Wednesday, February 28, 2018


A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.
~Madeleine L’Engle

Laughter really IS the best medicine, right? Of course, what makes each person laugh is such a personal thing, for sure. A sampling of things that made me laugh within the past day include Stephen Colbert, Wanda Sykes, Joe Lycett, cat gifs, my sixteen-year-old, myself, my dog, and Cyclops Road by Jeff Strand.

I shared this video a few years ago, but thought I'd bring it back for the occasion:

Monday, February 26, 2018

Rode hard and put up wet

I've been knocked down, drug out and left for dead
Barely held together by a few old threads
And I'm still here
~Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke for Music Monday. The lyrics may be bleak, but it's a pretty cheerful song for all that...

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Here lies clever Trevor;
Truth was not his friend.
He lied until the end;
Now, he’ll lie forever.
~Esther Spurrill Jones

I've really been enjoying the epitaphs Michelle has been collecting this month at Today's Little Ditty. I wrote one for the occasion...not funny like most, but certainly heartfelt.

Epitaph for Apathy

In days gone by, I'd assume
our leadership was largely true...
but now I follow and I fume--
my trust has been entombed.


Elizabeth Steinglass has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Liz!

Addendum: My birthday is coming up (March 6), and if anyone (who lives in the U.S.) wants to sign up for the Let America Vote email list or follow them on Twitter or Facebook in honor of my b'day, I would love it. Preserving the right to vote is basic and crucial.

Looking up

Did you know...that around the tenth of August, any year, you can look up in the sky at night and see dozens and dozens of shooting stars?
~Elizabeth Enright

Just one painting today. Shooting Stars by Franz Ritter von Stuck:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


We should give as we would receive: cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.

Random Acts of Kindness Day was February 17th, which I didn't know when I picked this topic for Wellness Wednesday. I picked it because I was feeling down the other day and thought doing something nice for somebody else would pick me up. It's a mood lifter, don't you think? Win-win.

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.
~Princess Diana

"Acts of Kindness" suggestion lists are plentiful. Here are a few from Random Acts of

* Let someone go in front of you in line who only has a few items.
* Give away stuff for free on Craig’s List.
* Compliment the first three people you talk to today.
* Send a positive text message to five different people right now.
* Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
* Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats!
* Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for coworker or connection.
* Leave quarters at the laundromat.
* Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
* Smile at five strangers.

26 Acts of Kindness (one for every student who was killed at Newtown)

From an old post of mine:
Foo Foo and Sugar

* Downloadable Random Acts of Kindness bookmarks
* Random Acts of also has School Activity Ideas
* Help has a long list of idea links.
* Gives Me Hope has a random acts of kindness page.
* Pay It Forward Experience will have a SKYPE call with your school or group.
* Free compliments
* The Web is a Random Act of Kindness, a TED talk video.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Marian Hill

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.
~Dame Edith Sitwell

The duo from Philadelphia known as "Marian Hill" is Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd (nobody named Marian!).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sweet, brave Poetry

As long as I live I shall always be My Self - and no other, Just me.
~Walter de la Mare

Sharing two poems by Walter de la Mare this week, including a science-related one. No chemistry, though :-)

The Happy Encounter
By Walter De La Mare

I saw sweet Poetry turn troubled eyes
On shaggy Science nosing in the grass,
For by that way poor Poetry must pass
On her long pilgrimage to Paradise.
He snuffled, grunted, squealed; perplexed by flies,
Parched, weatherworn, and near of sight, alas,
From peering close where very little was
In dens secluded from the open skies.

But Poetry in bravery went down,
And called his name, soft, clear, and fearlessly;
Stooped low, and stroked his muzzle overgrown;
Refreshed his drought with dew; wiped pure and free
His eyes: and lo! laughed loud for joy to see
In those grey deeps the azure of her own.


All But Blind
By Walter De La Mare

All but blind
In his chambered hole
Gropes for worms
The four-clawed Mole.

All but blind
In the evening sky
The hooded Bat
Twirls softly by.

All but blind
In the burning day
The Barn-Owl blunders
On her way.

And blind as are
These three to me,
So, blind to Some-one
I must be.


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

Tree of Life

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
~Chinese Proverb

Today for Art Thursday, we have the Tree of Life, a common element in many religions and philosophies, embodying the idea that all life is connected.

Cosmic Tree
Hildegard von Bingen

Painting of life tree, Shaki Khan palace, Azerbaijan National Art Museum, Usta Gambar Garabagi
photo by Urek Meniashvili

Tree of life
by Tibor Rieger, Hungary

Tree of Life Mosaic

Night show of the Tree of Life

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Write Yourself a Love Letter

When you pass'd my window home yesterday, I was fill'd with as much admiration as if I had then seen you for the first time...Even if you did not love me I could not help an entire devotion to you.
~John Keats

I like this one for the title, for the clever way to convey love letters, for the architecture, for the narrative that we are only privy to a moment of...

The Intercepted Love Letter
by Carl Spitzweg

If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.
~Charles Bukowski

And now, for writing love letters to yourself!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Salio's Song

People who had never been there, and who possibly never could go there, spoke of Georgia with a kind of longing and a great admiration.
~John Steinbeck, A Russian Journal

Today, we're visiting the country Georgia for a charming love song:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

One Salt

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
~C.G. Jung

In honor of Valentine's Day approaching, we have a poem that makes me smile. Who doesn't smile at an ardent lover, who wishes he and his love could combine to become various types of salt? He just wants to spend eternity amalgamated with her, is all. (They say that the poet was unknown, but it seems like he leaves a pretty good clue at the end, if you knew any poet-chemists named Johnson who married a Briggs...)

The Chemist To His Love
By Unknown, 1843

I love thee, Mary, and thou lovest me,
Our mutual flame is like th' affinity
That doth exist between two simple bodies:
I am Potassium to thine Oxygen.
'Tis little that the holy marriage vow
Shall shortly make us one. That unity
Is, after all, but metaphysical.
Oh, would that I, my Mary, were an acid,
A living acid; thou an alkali
Endow'd with human sense, that, brought together,
We both might coalesce into one salt,
One homogeneous crystal. Oh, that thou
Wert Carbon, and myself were Hydrogen;
We would unite to form olefiant gas,
Or common coal, or naphtha, would to heaven
That I were Phosphorus, and thou wert Lime!
And we of Lime composed a Phosphuret.
I'd be content to be Sulphuric Acid,
So that thou might be Soda. In that case
We should be Glauber's Salt. Wert thou Magnesia
Instead we'd form the salt that's named from Epsom.
Couldst thou Potassa be, I Aqua-fortis,
Our happy union should that compound form,
Nitrate of Potash--otherwise Saltpetre.
And thus our several natures sweetly blent,
We'd live and love together, until death
Should decompose the fleshly tertium quid,
Leaving our souls to all eternity
Amalgamated. Sweet, thy name is Briggs
And mine is Johnson. Wherefore should not we
Agree to form a Johnsonate of Briggs?


Sally Murphy has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Sally!

Doing a little hand holding

Nothing, I learned, brings you into the present quite like holding hands. The past seemed irrelevant; the future, unnecessary.
~Catherine Lowell

Der ParnaƟ, Detail
By Andrea Mantegna

Angels holding hands
photo by Richard Croft

Two Lovers
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Local children hold hands during a peace ceremony, remembering and celebrating the 67th Anniversary of the D-Day operations
photo by Staff Sgt. Felix Fimbres

Couldn't leave this out:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The S Word

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.

I received a press release about this movie. The goals of its makers are to:
Raise awareness about suicide prevention and resources, including alternatives that reach outside the box.

Expand the conversation about suicide to include everybody, because we have all been touched by it in some way.

Talk openly about suicide without judgement, shame or discrimination.

To get people to think about suicide in a completely different way – highlighting the complexity, pain and even humor of our survivors.

Change the world. (Okay we know one film can’t change the world but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.)

THE S WORD - Official Trailer from Douglas Blush on Vimeo.

Resources (hotlines, organizations, books)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Color Our Collections Week

Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines -- it's hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.
~Robin Sloan

Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people - people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.
~E.B. White

This week, libraries are offering coloring pages of their collections -- so cool!

Visit Color Our Collections

Monday, February 5, 2018

Good Rockin'

I don't know how music works, I'm just glad that it does.
~Lou Brutus

These song titles look similar (with the added confusion of Good Rockin' Charles' name thrown in), but they are different.

Good Rockin' Charles with "Rockin' At Midnight":

Robert Plant's The Honeydrippers with "Good Rockin' At Midnight":

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Dove

There is only one page left to write on. I will fill it with words of only one syllable. I love. I have loved. I will love.
~Audrey Niffenegger

Dove by Tim Green

The Dove
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Out of the sunshine and out of the heat,
Out of the dust of the grimy street,
A song fluttered down in the form of a dove,
And it bore me a message, the one word—Love!

Ah, I was toiling, and oh, I was sad:
I had forgotten the way to be glad.
Now, smiles for my sadness and for my toil, rest
Since the dove fluttered down to its home in my breast!


Have you heard about having a Poetry Escape Room? Sounds like something students would really enjoy! Here are more escape room ideas.

Mainely Write has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Donna!

Hoeve in het dal

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.
~Ruth Stout

Just one painting today. I'm charmed by this farm in winter:

Farm in the Valley
by Valerius de Saedeleer