Monday, March 18, 2019

Here, take my sweater

The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life.
~Pablo Casals

For Music Monday, a song that brings back fond memories. My older daughter sang it for me one year for Mother's Day or my birthday (neither of us can remember which) and my younger daughter sang it for the school talent show this year. It was perfect for her voice. (My son has never sung this song, as far as I know. The last song I can remember him singing in public was Locked Away.)

Ingrid Michaelson:

Someone made a kawaii version:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Memory keeper

Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.
~Teen activist Greta Thunberg tells Davos elite they're to blame for climate crisis

This gorgeous bear is named Earring
photo by Emma

Isn't Ms. Thunberg marvelously direct? She's not pulling any punches. Learn about her Fridays for Future movement here.

Today's poem is from the Chicago Review of Books' Best Poems about Climate Change. There's a link below to Gabriel Byrne (that voice!) reading it.

The Solace of Artemis
by Paula Meehan
For Catriona Crowe

I read that every polar bear alive has mitochondrial DNA
from a common mother, an Irish brown bear who once
roved out across the last ice age, and I am comforted.
It has been a long hot morning with the children of the machine,

their talk of memory, of buying it, of buying it cheap, but I,
memory keeper by trade, scan time coded in the golden hive mind
of eternity. I burn my books, I burn my whole archive:
a blaze that sears, synapses flaring cell to cell where

memory sleeps in the wax hexagonals of my doomed and melting comb.
I see him loping towards me across the vast ice field
to where I wait in the cave mouth, dreaming my cubs about the den,
my honied ones, smelling of snow and sweet oblivion.

* Gabriel Byrne reads The Solace of Artemis
* The Chicago Review of Books has a regular feature by Amy Brady on climate fiction (cli-fi) called Burning Worlds.
* If you're thinking about making a donation to assist polar bears, The NRDC (Natural Resource Defense Council) gets terrific ratings from Charity Navigator.


My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Heidi!

Three for Spring

Behold, my brothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!
~Sitting Bull

I bring you three oversize paintings of spring:

The Troitse-Sergiyev Monastery in spring
by Konstantin Yuon

Spring Plowing
by Edvard Munch

Flowering Garden
by Vincent van Gogh

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Emotional First Aid

Failure is so common a human experience that what distinguishes us from one another is not that we fail but rather how we respond when we do.
~Guy Winch

For Wellness Wednesday, checking out a TED Talk about Emotional First Aid. After I saw this video, I read an article about resilience and now I'm being resilient like doing emotional first aid on yourself?

One thing that surprised me in this TED Talk was when Dr. Winch talked about rumination, which is when we get stuck going over something negative (like when we get in a fight or something embarrasses us and we relive it for days). Dr. Winch said that when you feel like you're starting to ruminate, a two-minute distraction is enough to keep you from getting stuck in that rut. Good to know!

Thursday, March 7, 2019


Architecture is by definition a very collaborative process.
~Joshua Prince-Ramus

For International Women's Day, I bring you: my mom. I mentioned before that I was writing poems based on my parents' artwork. This time, I started with my mom's arch collages as a springboard. I used Joyce Sidman's "Deeper Wisdom" form, which features two stanzas of three lines each, which rhyme aaa bbb and "What do ____know?" as the title and stanza openers. Each line ends with a period.

Early Morning Shade by Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts

Riverview Through Arches by Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts

Sweet Smell of Spring by Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts


What do arches know?

Praise a keystone that is true.
Give all steady stones their due.
Show the way to somewhere new.

What do arches know?

Storms are blows you will outlast.
Avoid collapse by standing fast.
Rounded beauty's unsurpassed.


Tired of peace poems from my month of peace poems yet? Hope not, because here's one more. (I used art supplies my parents gave me for Christmas to make the background.)

Reading to the Core has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Thanks, Catherine!

