already. I was inspired by Bridget's sequence poem last week to give that type a try. After I finished, I realized it wasn't really a form. Or is it? Feel free to tell me it is.
Sylvia and Janet's sequence poem prompt: Write a poem with a very strong sequence or time order. You could feature the hours of the day, days of the week, or months of the year - or have a completely different focus, like steps in "how to" do something or driving directions or a slice of history.

9-Step Routine for Writers
By Tabatha Yeatts

Step 1:
 blank page, rant and rage
Step 2:
 step away, play all day
Step 3:
 think about it, scribble out it
Step 4:
 undock, take a walk
Step 5:
 look it over, a little slower
Step 6:
 mark with your pen, time and again
Step 7:
 move lines around, see how they sound
Step 8:
 ask someone to read, fix parts that mislead
Step 9:
 share with a friend, savor "the end."


Addendum: One reason I was happy to do a sequence poem on this topic is that it seems many folks -- kids AND adults -- think that the whole process is just Step 3!

Dori Reads has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Dori!

Electronic Art

There are 10 types of people in this world.
One who knows binary and one who doesn't.

My husband and I have birthdays a month apart (March and April). I requested a garden theme (my usual), and for his, Ben chose electronics. We used black and grey decorations and had little vacuum tubes on the table, among other things. Nontraditional, but why not? That's what got me thinking about spotlighting electronic art today. I wonder if I appreciate their aesthetics more because I don't know what they do. For some people, knowing what they are used for could make them seem more beautiful.

photo by David Lenker

Digital DNA, City of Palo Alto
photo by Wonderlane

Electric Perspective
photo by Tau Zero

DSC_8345-Hot Monitoring
photo by Dieter R

Computer Motherboard Tracks
photo by Creativity103

photo by Andrew Cavell

Circuit Board Bonsai 1
by Laura C. Hewitt

Bonus song!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


That over these sea pastures, wide rolling watery prairies, and Potters' Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like some slumberers in their beds; the ever rolling waves but made so by the restlessness.
~Herman Melville

For Wellness Wednesday, we have an Australian coal miner (colorblind!) who, after a serious knee injury, reinvented himself into a photography career. Ray Collins had a lengthy rehab, some of which was spent in the water, and he decided to take a chance on buying an expensive underwater camera. You can see what a good choice that was. Ray Collins:

Strategies to deal with major life changes

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sweaty Matches

Come on now
hear me out
~Nathaniel Rateliff

Chillin' this Monday morning:

Hat tip to Bonnie Boo for letting me know about these bands!

Friday, April 7, 2017


It was all kind of fuzzy, as if his mind was doing its thinking in limericks.
~Sorin Suciu

Hi folks! When I referenced working on National Poetry Month stuff a while back, I fear I got some hopes up that I was working on a big project. Actually, I was working on various things for my daughter's high school (Poetry in the Halls, poem videos in the morning) and also poems to go with a local art exhibit.

Next month, I may share songs with particularly poetic lyrics (feel free to send me suggestions). This month, I'm writing form poems for kids. First up, an acrostic and a limerick. I wish I could whip up an illustration to go with the limerick!

Light saber photo by Nils

In a galaxy far far away,
kids play calamitous games of croquet --
when they hit the balls,
the balls split and fall --
light saber mallets are no way to play!


photo by John Drake

SMART, an acrostic



I was thinking about this kind of mistake when I wrote SMART. Yes, I am all about mistakes, as you know. More about that later.

Live Your Poem has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Irene!

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Colombians don’t say that they’re “friends”…they say that they’re “like fingernails and dirt.” (Son como uña y mugre)
~Giampaolo Bianchi

Decided to focus on art from Colombia this week.

La Chaquira, San Augustin, Colombia
photo by Alexander Schimmeck

Prometeo, Ciencia, Futuro y Libertad
by Salvador Arango
photo by Beatriz Oquendo

Statue by Fernando Botero, Botero Plaza, Medellin, Colombia
photo by Niek van Son

On the shore of the Atrato, Bellavista, El Chocó, Colombia
Steve Cagan

Street Art of Bogota
photo by Jack Zalium

Street Art of Bogota
photo by Jack Zalium

Graffiti, Santa Marta Colombia
photo by Alexander Schimmeck

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Emergency Self-Care Kits

Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.
~Parker J. Palmer

Wellness Wednesday always kind of stumps me, because it seems like wellness is so very personal that I don't know what I can say that will apply across the board. So I chase my tail, trying to figure out what to share. Of course, since we can always customize our wellness care, I should stop worrying so much... :-)

This week, I am thinking about (personalized) emergency self-care kits.

When I get stressed, I tend to try to change my breathing, maybe give myself a hand massage, and visualize letting go of my tension. None of those things are ones I need to "carry," which is handy because I have them with me all the time.

As far as tangible items, I would say Trader Joe's gingermints, Library of Flowers hand cream, lavender essential oil (the person in the video and I have that in common), and this facial massage doodad are probably four of my favorites. What would you put in your kit?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Stay colorful

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.
~Earl Nightingale

I was moved by this video, which made me think of my friend Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and her feelings about supporting kids:

Monday, April 3, 2017

This Mess Won't Make Itself

[Dead Seem Old] recorded the debut single ‘They Won’t Find Us’ ... with the agreement that if any sound in the song didn’t sound like either Grimm Fairytales or 60′s surf, it wouldn’t go in the song.

For Music Monday, we have a catchy song with a great title and terrific visuals. It makes me think of Halloween...there's a layer of spookiness.

This Mess Won't Make Itself

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Line 2 of the Progressive Poem

Spring is the time of plans and projects.
~Leo Tolstoy

Happy (Inter)National Poetry Month! Time for Irene Latham's 2017 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem. Thanks, Irene and Heidi!

#1, Heidi's line:

I'm fidget, friction, ragged edges--

When I thought about where to go with the second line, I thought it was too soon to rhyme, so I focused on continuing with nine syllables, giving a nod to spring, and opening up the narrative possibilities! Shout out to the CKs (Chris, Krista, and Katherine) for letting me bounce ideas and lines off them. You are awesome!

Without further ado, here's line two:

I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle

So far we have

I'm fidget, friction, ragged edges--
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle

On to line three from Dori! Onward and upward, y'all!


1 Heidi at my juicy little universe
2 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
5 Diane at Random Noodling
6 Kat at Kat's Whiskers
7 Irene at Live Your Poem
8 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
9 Linda at TeacherDance
10 Penny at blog-a- penny-and- her-jots
11 Ramona at Pleasures from the Page
12 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
13 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
14 Jan at Bookseedstudio
15 Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales
16 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy
17 Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect
18 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
19 Pat at Writer on a Horse
20 BJ at Blue Window
21 Donna at Mainely Write
22 Jone at Jone Ruch MacCulloch
23 Ruth at There's No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
28 Michelle at Michelle Kogan
29 Charles at Poetry Time
30 Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids

Jama Rattigan has a list of more (Inter)National Poetry Month goings-on. Check it out!