Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The body's bank account

Rare disease patients often refer to themselves as “zebras” due to the often referenced quote in medical circles “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” That is true, but remember – there are many zebras out there, too, and we depend on physicians’ willingness to learn and partner with us to find diagnoses, treatments, and hopefully eventually cures for our rare diseases.
~Anna Hull

I talked before about the spoon theory of chronic illness. Today, I'm talking about another way to describe the difficulty of dealing with symptoms on a daily basis. This was written specifically about mast cell activation disorder, but I'll bet could work for lupus, chronic migraines, and other illnesses that fluctuate. It could also describe emotional energy that people use in a day.

Scientist and mast cell patient Lisa Klimas explains:
The problem is not just that I’m allergic to some foods. It’s that I’m not always allergic to the same foods as I was the day before. Or the same medications. Or the same environmental exposures. My reactions on a given day are the cumulative product of the amount of irritation my mast cells have experienced in the previous day or two. There is always a running tally in my mind...

For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you have $100 in a bank account. Any activity that can cause mast cell activation has to be paid for. The cost is proportionate to the amount of activation. Getting a splinter: $2. Being hot: $10. Being in direct sunlight: $10. Standing up for 20 minutes while being hot in direct sunlight: $35. Cardiovascular exercise: $40. Arguing with your spouse: $60. Moderate pain experienced in your day to day life: $50. A painful medical procedure: $70. Mild cold: $40.

...You can make deposits into the bank with medications and physical changes. Getting enough sleep: $30. Wearing loose, comfortable clothes: $15. Doing orthostatic manuevers before standing up: $10. Taking baseline mast cell medications on your normal schedule: $50. Eating food that is warm but not hot: $15. Monitoring your exercise and stopping for breaks: $15. Wearing a cooling vest on a hot day: $20. Oral Benadryl: $25. IV Benadryl: $50. Steroids: $50.

So you have this running tally in your head all day long. When you start getting close to $100, you get stressed. You know you can’t afford to spend more than $100. Things that you could have done four hours ago safely are no longer safe. Things you could eat on a day spent relaxing at home inside with comfortable ambient temperature cannot be eaten if your apartment is too hot or if you are in a lot of pain.
She says that people who see her on different days, see her being able to eat different things and sometimes give her trouble for it, as if she's faking. As Lisa says, "WHO DOES THAT?"

"Cost for being around someone who gives you s*** for not always having the same restrictions: $75."

A zebra bracelet for people with rare diseases

Monday, October 22, 2018

Back into orbit

I realize that humor isn't for everyone. It's only for people who want to have fun, enjoy life, and feel alive.
~Anne Wilson Schaef

For Music Monday, something by half•alive that makes me laugh. Hats off to the those vintage jackets in the latter part of the video:

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Creating Short Fiction

One of the great rewards of a writer's life is that it lets you read all the books you want to without feeling guilty.
~Damon Knight

Wanted to let you know about a book I just finished: Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight. If you are interested in writing short stories, get your hands on this! So much good advice, plus exercises.

Thursday, October 18, 2018


In string theory, all particles are vibrations on a tiny rubber band; physics is the harmonies on the string; chemistry is the melodies we play on vibrating strings; the universe is a symphony of strings, and the 'Mind of God' is cosmic music resonating in 11-dimensional hyperspace.
~Michio Kaku

Connective strings today.

photo by michael davis-burchat

String Theory Relationships
by Kelli Russell Agodon

The essential idea is this — the man you love is connected to you

no matter what, but he’s also connected to the woman

     down the street with the small dog that barks at the lilacs,

      and she’s connected to the cashier at the market who’s a bit rough

with your grapes, but he thinks you’re ten years younger than you are

and he gives you free saltwater taffy and calls you

      darling — but he also calls her darling, and her dog

      darling, and the man you love along with the grapes.

The essential idea is this — all objects are composed of vibrating anxieties

— everyone wants a window or aisle seat and no one wants to sit...

read the rest here


photo by Alexander Baxevanis

A short poem from Alicia Ostriker:

The secret shape of this book is a parachute
all the lines leading to the person hanging there

drifting on the wind and always falling
waiting for the mists to clear


[Thought that would be a good prompt -- "The secret shape of ________ is a ___________"]

Friendly Fairy Tales has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Brenda!

If you'd like to join the Winter Poem Swap and you haven't yet, email tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com.

Chahakobi ningyō

How curious it must have seemed that these craftsmen, witnessing the wonders of the Western mechanical clock, should take the same mechanism used to create such a creature of utility, and fashion from it instead a tea-serving doll.
~Chris Field, Tales from a Tea-Carrying Doll

Today we're looking at a type of karakuri (automated doll) called chahakobi ningyō (bearers of tea). They walk forward until the tea cup is removed, then, after the tea cup is put back, they return to their starting point. A chahakobi ningyō can take a year to make!

A chahakobi ningyō in action:

Karakuri, circa 1800
photo by PHGCOM

Tea-carrying doll by Shobei Tamaya, replica from book published in 1796
photo by Daderot

Other tea posts

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

An Invitation to the Arts

The arts empower. The arts give a voice to the voiceless. The arts help transform American communities and, as I often say, the result can be a better child, a better town, a better nation and certainly a better world. Let’s champion our arts action heroes, emulate them and make our communities everything we want them to be.
~Robert L. Lynch

A guest article by Lillian Brooks today focusing on helping children with learning difficulties be excited about the arts. Take it away, Lillian!

Getting Children With Learning Difficulties Excited About the Arts

For children with learning difficulties, the arts can be like brain training and therapy all rolled into one. The list of benefits is a long one: better language skills, improved problem-solving abilities, more confidence, reduced stress, and more friendships, to name but a few. OK, so you’re sold on the idea. Now, how do you get your child interested, too? Here are a few different approaches you can take.

Set Up a Hobby Room

Visual arts, like painting, drawing, and sculpture, are very beneficial to children with learning disabilities. As PBS Parents discusses, visual arts help kids to process concepts that they struggle to express in language, and help them develop their creativity. However, a big concern you might have is the mess making art can create. The solution is to set up a hobby room. Cover surfaces and the floor with sheets or plastic mats, and let your kids create without worrying about the mess they will make. If you don’t have a whole room to spare, you could set aside a corner of one room to use, and keep sheets and mats stored away when not in use.

Have Sew Much Fun

Are you short on space for a hobby area—and short on patience for messes? Don’t worry. Your child can still participate in visual arts with nothing more than a needle and thread! Weaving has been shown to be particularly soothing for children with ADHD, but no matter your child’s abilities, creating basic sewing projects, such as adding buttons to garments and making pillowcases, can be a calming, mess-free activity. If your child has sensory issues, be sure to let them pick their own fabric and other materials. Many children with learning differences prefer soft fabrics over rough, scratchy cloth, so take a field trip to the craft store to let your little one find their favorite material to stitch into something beautiful.

Buy a Musical Instrument

Many children with learning disabilities thrive in the field of music, due to it being a nonverbal communication method. It is also superb for brain development because not only does it sharpen their auditory skills, it also helps develop hand-eye coordination, while the pattern recognition developed from interpreting sheet music carries over to reading skills. It’s no wonder, then, that music can have benefits for children with learning disabilities, including reduced aggression, better communication skills, and improved psychological well-being.

Start by asking your child what instruments they might be interested in, and take them to a few trial lessons to see how they get on. Many clubs give you the first lesson free to see how your child takes to it. If they like it, get them an instrument of their own to practice with.

Take Them to a Dance Class

Dance can help children to develop their motor skills and coordination, and it’s a great option for kids with excess energy. You can find dance classes that cater specifically to children with learning difficulties or with special needs in general. Such classes often have less of a technical focus and more of an expressive focus, encouraging kids to convey whatever they are feeling in that moment. This Huffington Post article describes what these classes are like. Alternatively, you could take your child to a conventional class, which will focus more on things like technique, accuracy, and precision. Classes like this are great for building memory due to the complex steps that kids must remember, and they often come with a chance to perform on stage.

Go to Performances and Exhibitions

You might be able to inspire the desire to create art in your children by taking them to see some great art or performances. Most galleries have free exhibitions at various times of the year, or you could take them to see a live performance by a dance troupe or a band. Try to find something that’s age appropriate for your child or that they have an interest in. Six-year-olds might not appreciate the nuances of “Swan Lake,” but they may love a contemporary street dance performance. Likewise, many children get interested in drawing by copying comic book art featuring their favorite superheroes.

Get your child involved by asking them about things they’d like to do, but remember that they won’t know what they like until they try it. Be prepared to spring a few new ideas on them—at the very least, it will be an interesting new experience for them. If you’re persistent and willing to experiment, you’ll soon find something that they like.

Photo: Pixabay

Monday, October 15, 2018

It Runs Through Me

She told me that the groove is mine
It will take us through the night
And where I’ll go
Can’t explain I’ll never know
But it’s beautiful
~Tom Misch

Feeling good this Monday morning with Tom Misch feat. De La Soul:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A day becomes a story

Listen to the foam of my voice and I will pour it for you,
all the tiny stories in one intoxicating stream,
catching each other’s sparkle,
now, before the taste disappears.
~Lesley Wheeler

Seagull Egg by Sonse

A poem by Lesley Wheeler today.

Inland Song
by Lesley Wheeler

In some kind houses the doors
never quite shut. Every table
hosts a bowl of eggs—wooden ones
or striped stone, cool to touch.

What could grow in an egg like that?
A day becomes a story becomes a bird,
a lost seagull who shrinks each time
I describe him. Watch him fold

his filigree wings, crawl into
the shell. His song wasn't much,
but he tries to swallow it,
as if he can retreat...

read the rest here


Writing the World for Kids has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Laura!


When I was at school, I used to end every school day with fountain pen ink all over my hands and face and down my shirt.
~Edgar Wright

Celebrating a month of ink today. Inktober, invented by Jake Parker, doesn't have a lot of rules. Just four, in fact:

There is something magical in seeing what you can do, what texture and tone and colour you can produce merely with a pen point and a bottle of ink.
~Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

For instance:

by Juan Romero

by Roy Blumenthal

Inktober on Instagram
The 2018 prompts
Inktober Art by Poetry Friday friend Michelle Kogan

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


...One has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself.
~Jessye Norman

There's so much going on these days that it's hard to balance paying attention with keeping relaxed. Only YOU know what the right balance is for you!

If you're worrying that the country is like a frog getting slowly boiled and you feel obliged to keep an eye on the hands turning up the heat, check out Amy Siskind's The Weekly List. (Also, here are Tips to Protect your Voter Registration and Vote against Hacking and Glitches.)

If you've been watching the heat turning up and you need to take your mind off it, maybe give creative visualization with these free relaxation scripts a try.

You can also listen to creative visualizations, such as this 10-minute one:

And there's always's Josh Turner with Why Don't We Just Dance:

Monday, October 8, 2018


A bad neighbor is a misfortune, as much as a good one is a great blessing.

Neighborhood by Her, a French duo... "When the pair of them came up with the name, Her, they had already written around 30 songs, and realised that a recurring theme was femininity, but also love and women" (you can read the rest of the article here).

Sunday, October 7, 2018


When the first record came out, I'd go down to radio stations pretty much every day to get the record played, and I would walk in and they'd tell us how much they loved the record, but they weren't sure how much they could play it because they were already playing a girl.
~Pat Benatar

Maybe somebody else needs a pep talk from Queen Pat today?

Pat Benatar, Invincible:

Pat Benatar, Hit Me With Your Best Shot:

Did you notice that the Guardians of the Galaxy's ship is named Benatar?

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Welcome! Willkommen!

My son just finished applying to study abroad in Germany next semester, so we are thinking German around here. (He played for the German team last week in UMD's foreign language department soccer tournament. They had their own World Cup -- how cute is that?)

Today, we have a German poem about friendship.

"Ginkgo biloba" is a poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe for his friend Marianne von Willemer. He showed her the Ginkgo tree in the garden of Heidelberg Castle from which he took the two leaves pasted onto the poem. [Wikipedia]

Gingko biloba
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In my garden’s care and favour
From the East this tree’s leaf shows
Secret sense for us to savour
And uplifts the one who knows.

Is it but one being single
Which as same itself divides?
Are there two which choose to mingle
So that each as one now hides?

As the answer to such question
I have found a sense that’s true:
Is it not my songs’ suggestion
That I’m one and also two?

Translated by John Whaley
Read the original German or other translations here.


Are you interested in sending a poem and small gift to a Poetry friend? We've got a one-time swap coming up.

The deadline for signing up is November 2. Email me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com.


Please share your link here!

Sea Lilies and Feather Stars

Crinoid fossils naturally contain small holes...the fossilized segments became a staple in rosary beading, and are still heavily associated with St. Cuthbert.
~Cynthia Griffith

Marine animals called crinoids today. Crinoids attached to the sea bottom by a stalk are called sea lilies and unstalked crinoids are called feather stars.

Colorful crinoids at shallow waters of Gili Lawa Laut, Indonesia
photo by Alexander Vasenin

Proisocrinus ruberrimus, a Proisocrinidae
NOAA Photo Library

Two Crinoids
NOAA Photo Library

Crinoid on the reef of Batu Moncho Island (near Komodo, Indonesia)
photo by Alexander Vasenin

Feather Star Crinoid
NOAA Photo Library

A stalked crinoid
by Ernst Haeckel

Fossil crinoids in chalk
photo by James St. John

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Come Over Here

It's never the differences between people that surprise us. It's the things that, against all odds, we have in common.
~Jodi Picoult

Audiences from different countries, same fun.


More joy, but across space AND time rather than just space (it's from the 1800s):

from Pictures of Flowers and Birds
by Okamoto Shūki (Japan, 1807-1862)

Monday, October 1, 2018

More '80s

I wanted to be with you alone
And talk about the weather
~Tears for Fears

I needed some comfort music today, so it's throwback time!

Tears for Fears, Head over Heels:

Aztec Camera, Oblivious:

Talk Talk, Such a Shame:

As I was finishing this up, I thought of one more song. It doesn't go with the others, but I loved it at the same time, so dance a little closer, y'all:

Nanci Griffith, Love at the Five and Dime:

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dreams and Legends

The heart, I think, which is the home of all things rhythmic, is where learned poems go to live.
~Bill Richardson

A couple of poems used in Poetry Out Loud, the national recitation contest for students, today.

The Farmer
by W. D. Ehrhart

Each day I go into the fields
to see what is growing
and what remains to be done.
It is always the same thing: nothing
is growing, everything needs to be done.
Plow, harrow, disc, water, pray
till my bones ache and hands rub
blood-raw with honest labor—
all that grows is the slow

read the rest here

The Legend
By Garrett Hongo

In Chicago, it is snowing softly
and a man has just done his wash for the week.
He steps into the twilight of early evening,
carrying a wrinkled shopping bag
full of neatly folded clothes,
and, for a moment, enjoys
the feel of warm laundry and crinkled paper,
flannellike against his gloveless hands.
There’s a Rembrandt glow on his face,
a triangle of orange in the hollow of his cheek

read the rest here


Just between you and me, sometimes I have been disappointed by Poetry Out Loud judging. I'm not surprised that it is hard to find consistency and skill among the many judges at the various levels. I ran across that problem during the dozen years I coordinated Reflections at the school level. (I still feel bad about a judge I lined up who turned out to be a stinker!) Regardless, I love that kids are learning poems by heart for Poetry Out Loud. Reciting poems is a gift.


Deowriter has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!

Pietra dura

The ruby encloses the brilliant red of the clouds of evening.
~Charles Blanc

Pietra dura is an inlay technique using cut and fitted colored stones (often marble, semi-precious, and even precious stones) to make pictures. It was invented in Italy in the 1500s -- "pietra dura" literally means "hard stones."

Table with a parrot on a pear tree, Italy, 1700s

Prague Pietra dura picture with Saint Charles Borromeo

Roses over crossed canes, Florence 1882

Tomb of Jahangir, Pakistan

Saint Catharine of Siena Church, Ohio
photo by Nheyob

A contemporary marble table top, India, employing floral patterns of the Taj Mahal
photo by MyotisSI

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Never Too Late

I'm a late bloomer.
~Frank McCourt

To the extent I bloomed, I'm a late bloomer.
~Lloyd Blankfein
I'm such a late bloomer.
~Ang Lee

To put it mildly, I was just a very late bloomer.
~Harry Dean Stanton
I was definitely a late bloomer.
~Clay Matthews III

I've always been what they call a late bloomer.
~Bill Pullman
I'm a late bloomer.
~Mary Steenburgen

Really, I was such a late bloomer, I really didn't learn how to be me until I was in my late '40s, which is when I started playing roles that were closer to me.
~Ron Perlman
I've always been a late bloomer, so I never feel like, 'Oh, I'm gettin' older; I guess everything is gonna stop.' I'm the opposite: 'Oh, I'm just getting started.'
~Megan Mullally

photo by Joanne Clifford

Were you a late bloomer? You're in good company. Still waiting to bloom? It's not too late! What are you interested in doing?

No one becomes a late bloomer doing something they hate.
~J.M. Orend

* Sylvester Stallone was 30 when he wrote and starred in Rocky.
* Danny Aiello did not start acting until he was 40.
* Anton Bruckner did not become a composer until his forties.
* Actor Alan Rickman got first real break into theatre in his forties.
* Singer K. T. Oslin released her first album at age 47 which was a major country music success.
* Eugène Ehrhart started publishing in mathematics in his forties, and finished his PhD thesis at the age of 60.
* BAFTA winning British actress Liz Smith did not become a professional actress until the age of 50.
* Richard Adams's first novel, the bestseller Watership Down, was published when he was in his fifties.
* Charles Bukowski wrote his first novel at age 51.
* Caspar Wessel published his only mathematics paper at the age of 54.
* Indian (Bengali) actor Paran Bandopadhyay started his acting career at the age of 60.
* Colonel Sanders began his franchise in his sixties.
* Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first novel in the Little House series of children's books in her sixties.
* Roger Apéry proved Apéry's theorem at the age of 63.
* The first volume of Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy was published when she was 63.
* Grandma Moses' painting career began in her seventies.
* Manoel de Oliveira became a full-time filmmaker at the age of 73.
* At the age of 74, Norman Maclean published his first and only novel, best-seller A River Runs Through It.
* Marjory Stoneman Douglas founded "Friends of the Everglades" at age 78, and she continued until she was over age 100.
* Bill Traylor who started drawing at age 83.
* Carmen Herrera sold her first artwork when she was 89 years old.

It's never too late to get your act together. It's never too late to be your authentic self. It's never too late to try something new.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Classical Music Mashup

I try to decorate my imagination as much as I can.
~Franz Schubert

How did Grant Woolard combine 57 musical compositions into one pretty song? Amazing! (You can see a list of all 57 pieces and where to buy the sheet music here.)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cope is helping me cope

It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.
~Anne Lamott

Tabatha, you ask, when will you stop being angry at corrupt politicians? Verily, I say -- never! This week I was so spitting mad about Brett Kavanaugh that sometimes I woke up mad in the middle of the night. Dang it. Two poems:

Differences of Opinion
by Wendy Cope



He tells her that the earth is flat —
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.


When I Rise Up
by Georgia Douglas Johnson

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.

Black tern by USFWS Mountain-Prairie


The Water's Edge has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Erin!

Marianne von Werefkin

I adore my life: it is filled with so much true poetry, fine feelings, things many have no idea about. I despise my life, which, being rich, allowed itself to be crammed into the confines of conventions. Between these two opinions pulsates my soul always longing for beauty and good.
~Marianne von Werefkin

Today's artist was born Marianna Wladimirowna Werewkina on September 10, 1860 in what is currently Lithuania. In 1892, Marianne met someone who wanted to be her protégé and she ended up putting her own work on hold for nearly ten years to help him. When she got back into it, she created these vibrant works:

The Red Tree
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Ragpicker
by Marianne von Werefkin

After the Storm
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Way of the Cross II
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Beer Garden
by Marianne von Werefkin

The Night Shift
by Marianne von Werefkin

One last quote from Marianne, talking about looking at a painting in Berlin:

...Every day my soul sang in response to it stronger and stronger. I was very sick then, and that genius alone reconciled me to my life when there was so much suffering in it. Looking at his creation, at these lines, at these half-tones (remember that shadowed jaw against the background or the column against the dress), at all this charm of the art, at this grand style, I started to want to live again, to see it again and again, to live on by painting and perhaps by painting alone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Trajectory Altering

What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day, and altering the trajectory of our world.
~Glennon Doyle

Could you use hearing a nice story? Here's one about a teacher who is devoted to helping her students, unobtrusively.

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.
~G.K. Chesterton

(Guess we should pay teachers appropriately, eh?)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ukrainian Cello

The Unicorn Sonata ... tells us that our true home is often right around the corner, if we'd only open our eyes — and our ears — to find it.
~Peter S. Beagle

A lovely sonata from Ukrainian Cello for Music Monday:

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Hey, Suit Lady. I kind of feel bad calling you "Suit Lady," you know? I think I should probably give you a name...What about Karen?

Two Karens today! First, sharing poems Karen Edmisten sent me during the Summer Poem Swap. Thanks, Karen!

    We have never met
    yet our hearts know each other.
    Poetry Friday.

photo by Antti T. Nissinen

    Friends, like good coffee,
    revive me when the world has
    worn me down again.


One last poem from another Karen:

A Word Like Rat
by Karen Harryman

My Aunt Sandra—a large woman,
a holy woman, maybe you can see her—

quilted housecoat, just-washed auburn hair
past her waist when she tips her head, heavy

to the side, and pulls wet strands over one shoulder,
both hands working to brush and smooth.

read the rest here


The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!


I received from my experience in Japan an incredible sense of respect for the art of creating, not just the creative product.
~Julie Taymor

Japanese stencils (Katagami) today, used for dyeing fabric. You can see how they do it here:

Metropolitan Museum of Art
19th century

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Existence as love story

As much as I adore dogs, people are my favorite species. I know, what an aggravating, messed-up bunch. But still, my favorite, which is why this shirt from TourDeBookshop caught my eye:

I also like this one:

Some aphorisms by Yahia Lababidi from Where Epics Fail for Wellness Wednesday:

Don’t squander your boredom; dig deeper, treasures are buried there.

Silence is the great jeweler of words—certifying their authenticity and assessing their true worth.

The only real borders are those of our compassion.

You can’t bury pain and not expect it to grow roots.

As we make peace with ourselves, we become more tolerant of our faults—in others.

Think of existence as a great love story; every shy creature or timid truth wants to be courted.

Life is a time-release capsule, granting us only glimpses of ourselves at a time.

photo by Frank Carman

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thank you

If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.
~Robert A. Heinlein

On September 11, 2001, we were living in a new state and I was home with our ten-day-old baby. My parents had left; my husband was back at work. I'm a pretty emotional person, and when I learned about the plane crashes, I realized that I had to find a way to hear about the overwhelming news and still be functional as a mom.

I'm reminded of that because today we look back on the horror of those losses and the bravery of the heroes, and we also feel the tug of our current responsibilities. We are in the middle of a constitutional crisis and we have to keep from being overwhelmed. We all need to VOTE. Our democracy needs us.

So I'd like to say thank you to all the people who stepped up on September 11, 2001 and to all the people who will step up this fall. What you do matters.

9/11 Health Watch
Past September 11th posts
Helplessness Management

Monday, September 10, 2018

Can you come through?

Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.
~Dave Willis

A song by Jeremy Zucker for Music Monday:

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Glowing for a while

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.
~Laurie Colwin

Three poems today, all about "ordinary" things: food, laundry, a doctor's check-up. This first one is also kind of a "Where I'm From" poem:

A Mediocre Vegetarian Remembers the Pleasures of Slow Cooker Ownership from Her Childhood
by Erin Renee Wahl

It is good to have a slow
cooker in the house.
I know my mother best,

throwing concoctions together
quickly in the early mornings
before yellow buses and goodbye

read the rest here


A couple of poems by Jim Richards:

by Jim Richards

What we owned was piled on the bed
and warmed the room with the smell
of bodies, bleach, and dryer sheets.
You, on one side, folded the colors
and I, on the other, the whites. Between us,
years, children, holes in the knees, stains.

read the rest here


I love the ending on this one :-)

by Jim Richards

When you check me, look deep.
I lost something in all that darkness.
When you examine my ears
fine tune the small bones for music.

read the rest here


Bonus links and catch-up: Michelle Kogan has a post about IMPERFECT. Last week, Brenda Davis Harsham had a post about IMPERFECT. The week before that, Diane shared a poem I wrote about Vincent Lunardi's cat.

Beyond Literacy Link has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Hilma af Klint

In her will, Hilma af Klint left all her abstract paintings to her nephew, vice-admiral in the Swedish Royal Navy. She specified that her work should be kept secret for at least 20 years after her death.
~from her Wikipedia page

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) for Art Thursday.

by Hilma af Klint

What a Human Being Is
by Hilma af Klint

The Ten Largest
by Hilma af Klint

The Swan
by Hilma af Klint
Photo: Albin Dahlström/ Moderna Museet

Self Portrait
by Hilma af Klint