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: