Saturday, June 30, 2018

Dulces Sueños

Well, putting words on paper isn't your job. Your job is to go digging around in your soul.
~Radney Foster

Remember that time I posted two songs by Radney Foster? No? It's here. Today I have another song by him. Proceeds go to RAICES Texas (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services).

Foster says: “Watching children being forcibly taken from their parents, solely because they crossed a border is antithetical to everything I believe. My conscious tells me it’s wrong, my faith tells me that’s wrong and the values I was taught at the dinner table tell me it’s wrong.”

He also says: “My hope in rewriting “Godspeed” was that people might lose their preconceptions about these families and look at them as human beings who should be treated with dignity, mercy and grace.”

Proceeds from “Godspeed (Dulces Sueños)” will go to RAICES Texas. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services serves immigrants and refugees in our community by providing immigration-related legal services, advocacy and opportunities for educational and social support. They believe that by actively promoting the well-being and informed participation of immigrants and refugees in the community, everyone benefits.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

More than flowers

Basil, thyme, coriander, and broad leaf parsley grew in billowing clouds of green; the smell so fresh your mouth watered and you began to plan the next meal.
~ Ellen Herrick

The Herb Garden - Castle Acre Priory, Norfolk
photo by Glen Bowman

I turned a quote by Henry Beston into a found poem for Poetry Friday. It made me think about how everyone, no matter their appearance, is more than what you see.

by Henry Beston

A garden of herbs
is a garden of things
loved for themselves
in their wholeness
and integrity.

It is not
a garden of flowers,
but a garden of plants
which are sometimes
very lovely flowers
and are always
more than flowers.


I'm going to be having a little herb tasting week for my family in July, using recipes from Rosalee De La Forêt's Taste of Herbs exercise collection. (If you are interested, I would check out her Alchemy of Herbs book which I think has similar recipes but isn't part of a larger class. Also here's a video of her making an elderberry recipe from Taste of Herbs.)

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

P.S. Diane shared a quote from my dad's book Wider Thoughts on the Team IMPERFECT blog yesterday.


If one perceives of it all – the entire War or even life as a whole – as a scene in the theater of 'infinity', many things are much easier to bear.
~Max Beckmann, 1884–1950

I enjoyed spending a little time at the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM) this week. While obviously I do like looking at art online, there is something special about being in the same room with a compelling painting. SLAM has "Stairway at Auvers" by Van Gogh, which fairly vibrates in person (link below).

I thought Max Beckmann's work was fascinating. His "Titanic" reminded me of refugees. There's a certain desperation that both groups have in common. I'm including another painting from SLAM below, and a bunch of links to other favorites that I saw there.

by Max Beckmann

by Pablo Picasso

Max Beckmann's Harbor of Genoa

Interior with Young Woman Tracing a Flower by Louise-Adéone Drölling

The Louvre, Morning, Sunlight by Camille Pissarro

Madame Roulin by Paul Gauguin

Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion by John Martin

Singer with a White Plume by Georges Rouault

Stairway at Auvers by Vincent van Gogh

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Traveling While Chronically Ill

Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.
~Neil Gaiman

A guest post for Wellness Wednesday by my friend Tanita Davis:

photo by Tanita Davis

Milady of Maladies: Traveling

It’s officially summertime in the Northern Hemisphere, and the tradition of so many in the Americas is to pack up and hie off to parts cooler whilst a great heat settles onto our green and formerly pleasant land. This is a great plan if you have a.) time, b.) means, and c.) the wherewithal to get out of bed once you get there.

I don’t always have that last one. Since November I’ve been trying to understand what my diagnosis of scleromyositis, a so-called “overlap syndrome” autoimmune disorder, was going to mean for my life. It’s been a challenge, over the last eight months learning to eat well, sleep well, and live well with a body that, with varying degrees of hostility, seemed to fight my efforts. This month, I had the opportunity to discover what it was like traveling with an autoimmune.

I was determined that since we’d finally scraped up the money for a trip that I wasn’t going to be a problem when Tech Boy and I went to the medieval city of Delft, The Netherlands, this past May. (It was an amazing trip, and for some commentary, check out a few of our rather blather-y blog posts, including the unexpected eight-and-a-half-hour layover on our trip home.) We took precautions – I upped my walking time gradually over the weeks before we left, to get into condition. We paid out a little extra for the flight, and sat in an Emergency Exit row, because the additional leg room was crucial not only for Tech Boy’s lanky limbs but for my often swollen and aching hip, knee, and ankle joints. (However! I was still confident I could wrench up that door and help people to safety. I wouldn’t have been in that row without that confidence.) We packed my meds in my carryon, and we packed our own plane food. We also chose to rent an apartment for our time in the Netherlands, because though there’s no particular diet that’s going to “cure” an autoimmune disorder, we’ve found I’m generally healthier when I’m in charge of my own nutrition.

For the most part, things were good. The newness of castles and canals kept me going for a while, even with the unseasonable heat in Europe at the end of May, I managed to get around to see and do almost everything I wanted to. However, I made a few mistakes – one was forgetting a huge sun hat. Many autoimmune disorders come with rashes and skin conditions which are exacerbated by sun exposure – don’t forget your hat, or even an umbrella/parasol thing.

Another mistake I made was not scheduling in down time, preferring to run until my engine was running on fumes... and that isn’t something I’d do again.

Schedule rest. Schedule rest days. It’s much wiser to acknowledge that you do need accommodation, you will need downtime, and that there’s nothing wrong with it. This will prevent you feeling guilty for “wasting” time sitting or lying down and “trapping” everyone into having to slow to your schedule. Scheduling days where you and your family do separate things is the best idea. Or, better yet, scheduling daily downtime where you literally put your feet up for two or three hours is a much better option than driving yourself ‘til your tires go flat.

And, of course, for that downtime? Yeah, yeah, we all have our phones and our movies, but don’t forget your books!

Books which are immersive and bring new worlds to life are some of the best options for travel – whether you’re having downtime, or in need of a mental vacation. Here are a few of my favorites immersive travel books in the fantasy genre. I hope you get a chance to read some of these books which describe faraway places, beautiful (and slightly chaotic) scenery, and immersive, subversive social mores:

THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison
PALADIN OF SOULS, Lois McMaster Bujold

Happy Travels, Friends!


Addendum from Tabatha...

* Tips for Traveling with a Chronic Illness
* Traveling with IBS
* Tips for Being Prepared When Lupus Follows You on Vacation

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quiet friend

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke today...I posted one of his Orpheus poems before (Orpheus links below). This sonnet may be about an ancient myth, but it resonates today.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.


Previous Rilke Orpheus post
Orpheus with his lute

Becky Herzog is sharing a sloth poem I wrote her for the Summer Poem Swap.
Michelle Kogan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!

Maria Yakunchikova

Yakunchikova is not only a great poet but also a great master. In Russia she is still insufficiently appreciated, and yet there are few contemporary artists - not only here, but also in the West - who wield such a fresh, noble palette, with such broad and vigorous skill.
~Alexandre Benois, 1901

Art today by Maria Vasilievna Yakunchikova-Weber, who only lived from 1870-1902. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis in the late 1880s, but she was able to carry on until after the birth of her second son in April 1901, from which she never recovered.

Reflection of an intimate world
by Maria Yakunchikova

View from the Belfry of the Savino-Storoshevsky Cathedral, close to Svenigorod
by Maria Yakunchikova

Stairs to the street
by Maria Yakunchikova

The Terrace
by Maria Yakunchikova - 1899

City view
by Maria Yakunchikova

Sleigh and village in winter
by Maria Yakunchikova

Tea time
by Maria Yakunchikova

Fear 1893-95
Maria Yakunchikova

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Risky business

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill

Sharing posts from Team IMPERFECT this Wellness Wednesday...basically, sometimes you want to take a risk, and sometimes you don't!

Now here's a manageable Risk
photo by Ben Stephenson

Make Failure Your Fuel (Abby Wambach)

Catch Mistakes Early (1-10-100 Rule)

Use Losing as a Tool (Bobby Bones)

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Gonna Rain

What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What's the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?

Heard a great version of this last weekend:

Rev Milton Brunson

Thursday, June 14, 2018


No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
~Robert Frost

This week, I used a prompt by Diane Lockward where she suggests using "April Incantation" by Maggie Dietz as a springboard. "April Incantation" isn't online so I can't share the ending, but here's the beginning:

April Incantation
by Maggie Dietz

O wrathful rain roll down
and down. Outwit the drains,

unground us. Wind and thunder,
steer the torrent’s train and throw

us under. Upriver, water, rage
and rack the dam to shatter. Blast

the happy poppies. Let petal-
blood trouble the flooded field.

Crack new bourns and boundaries
into parceled plots. Wreck even

the season that reared you: lick
the lilacs into sobbing heaps...


Here's my poem. Dietz's poem is pretty intense so that was what I had in mind, and I think the end result is kind of scary.*

Hunger Incantation
by Tabatha Yeatts

O thunderous maw, open!
Demand feeding, insist on

drenched sponge cake, laden
with preserves pulped within an

inch of their lives, ones that stick
to the spoon like they are grabbing

the cliff's edge with slippery hands.
Stuff yourself with upside-down cake,

shoving the juice-suffused rings in
with your single-minded fingers,

then the golden slabs that you swallow
dry, like a compactor crushing

a junkyard car, then the crumbs,
all that's left, crumbs that fall apart

between your teeth and leave
only your fingers to bite.


* Dietz's poem brings "I" in at the end and Lockward's prompt suggested that we do that, but I wasn't feeling it for my poem. My inspiration might have been someone, say a political party, who conjures an evil that devours them in the end, and maybe even a non-me narrator "I" wasn't a part of that. (Of course, you can take this poem any way you like, Dear Reader. Your interpretation is as good as mine.)

Karen Edmisten has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Karen!

In Clover

What airs outblown from ferny dells
And clover-bloom and sweet brier smells.
~John Greenleaf Whittier

Appreciating the common clover today. (I was glad to find a "Greenleaf" clover quote.)

Trifolium pratense L.
Amédée Masclef from Atlas des plantes de France, 1891

Mountain Clover
photo by J Stimp

Trifolium fragiferum fruits close up Campo de Calatrava, Spain
ohoto by Javier Martin

The Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) on a Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)
photo by Friedrich Böhringer

White Clover (Chiba, Japan, Tokyo)
photo by t-mizo

Trifolium pratense L., Trifolium medium L.
by Carl Axel Magnus Lindman

Red Clover Iced Tea

Note: I got side-tracked a bit by thinking about clovers and shamrocks. I have shamrocks that look like this:

I also have purple ones like these. So in my head I think of those as shamrocks and the stuff above as clover, except on St Patrick's Day when shamrocks are four-leaf clovers. How do you visualize shamrocks and clovers? (Also were you surprised by the clover fruits? We don't have those in my part of the world.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.
~Rosalyn Carter

There are so many potential caregiving situations that no one really knows if or when they might become a caregiver. Many people care for their parents, and many others care for spouses, children, other family members, neighbors, friends. Caregivers are all different ages -- one-in-four of the nearly 40 million family caregivers is a millennial. Some situations can be rewarding and even uplifting, while other times it can be just a long, hard slog.

The AARP has a lot of good videos about and for family caregivers.

* ABCs of Respite
* Government Resources Caregivers Should Know About
* Four Ways to Find a Caregiver Support Group (and a list of Facebook Caregiver Support Groups)

One last video:

Monday, June 11, 2018

Musical Hikes

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
~John Muir

Musical Hikes? I first heard about this concept when the Boulder Philharmonic was visiting the D.C. area and they did a bird-themed musical nature walk. The Boulder Phil has a whole "Nature & Music" program, with free guided hikes paired with music by the Phil.

There are more:

Utah's Moab Music Festival says: Our first Music Hike requires concert goers to make a vigorous early morning hike of 30 minutes into a spectacular natural concert setting, and to hike out, invigorated by an hour of intense listening. This program features five of our virtuoso musicians performing new 21st century music framed by the power of works by Brahms, Barber and Bach. Saturday, September 1, 2018

Connecticut has Hike to the Mic: Hike to the Mic -“Music and Arts Happening” that once again will reward hikers to the Heublein Tower with great musical entertainment, food vendors and family fun. Saturday 8/18/2018 and Sunday 8/19/2018.

Have to include a song! From The Hike Sessions:

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Virginia is for Lovers
~David Martin

Today we have soil by Irène P. Mathieu, who shares, "Fun fact about that soil poem: it's dedicated to my partner and his country accent. Shoutout to #FarmvilleVA."

Irene Mathieu

My grandparents lived in Farmville so I've heard Farmville accents my whole life. I sent this poem to my father and uncle, whom I knew would appreciate it.

by Irene Mathieu

the way you say soil
sounds like soul, as in

after we walked through the woods
my feet were covered in soul

when it rains
the soul turns to mud

the soul is made of decomposed
plant and animal matter;

edaphology is the study of the soul’s
influence on living things

while pedology is the study of how
soul is formed, its particular granularity.

you are rooted in a certain red patch
of soul that bled you and your

hundred cousins to life, a slow
warm river you call home.

maybe there is soul under everything,
even when we strike rock first.

the way you say soil you make
a poem out of every speck of dirt.


Whispers from the Ridge has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Kiesha!

Pearl's Garden

I want to see students from the bottom up be able to study my place and learn from it. Kids don't need to be interested in topiary. They can come here and learn to focus.
~Pearl Fryar

Watch this video about Pearl Fryar and you'll see why I was immediately charmed.

A Man Named Pearl
photo by stefernie

The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden
photo by Laurel LaFlamme

Pearl Fryer's Toparies
photo by Duane Burdick

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Seeking: Rejection

When you're following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.
~Kelly Cutrone

For Wellness Wednesday, thinking about courting rejection. What can we gain from being rejected? Why would anybody seek it?

She might not make her goal, but she will have a lot of rejections. She's okay with it.

Someone else with an interesting perspective on rejection is Jia Jiang, who has a site called "Rejection Therapy." He explains that his intention was "to desensitize myself from the pain of rejection and overcome my fear." He has a TED talk with more of his reasoning. ("Jiang desensitized himself to the pain and shame that rejection often brings and, in the process, discovered that simply asking for what you want can open up possibilities where you expect to find dead ends.") The below video is Day 21 of 100 Days of Rejection Therapy (spoiler: he doesn't get rejected in this particular one, but you can find ones where he does if you look):

Monday, June 4, 2018

I need you, you, you

Please remember, people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive, and survive, there are still some things that make us all the same.

This Music Monday we have songs from The Blues Brothers. Good morning!!