Board Game Box Art

'A man can learn all of an opponent's weaknesses on that board,' said Gilt.
'Really?' said Vetinari, raising his eyebrows. 'Should not he be trying to learn his own?'
~Terry Pratchett

Board games can have wonderful art on their boxes. They can also be pretty intriguing...what kind of useful (lion-related) knowledge does Grandmama have? I know it might seem like I didn't, but I really did restrain myself -- there were many more I wanted to include! These are in chronological order:

Grandmama's Useful Knowledge, 1887
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

Game of the Man in the Moon, 1890
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

Game of Four and Twenty Black Birds, 1908
Publisher: McLoughlin Brothers

International Game of Spy, 1939
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: E. E. Fairchild Corporation

Flash, 1956
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: Selchow & Righter

Railroader, 1963
Designer: (Uncredited)
Publisher: John Waddington Ltd.

Wings, 1981
Designer: S. Craig Taylor
Publisher: Excalibre Games, Inc., Yaquinto

Troja, 2004
Designer: Marek Mydel, Michał Stachyra, Maciej Zasowski
Artist: Jakub Jabłoński
Publisher: Imperium

Endeavor, 2009
Designer: Carl de Visser, Jarratt Gray
Artist: Josh Cappel, Klemens Franz, Hanno Girke
Publisher: Z-Man Games

Two of our family's favorite board games have cool box art: Ticket to Ride and 7 Wonders.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

365-Day Reward

A birthday theme this Wellness Wednesday. Do you treat birthdays like New Year's, as a time to re-assess, make new goals, start projects? I generally don't, to be honest. But I enjoy hearing about what other people are thinking and doing. I know someone who did 50 volunteer projects in the year leading up to her 50th birthday, and Ruth decided to write fifty first drafts before she turned 50.

Hey, here's something that isn't birthday-related but is a feel-good thing, and could be related if your goal is to be a good stranger (and don't we all want that, really?). Nicole Miller asked people on Twitter to tell her the nicest thing a stranger had ever done for them, and the answers were great.

Back to birthdays:

I see birthdays as a reward for having shown up 365 in a row. It's like getting a badge for attendance.
~Gina Barreca

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.
~Jean Paul Richter

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.
~Larry Lorenzoni

The best birthdays of all are those that haven't arrived yet.
~Robert Orben

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.
~Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Real birthdays are not annual affairs. Real birthdays are the days when we have a new birth.
~Ralph Parlette

Happy birthday to Michelangelo and happy belated birthday to Vivaldi, who was born March 4, 1678:

Monday, March 4, 2019


For strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself, which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination.
~Arthur Conan Doyle

These may not be as daring as life itself, but they are a bit unexpected. For Music Monday:

Guns N'Roses
Stevie Wonder
The Bee Gees

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Old friends and lollipops

First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.
~Thomas à Kempis

I'm done with peace poem month! (My "I'm done" song!)

My poem for the last day:

reassuring smile
in the mirror
oldest friend

My poem for Kortney at One Deep Drawer:

has a
lollipop middle --
a floaty, sticky
swirl of color,
Have a little lick
and it will lift
you upright.


TeacherDance has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Linda!

Expressing illness

Courage wasn't only fighting your circumstances; sometimes making peace with your circumstances required more courage.
~Sonali Dev

Artists with illnesses for Art Thursday.

I enjoy Becky Blair's artwork. She talks about being "knocked off her perch" by lupus here.

Anna Cowley Ford makes interesting art inspired by her migraines.

Elizabeth Jameson creates colorful works from her own MRIs, among other things. Hear about another of her projects:

Australian Lauren Rowe (who has cystic fibrosis):

Filmmaker Jason DaSilva chronicles his illness:

It's Rare Disease Day. "Building awareness of rare diseases is so important because 1 in 20 people will live with a rare disease at some point in their life. Despite this, there is no cure for the majority of rare diseases and many go undiagnosed."

Links from previous posts:
* Art as therapy
* Inviting children with learning difficulties to participate in the arts
* The body's bank account
* Traveling while chronically ill
* What we don't see

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Almost any seat was comfortable at one-sixth of a gravity.
~Arthur C. Clarke

You can tell from the title of this post that I remembered the word from last Wellness Wednesday ("emoluments" + "insurance" = "ergonomics"? The brain works in mysterious ways...)

The definition of ergonomics is "an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely"... I tend to think of it as how to arrange your workspace (or study space) so your body doesn't hurt afterward. My husband really needs the right setup. Maybe you do, too.

Here's a brief video about the angles that you hold your legs, arms/wrists, and eyes when you're using a laptop:

A more general ergonomics video:

A few links:
Cornell's Ergonomic Guidelines for arranging a Computer Workstation - 10 steps for users
UVA on Multiple-Strain Injuries
UVA: Stretches
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's guidelines for various industries

My husband uses this cheap standing desk at work. (He is on the tall side for using a desk that goes up and down, so he uses this one for standing and has another for sitting. Whatever works.)
A post that explains the Pomodoro technique

What do you find helpful?

Monday, February 25, 2019

This Too Shall Last

There's that thing that if you want to have any kind of lasting love, I think you have to love the whole person and not just the parts of them that you choose.
~Paul Dano

Anderson East for Music Monday:

Thursday, February 21, 2019

How do you do it??

Writing is a delicious agony.
~Gwendolyn Brooks

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been participating in the February peace poem postcard project (sending out 28 peace poems). I don't know how those of you who do a finished poem a day (for a month or even a YEAR!!) have managed it. So impressed! It makes me more comfortable to let ideas gestate, let drafts sit, etc. and there's no time for that. Also, I can't seem to control what I write about. The following isn't a peace poem so I am not sending it to anyone:

photo by Fisherga

Milkweed in winter
Seeds scattered
Empty cradles swing


And here's one that counted as a "peace poem" but might make you wonder whether I have a good understanding of what that means:

The Peace of Angry Rivers
by Tabatha Yeatts

Angry rivers tumble over themselves,
  reveal their bubbling underbellies

They froth at the mouth, hold nothing back,
  smash rocks as though they were the hard ones.

Their water, riled and surging with mud,
  promises there's nothing to be afraid of now:

The rampage is here, you are it,
  and you are riding it, and you can.

The fierce ride will subside after
  all the waters are somewhere new

where they will still run, still reflect
  the sun, still carry a world of life within.


That poem was inspired by my daughter Ariana, who had to use an EpiPen for the first time this month, something she had been dreading.

(Now that I re-read the milkweed poem, I'm wondering if it is similar to someone else's?)

Life on the Deckle Edge has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Robyn!

Genevieve Jones

You'll have a lot more respect for a bird after you try making a nest.
~Cynthia Lewis

Looking ahead to spring today with Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio, illustrated by Genevieve Jones. Ms. Jones lived from 1847-1879, dying young of typhoid fever.

Northern Bobwhite

Eastern Bluebird

Baltimore Oriole

American Goldfinch

Purple Martin

Osprey, Wild Turkey, Turkey Vulture

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


We're not machines! We have a human need for craftsmanship!
~Bill Watterson

When I was at my parents' house last weekend, we were talking about something and I thought "that would be a good topic for Wellness Wednesday!" But I didn't write it down and forgot...I tried to remember, but the only words that came to mind were "insurance" and "emoluments," neither of which did we talk about nor would they make a particularly good WW post. Maybe it's something that rhymes with one of those words. (I kid! Winsurance? Schmoluments?)

I did think of something else. There's this dude/puppet named TheCrafsMan who reminds me of Bob Ross. Soothing and educational both. See what I mean:

More make-it-yourself posts

Monday, February 18, 2019

Luck (or not)

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
~Erin Morgenstern

Sharing an instrumental by Circus No. 9 for Music Monday:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Soaring paper wings

The art of love is largely the art of persistence.
~Albert Ellis

A Browning repost in honor of Valentine's Day, plus a bit of romance from Poetry from the Plains:

Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning (1812 - 89)

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' it's joys and fears,
Then the two hearts beating each to each!


A modern video version of Meeting At Night.


Untitled Poem for Sarah
by Matt Mason

Every morning you’d think
all the moths would throw themselves into the Sun.

But they wait
for streetlights
to consume them

in small coughs
of sparkle,
my dear,

read the rest here


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

Albrecht Dürer

Whatever was mortal in Albrecht Dürer lies beneath this mound.
~The epitaph at Dürer's grave

* For Art Thursday, German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). I love how Dürer tries to show all the action in St Michael fighting the Dragon:

Rhinoceros, 1515
by Albrecht Dürer

St Eustace
by Albrecht Dürer

The Small Horse
by Albrecht Dürer

St Michael fighting the Dragon
by Albrecht Dürer

Visit of Albrecht Dürer in Antwerp in 1520 (click to embiggen)
by Henri Leys, 1855

Addendum: * I'm actually a fan of Valentine's Day! I forgot about it when I was making this post, though. I did some gelli plate printing for my valentines -- first time I used one -- and it was So Much Fun. If you are an imprecise person like myself, check them out. They are forgiving.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The universe that loves you

Every poem welcomes the moon into the house when it shows up at the back door.
~John Guzlowski

Bits and pieces for Wellness Wednesday. First, a strange and supportive poem by Franz Wright (I like the ending):

To Myself
By Franz Wright

You are riding the bus again
burrowing into the blackness of Interstate 80,
the sole passenger

with an overhead light on.
And I am with you.
I’m the interminable fields you can’t see,

read the rest here


20 Art Therapy Activities You Can Try At Home To Destress: Some of their suggestions include making a chalk drawing and letting it wash away, stringing your own meditation or prayer beads, and raking patterns in sand.

Raking patterns in sand led me to include this link about DIY Japanese zen garden and made me think of Big Dreams, Small Spaces. Big Dreams is a British TV show about folks who want to turn their wee neglected yards into amazing gardens. It is calming and inspiring -- something pleasant to watch if you're looking to de-stress.


Lastly, a short video to stretch out your hands and wrists a bit if you've been at the computer for a while. Feels good!

Monday, February 11, 2019


The love that we keep is the shelter we find
~Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez

Johnnyswim for Music Monday:

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Love, daughters, and spelling

When I was sixteen, it was simple. Poetry existed; therefore it could be written; and nobody had told me — yet — the many, many reasons why it could not be written by me.
~Margaret Atwood

I've been writing poems for the peace poem postcard project (a poem a day in February) and I've noticed some things about myself. One is that I don't want to send anybody a poem I don't like, which is a lot of pressure (impossible??) for that many poems. The second is that I can't handwrite a poem on a postcard for anything. My lines are too long and I wind up changing my line breaks. Even though my handwriting is pretty neat, I wind up worrying about the poems' readability. I've been printing my poems and then gluing them on the postcards because I can have longer poems that way.

I need to tap into my short poem self, which has been fairly elusive thus far. I wrote this short ekprastic poem based on Gaston La Touche's The Joyous Festival and then was like, ack, it's not peace-themed! Ah well, at least I can share it with y'all!

Also this week: my 17yo has been studying Margaret Atwood poems in English class and she and I discussed a number of them. Atwood is not an easy poet, so I am impressed that the kids are digging into her work. If all the kids in her school read Atwood, I would have different options when I am figuring out which poems to put up for National Poetry Month. Anyhoo, one that Elena and I discussed was the spicy Spelling:

My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.

I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.

read the rest here.

One more quote:

I can tell you that once upon a time when I was doing public events people would ask me, "What do you think about the arts?, What do you think of the role of women?, What do you think of men?, What do you think of all of these things?", and now they ask one thing, and that one thing is this, "Is there hope?"
~Margaret Atwood

The answer, of course, is yes. Always yes.

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

Silent Evening

...and the evening was so beautiful, that it made a pain in my heart, as when you cannot tell whether you are happy or sad; and I thought that if I could have a wish, it would be that nothing would ever change, and we would stay that way forever.
~Margaret Atwood

I put together this post before I realized that I'd be sharing a Margaret Atwood poem tomorrow. So we've got two Margaret Atwood quotes in a row...she has something to say about everything.

A painting by Italian artist Leo Putz (1869-1940) for Art Thursday:

Silent Evening, 1911 (of his wife, Frieda Blell)
by Leo Putz

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Taking a fresh look

It was amazing what a little noise and brightness could do to a house and a life, how much the smallest bit of each could change everything.
~Sarah Dessen

I've talked about Naomi Shihab Nye before. This story about her from an article by Howard Kaplan is worth a read:
One day, after reading about a private museum founded by eccentric collector Marion Koogler McNay in San Antonio, she and her best friend Sally decide to visit. Not having the address, Nye assures her friend that she'll recognize the building from photos in the magazine (remember, we're pre-GPS here).

"There it is, pull in," Nye points out and the two women drive into the parking lot. The museum is free, and when they enter, there are only a few people seated inside. They stop talking and stare at the young women. There are no docents or staff to offer any guidance, which pleases the two visitors. They can look at what they want and not feel pressured to join a tour. Sally bounds up a set of stairs, and Naomi explores the ground floor, till arriving at a room with sculptures, a small couch, and a "radiant" print by Paul Klee, her favorite artist. Her reverie is broken when she realizes that the man from the lobby is now standing behind her.

"Where do you think you are?" he asks.

"The McNay Art Museum!" Naomi replies.

"Sorry to tell you. The McNay is three blocks over, on New Braunfels Street. Take a right when you go out of our driveway, then another right."

"What is this place?" she asks.

"Well, we thought it was our home."

Mortified and apologetic, Naomi runs to the staircase and tells Sally to come down immediately, it's an emergency! They hurry out the front door with Naomi saying, "Sorry, ohmygod, please forgive us, you have a really nice place." ...thirty years later something strange and wonderful happens, when a woman approaches her and asks if "by any chance [she entered] a residence, long ago, thinking it was the McNay Museum?"

"Yes. But how do you know? I never told anyone."

"That was my home," the woman replied. "I was a teenager sitting with my family talking in the living room. Before you came over, I never realized what a beautiful place I lived in. I never felt lucky before."
Lovely to hear about the people who were calm about strangers coming in and going around their house and the strangers who uncovered something beautiful by looking with fresh eyes. You just never know what's going to happen, do you?

One last quote:

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
Matsuo Bashô

Monday, February 4, 2019

Dance of the Tumblers

In every new work of mine I am trying to do something that is new for me. On the one hand, I am pushed on by the thought that in this way, [my music] will retain freshness and interest, but at the same time I am prompted by my pride to think that many facets, devices, moods and styles, if not all, should be within my reach.
~Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Is this wintery? Dance of the Tumblers (sometimes called Dance of the Buffoons) from The Snow Maiden by Rimsky-Korsakov:

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A curtain of bliss

It's always difficult to keep Fridays confined within themselves...they tend to spill over.
~Kai Sinclair

Welcome! Happy to have you here for the Poetry Friday round-up.

I'm sharing two poems today. If I were a bit more sensible, the poem mentioned in the first one would be my second. But oy, I'm sharing "A Rhinoceros at the Prague Zoo" instead.

by Marilyn Robertson

I laughed out loud this morning.
I was reading a poem called The Buzzard
and it took me through ice storms,
evacuation routes, terrible winds—
an ominous landscape.
But where is the buzzard, I wondered,

Read the rest here


by Phillis Levin

While ducks and swans paddled placidly on the Vltava’s rushing waters, penguins, storks and gorillas were evacuated from the Prague Zoo, and a crane was used to lift two rhinoceros to high ground. But one turned violent and had to be killed, and keepers had to shoot a 35-year-old Indian elephant named Kadir as water rose to his ears and he refused to move to high ground.
–The New York Times, August 14, 2002

A blindfolded rhinoceros
is being lifted
out of the water.
It is important he doesn’t see
what is going on.

Please pass it on:

please pass along
his blindfold
so we can be lifted, too.

Read the rest here


Big Fish

Knowledge is high in the head, but the salmon of wisdom swims deep.
~Neil Gunn

Belfast's Big Fish ("Salmon of Wisdom") today.
According to the story, an ordinary salmon ate nine hazelnuts that fell into the Well of Wisdom (aka Tobar Segais) from nine hazel trees that surrounded the well. By this act, the salmon gained all the world's knowledge. The first person to eat of its flesh would in turn gain this knowledge.

The poet Finn Eces spent seven years fishing for this salmon. One day Finn Eces caught Fintan and gave the fish to Fionn, his servant and son of Cumhaill, with instructions not to eat it. Fionn cooked the salmon, turning it over and over, but when Fionn touched the fish with his thumb to see if it was cooked, he burnt his finger on a drop of hot cooking fish fat. Fionn sucked on his burned finger to ease the pain. Little did Fionn know that all of Fintan's wisdom had been concentrated into that one drop of fish fat. When he brought the cooked meal to Finn Eces, his master saw that the boy's eyes shone with a previously unseen wisdom. Finn Eces asked Fionn if he had eaten any of the salmon. Answering no, the boy explained what had happened. Finn Eces realized that Fionn had received the wisdom of the salmon, so gave him the rest of the fish to eat. Fionn ate the salmon and in so doing gained all the knowledge of the world. Throughout the rest of his life, Fionn could draw upon this knowledge merely by biting his thumb. The deep knowledge and wisdom gained from Fintan, the Salmon of Knowledge, allowed Fionn to become the leader of the Fianna, the famed heroes of Irish myth...

In Welsh mythology, the story of how the poet Taliesin received his wisdom follows a similar pattern, as does the Norse tale of the slaying of the dragon Fafnir by the warrior Sigurd. [Wikipedia]

The Big Fish, Donegall Quay, Belfast
photo by William Murphy
by John Kindness

The Big Fish, Belfast, Ireland
photo by Ardfern
by John Kindness

Big Fish Detail
photo by Jo Jakeman
by John Kindness

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Label-locked thinking can affect treatment. For instance, I heard a doctor say about a kid with gastrointestinal issues, “Oh, he has autism. That’s the problem”— and then he didn’t treat the GI problem.
~Temple Grandin

Thinking about getting the right diagnosis today for Wellness Wednesday. It's a big topic and I don't know how to make sure you get the right one, but I did want to throw out there that if you feel like you've gotten the wrong one, don't stop there.

Undiagnosed physical conditions can present as mental wellness issues and be misaddressed. For instance, I know a boy who was believed to have clinical depression until a celiac test came back positive and they realized gluten was the source of his fatigue and inability to function. If he had just been given anti-depressants, his condition would have continued to worsen. (When you have celiac and you keep eating gluten, you wind up not absorbing minerals, which causes you to have mineral-deficiency symptoms. My daughter had nausea from lack of magnesium before we found out she had celiac.)

I know of two girls in one grade who had tachycardia (POTS, specifically), which caused heart palpitations that were mistaken for anxiety. POTS generally develops in adolescent girls, so keeping an eye out in high schools and colleges for this easy-to-test-for condition is important. Being a teenager is often stressful, so people tend to assume that stress is the cause of teens' problems, but sometimes there's something else going on.

Other physical conditions that can be mistaken for anxiety or depression include epilepsy, mast cell disorders, anemia, diabetes, lead poisoning, hyper and hypothyroidism, COPD, and others. There are a bunch of things that can make you feel on edge or make you feel exhausted, low, less able to cope. (Lack of sleep, not eating well, or too much caffeine can do that, as well.)

Thistles by Dave Bleasdale

Anybody can be misinterpreted, and girls and women seem particularly prone to being brushed off by medical personnel. Maya Dusenbery explains:
Of course, the fact that women are more likely to have “medically unexplained symptoms” might have something to do with the fact that medicine just hasn’t devoted much scientific study to explaining them. It’s this maddeningly mutually reinforcing dynamic ― the way the knowledge gap perfectly feeds into the the trust gap and vice versa ― that explains why, despite the fact that both problems have been recognized for decades, they’ve nonetheless persisted well into the 21st century.

On one hand, the knowledge gap creates the stereotype that women are hypochondriacs and hysterics whose symptoms are often “all in their heads.” Each time a woman sees a doctor for symptoms that go unexplained ― whether it’s “atypical” symptoms of “female-pattern” heart disease that’s undetectable by a traditional angiogram, or fatigue from an autoimmune disease that is missed for years, or unrecognized side effects of a medication that was tested only in men ― it reinforces the impression that women are prone to complaining of symptoms with no evident physical cause.

This stereotype, which is born of medicine’s own failure to recognize women’s diseases, in turn, affects how all women are perceived when they enter the medical system. In a self-fulling prophecy, doctors take their symptoms less seriously and, prematurely concluding there’s probably no medical explanation, more quickly abandon their search for one. The fact that doctors get very little feedback on their diagnostic errors perpetuates the problem. Since they rarely learn if that woman they sent home with a prescription for antidepressants is eventually correctly diagnosed by another doctor, they assume that she really was the stressed-out somatizer they judged her to be.

I tried out a few symptom checkers to see how they did with unusual stuff, and this one seemed the best: Isabel
Second best: Esagil

I've been reluctant to talk about this topic because it's too BIG, but I wanted to support people who are wandering in the wilderness of not having the right diagnosis. Don't give up!

Lastly, a link to an old Wellness Wednesday post: Being Your Own Health Advocate

Monday, January 28, 2019

Keep your sisters close

I wanna say it loud
For all the ones held down
We gotta change the plan
~Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass this Music Monday:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday Bits

A few bits this morning:

Karen shared a poem of mine yesterday: Imaginary Billy and I Discuss the Founding Documents

I read a book over Christmas Break that was described as "unputdownable," which I laughed about before I started it but darn if I didn't have a hard time putting it down. I bought the sequel but I'm afraid to start it. Does that happen to you?

My younger daughter volunteers sometimes at a historic home and this morning I drove her to help out with their booth at a special event. At previous special events, she's demonstrated how to use old typewriters and rotary phones, things she didn't know how to use herself before the older volunteers showed her. Me, this morning: You'll have a time travel advantage over other people your age. They won't be able to blend in. E: That's why I'm doing it. Prep.

Speaking of time travel, I kind of time traveled in 2012 to interview Edna St Vincent Millay. The interview came up this week, so here's the link in case you missed it the first time.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Danger Thin Ice

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.
~Julia Cameron

I come by my eccentric imagination from both of my parents. My father writes and makes digital art and my mother makes mixed media art, among other things. I thought it would be cool if we did something like the SPARK project, where an artist and a poet swap work and create something. My dad made a digital art work to go with my donut poem and I used this piece by my dad to write a poem:

Danger Thin Ice by Harry W. Yeatts, Jr.

I wrote a golden shovel (poem where the last words of each line form a sentence) inspired by my dad's "Danger Thin Ice" and using the following quote:

I am fascinated by the idea that our civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness
~Werner Herzog

by Tabatha Yeatts

The dog delights in being where the snow is
and circles the pond with happy abandon like
a baby for whom the bathtub is a
playground for squealing and smacking the thin
bubbles. The dog skitters around the ice,
making her owner nervous. But it's the boys up on
the hill, readying their sleds to go down again, a
run in a long line of runs, while the sun considers drifting deep
behind the mountain, sliding behind an ocean
of clouds, whom the dog's owner should be thinking of.
Even though they have coasted that path before, chaos
is not such a far detour from laughter, and
the glint of ice's light, not so far from darkness.


Going to Walden has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Tara!


If you entered a tunnel, you can be sure that the tunnel has at least one exit!
~Mehmet Murat ildan

Could you use a little light at the end of the tunnel? I know I could.

by Tuncay

Autumn in the tunnel
by coniferconifer

by benmacaskill

by Charlie Marshall

Water tunnels
by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Tunnel Vision
by Tony Fischer

Maybe no one else thinks of this song re: lights at the end of the tunnel? I hope it ain't no train!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


I'm desperately trying to unplug. The last thing I want is a watch that connects to my phone which connects to my iPad that connects to my computer that airplays to my TV.
~Kerby Jean-Raymond

I'm glad that social media like Instagram didn't exist when I was a teenager. I would have been interested in what everybody else was doing, but it would have been too much information. Staying so connected can lead to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Patrick McGinnis, coiner of the term FOMO, says a problem with it is that you are “taking your cues from someone else” instead of prioritizing doing what you want.

Kristen Fuller from Psychology Today says: You do not need to compare your life to others but instead, practice tuning out the background noise of the “shoulds” and “wants” and learn to let go of worrying whether you are doing something wrong.

A quote from Anne Lamott: Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.

While you are taking care of yourself and enjoying disconnecting, maybe you'd like to try making yourself some Cinnamon White Hot Chocolate or Homemade Chai? It's cold where I am! If you're somewhere warm, maybe it would be fun to try Lavender Lemonade. Whatever you're doing, I hope you get your batteries recharged in the way you want.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Maybe she's got a point

I was broke for more than 10 years. I remember staying up all night one night at my first company and looking in couch cushions the next morning for some change to buy coffee.
~Evan Williams

For Music Monday, Samm Henshaw:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The fortitude of eyelashes

I have an extra set of eyelashes because you never know. I could cry or laugh, or it could be windy, and I'll need a standby pair.
~Niecy Nash

Long Eyelashes by Luca Sbardella

Hi folks! I wrote this poem in kind of a funny way (for me) in that I started with the title, and then wrote it gradually over the course of a week. I am posting it here partly to stop myself from continuing to fiddle with it.

The fortitude of eyelashes
by Tabatha Yeatts

the atmosphere of the soft planet of our eyes
extends as far as our vision: the low-lying cloud smudges

on spectacles giving way to the clear skies of the stratosphere:
the table, the chairs, the bird hiding in her nest, the squirrel

sitting on the fence, the tree branch leaning to almost scratch
the window, the pine needles arrayed around the branch

like so many resolute eyelashes-- you won't catch them
lying down on the job. No matter what the world

of your eyes has seen, if its orbit has swirled past
burning winds and eruptions that turn its moons

to rubble, asteroids that your eyelashes
must buffer against -- even if they are sentries

for a bloodshot, brokenhearted planet,
the eyelashes are still on duty.

their only weapons--
their willingness to shield,

their constancy in pointing the way,
always scanning ahead,

the way they never leave
until their watch is over

and they fall, alone,
blown, floating --

their last gift:
a wish.


The Miss Rumphius Effect has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Tricia!

Like everyone, I am touched by Mary Oliver's passing. Although I don't usually share poems on Wednesdays, I shared one of hers this Wednesday.


The man who pauses on the paths of treason,
Halts on a quicksand, the first step engulfs him.
~ Aaron Hill

My first idea for this Art Thursday was "traitors," but I found that it was a little tough to come up with enough art so I branched out to include people who sponsor treason (and protesters).

Kiss of Judas
by Giotto di Bondone

Benedict Arnold
Copy of engraving by H. B. Hall after John Trumbull, published 1879

Meanwhile In America...
by Greg Auerbach

Russian support for Donald Trump at the Twitter/Facebook Election Carnival 2016 Studios

The Psychos
photo by Matt Brown

Pussy Riot performing a song against Vladimir Putin in the Christ Savior Cathedral
The Prayer, a.powers-fudyma

Protest for Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya (murdered, 2006)
photo by Amnesty Finland

Russian Authorities Order the Destruction of a Digital Artwork
The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen
A bit about Putin's Russia by Anna Politkovskaya
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice by Bill Browder
The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy by Greg Miller

Nemo unquam sapiens proditori credendum putavit.
No wise man ever thought that a traitor should be trusted.
~ Cicero