Monday, July 29, 2019


The breaks you take from work pay you back manifold when you return because you come back with a fresher mind and newer thinking. Some of your best ideas come when you're on vacation.
~Gautam Singhania

Hi folks! I'm taking a blog break until August 12th or so. Hope all is well with you during that time!

Bonus photo of Lucy licking her nose
by Vivien


“That’s the concept of superposition,” Jean said. “Being in more than one place, or more than one state, at the same time.”
~David Walton

Young the Giant for Music Monday:

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Conversations with Dolly

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
~Dolly Parton

I didn't know what I would be posting today, and then for some reason I wondered whether there were any poems about Dolly Parton. (I think Dolly is great. Her book program for kids is the bomb.)

Dolly Parton with Carol Burnett, 1980

I was very happy to find this gem from Still:

Conversations with Dolly Parton at 3 a.m.
by Makayla Gay

   she says, her voice like the
   opening strum on an autoharp,
Once you let anyone steal your sunshine
You are your own rainy day.

   She holds my head like Madonna
   and kisses my bangs.
   She reminds me how she birthed entire
   patch-worked mountains from her hips.
   She’s Gaia,
      spangled in rhinestones, hairspray
      and long, almond nails.
   She gets called trash
   but trills like you wouldn’t believe.
   Our holy mother,
     of looking like a trick and
     letting all sorts of sinners seek
     shelter somewhere.
You got mountains inside you,

read the rest here


Reflections on the Teche has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Margaret!

Fore-Edge Paintings

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
~M.H. Boroson

Paintings on the edge today. The fore-edge of books, that is.

The heavens: an illustrated handbook of popular astronomy, 1867
With fore-edge painting (fanned to the right) of Cambridge, Massachusetts observatory as viewed from across the Charles River

The poetical works of Percy Bysshe Shelley
With fore-edge painting (fanned to the right) of St. Peter’s Basilica and Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome

Boston Library collection of fore-edge paintings
Edges of Books by Steven K. Galbraith

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What's next?

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
~Dean Acheson

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Missive from a Working Motorcycle, 1917

A woman who rides a motorcycle is in tune with the universe, a candidate for high adventure.
~Celestine Sibley

When I was thinking about what to write for Donna for the Summer Poem Swap, I knew I'd write something that rhymed, and I wanted to write about motorcycles since she is a dedicated rider. I don't know anything about motorcycles, though, so I looked into them and discovered that Doug Domokos (aka The Wheelie King) had a record for doing a wheelie for 145 miles. Which is mindblowing, but didn't turn itself into a poem (wouldn't that be a fun concrete poem?!).

I kept going and read about despatch riders, motorcyclists who volunteered in World War I to bring messages from the military units to headquarters (and vice versa). That caught my attention and the next thing I knew, I was talking about pigeons:

Missive from a Working Motorcycle, 1917
by Tabatha Yeatts
for Donna

My wheels in mud don't trouble me,
Nor driving dark so no one sees,
Nor endless work, nor blood and dirt–
I say with all due modesty,
My motto is semper gutsy.

Ferrying wounded I prefer,
Or bringing leaders vital word
Or munitions for special missions...
Instead I have this task absurd–
My side is loaded down with birds.

My poor seat is feather-adorned,
Coos wake me in the early morn,
The scat I wear– too much to bear–
Still the communiqués they carry
Make me a noble aviary.

The Royal Engineers Signals Service on the Western Front, 1914-1918
photo by David McLellan

More pigeon photos from World War One, just because they were such amazing creatures:

Pigeon at the front

A message-carrying pigeon being released from a port-hole in the side of a British tank, near Albert, France.
photo by David McLellan

The Royal Navy on the Home Front, 1914-1918
Pilot releasing a homing pigeon from a British seaplane
photo by Royal Navy official photographer


The most famous homing pigeon from World War I was Cher Ami, who saved nearly two hundred lives despite being severely injured.

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

Lighthouses at Night

The scars you share become lighthouses for people who are headed to the same rocks you hit.
~Jon Acuff

Lighthouses are cool to look at during the day, but at night they really shine. (Ha!)

Dongquan Lighthouse
photo by Wcfan49

La Hague Lighthouse at night
photo by Luk

Baishajia Lighthouse
photo by Wcfan49

Cape Recife Lighthouse
photo by Suzi-k

Stars Over La Palma
photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Wellness Retrospective

When you discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough to make room for it in your life.
~Jean Shinoda Bolen

Seneca Creek State Park

I've been observing Wellness Wednesday for over two and a half years now, so there are quite a few posts. Elena helped me put them into sections for your browsing pleasure:

Chronic Illness+
The body's bank account
Caregivers Library (helpful forms)
Invisible illnesses
"It's Unfair and It Doesn't Make Sense"
Notes from the book Introducing Disability Studies
Scent Sensitivity
Spoon Theory
Traveling while chronically ill

Comfort foods
Gluten-free tea party
How to cook
Low histamine tea
Making stocks and broths
Notes about Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting, and Building Community

Big Dreams, Small Spaces
Gardening on a budget, tips for beginners
Getting your hands dirty

Helping Others
Doing random acts of kindness
Empathy Day
I am in your boat (reaching out to people who are struggling)
Making gifts for people in the hospital
Start with hello week
Suicide prevention
Toxic positivity
Understanding dementia for caregivers
You are the help until help arrives

Helping Your Body
Being your own health advocate
Cold and flu season
Digestive systems
Emergency self-care kits
Getting the right diagnosis
Health Journals
Keeping hydrated
Making a tummy tamer glycerite and digestive pastilles
Remedies for winter air

Activities for celebrating
Bad advice
Cat having a spa day and Sara Jarosz
Funny stuff
The God of Cake (funny cartoon story)
Having fun/being silly
Life Lessons from 100+ year olds
Nut up or Shut up
Take-one posters
"Vaccine Joy" playlist

Making Things & The Arts
The Crafs Man
Cycles of creativity
DIY Valentine's Day
Engaging with art
Gifts you can make
Keeping a quote journal
Make Good Art (Neil Gaiman)
Making things
Making Vision Boards

Poems, Quotes, & Books
Book doctors and poetry pharmacists
Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith (book)
Krista Tippett and Rumi
Lin-Manuel Miranda's pep talks
Mr. Rogers
Naomi Shihab Nye on taking a fresh look at your life
The philosophical notebooks of poet Anna Kamieńska
Poems about being productive
Poem by Mary Oliver
Quote from Joyce Sidman about doing scary things
Quotes from Naomi Shihab Nye (about poetry)
Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris
Tammi Sweet on setting your intentions for the Winter Solstice

Empathetic Joy
Healthy relationships
Love languages
Relationship Advice
When Someone Shows You Who They Are

Relaxing Your Body
A poem, art therapy, Zen garden, and yoga
Background sounds
Body scan guided meditations
Calming down after a bad dream
Free printable infinity breath sheet
Gaiea Sanskrit (song)
Mindful breathing
Self-care apps
Tensing and relaxing your muscles
Walking a labyrinth

Time Management
Making to-do lists
Pomodoros and a 5-minute break
Ways we spend our time

Ways of Thinking
Accepting things we can't avoid
Character development
Comparing yourself to others
Conversations we have with ourselves
Create the things you wished existed
Getting re-energized
Gut instincts and intuition
How to practice emotional first aid
Ikigai (Reason for being)
Joy in THIS reality
Joy of Missing Out
Make the hard thing easier
Personal mottos
The 1-10 Scale (not sweating the small stuff)
Wellbeing Bucket and Ball of Yarn
Write yourself a love letter

Monday, July 15, 2019

Not my taste

For years, I stored my sweaters in the oven.
~Lesley Visser

One of the folks from The Sweater Set looks so much like my cousin that I did a double-take. I enjoyed the unexpected lyrics:

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Getting Good

There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory.

A poem today about what it takes to get good at something, the effort behind making things look effortless.

photo by Derek van Vliet

Decorating a Cake While Listening to Tennis
by Peg Duthie

The commentator's rabbiting on and on
about how it's so easy for Roger, resentment
thick as butter still in a box. Yet word
from those who've done their homework
is how the man loves to train—how much
he relishes putting in the hours
just as magicians shuffle card after card,

read the rest here


That poem made me think of Ira Glass and the Gap. It's probably time to post it again!

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

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


Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen to see;
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.
~Emily Dickinson

I've posted microscopic art before. Microscopes themselves can be very cool characters:

Microscope with ivory handle, 1680s
photo by Rama

Lucernal microscope

Microscope de bronze ciselé de François Laurent Villette Propriété du Musée des Hospices civils de Lyon, 1765
Aurélie Troccon et Manon Mauguin

Oppelt bronze microscope Germany, 1780
© Jorge Royan

A stand microscope created by Joseph Gutteridge, a weaver from Coventry
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Two microscopes, Dublin
photo by Haydn W Hammerton

One last quote by James Thurber:
"We'll try it," the professor said to me, grimly, ' with every adjustment of the microscope known to man. As God is my witness, I'll arrange this glass so that you see cells through it or I'll give up teaching. In twenty-two years of botany, I -' He cut off abruptly for he was beginning to quiver all over, like Lionel Barrymore, and he genuinely wished to hold onto his temper; his scenes with me had taken a great deal out of him.

So we tried it with every adjustment of the microscope known to man. With only one of them did I see anything but blackness or the familiar lacteal opacity, and that time I saw, to my pleasure and amazement, a variegated constellation of flecks, specks, and dots. These I hastily drew. The instructor, noting my activity, came back from an adjoining desk, a smile on his lips and his eyebrows high in hope. He looked at my cell drawing. "What's that?" he demanded, with a hint of a squeal in his voice. "That's what I saw, " I said. "You didn't, you didn't, you didn't!," he screamed, losing control of his temper instantly, and he bent over and squinted into the microscope. His head snapped up. "That's your eye!" he shouted. "You've fixed the lens so that it reflects! You've drawn your eye!"

Monday, July 8, 2019

Exchange the Experience

The great thing about art on any level is that it can speak to all people if it’s achieved properly.
~Kate Bush

Meg Myers covering Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill:

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Yours to keep

America is a living idea... Every day, we make America.
~Charles M. Blow

I am not a poet who writes about current events, by and large, but there are lots who do.

photo by Holly Victoria Norval

Two Years In
by Christine Potter

I could not have imagined this any more
than you could remember how the trees

looked naked of leaves back when it was
still summer and they were crowned in

great dollops of green. Nor could I have
predicted which one would snap four feet

read the rest here


by Cambra Koczkur

My first-grader pours his own cereal.
He stands on a stool so his elbows
have room to bend, but still needs help
from mom if the milk bottle’s full.

My girl, five, wiggles as I weave quatrains of
gold on yellow ribbon through her hair and
speak our rhyming poems into the mirror.
“You carry my love with you,” we say.

read the rest here


Another from Rattle (you'll understand why I can't post an excerpt of this):
Free Shipping by Abby Murray


A poem by Brandon Amico: Gun that folds up into a teddy bear.


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

Arthur Streeton

During the First World War, Streeton served as a hospital orderly in London, and then as an official war artist with the Australian army. He was awarded a knighthood in 1937 for services to art.
~The National Gallery, London

Australian impressionist Arthur Streeton (1867–1943) today.

Sirius Cove (1895)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hospital Gifts

The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.
~Charles Dudley Warner

Today's post came about because I had been wondering what to give someone who spends a lot of time in the hospital. In April of this year, while my daughter was having one health crisis after another, an online friend of hers provided precious support and comfort. This young woman has a July birthday, so I was trying to think of a helpful gift. When people are limited as to what they can eat and what scents they can come in contact with, it's easy to give a present that they can't use. I do believe that it's the thought that counts, but it is nice when the person can enjoy the gift, too!

Do Say Give has a list of What to bring someone in the hospital which made me think about embroidering pillowcases and the rest of the list came from additional brainstorming:


Instructables on Embroidering Pillowcases
Molly and Mama on Embroidering a pillowcase with an iron-on transfer
Gluestick Blog on Making a fleece pillowcase

Make slippers or socks:

WikiHow on Turning your jeans into slippers
Shiny Happy World with a Free Sock Knitting pattern

Sleep Masks:

Cool Crafts has a list of 30 Ways to make homemade sleep masks

A cup cozy:

Diana Rambles explains Turning a sock into a cup cozy

Something to put odds and ends in:

A video about Making a Denim Bucket with old jeans

Do you have gift suggestions?

Monday, July 1, 2019

Carry Each Other

We dream that we're all different.
~Anthony Hincks

I ❤ Mary J. Blige: