Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Dog Says

Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.
~Dave Barry

A poem today inspired by an exercise in The Crafty Poet by Diane Lockward.

The Dog Says
by Tabatha Yeatts

the dog says, you need
to go downstairs

she alternates
standing on her back legs
facing the door
and sitting, leaning forward
pointing her quivering nose at the knob

the pet rabbit
had the run of downstairs,
using the halls as a giant burrow

he savored carrots,
blankets, wrapping paper, and
sofa fabric...
the black bunny ruled
his den with iron teeth

if the door opens,
the dog will race down,
feet barely touching the stairs,
barking as if she were at the bottom
of a tree, alerting you
to a coon in the branches

she will watch the hall devotedly
for a rabbit who will not come,
whose sickness she smelled
in his last days, an odor that made her hide
in the bathroom as if his age
and decrepitude were her fault

he is gone but the memory
pulls her to the same spot
where she waits, nose trembling
as if the scent of hay and sweet black fur
surmounts all distances,
still reaching under the door.


Addendum: Thought maybe I should tell you the prompt, which was "The ________ said, you need."

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

Tulips and Hyacinths

I have heard [tulips] called bold and flaunting, but to me they seem modest grace itself, only always on the alert to enjoy life as much as they can and not be afraid of looking the sun or anything else above them in the face.
~Elizabeth von Arnim

American artist George Hitchcock settled in Holland in 1884 at age 34. His flower paintings are a lovely "vacation" in winter.

Tulip Culture, 1889
by George Hitchcock

Flower Girl in Holland, 1887
by George Hitchcock

The Stork's Nest
by George Hitchcock

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Men in rage strike those that wish them best.
~William Shakespeare, Othello

Good morning! Today's Wellness Wednesday post is inspired by a recent talk I had with a friend. She had been undeservedly raked over the coals by a loved one. I can think of other instances when that has happened. What to do in that situation?

* What to Do When You Live with Angry People: 7 Gentle Tips
* How To Deal With Angry People
* 5 Ways to Deal with Angry People
* Five Ways to Cope with Family Bullies
* An old post about healthy/unhealthy relationships

You may love somebody, but self-preservation really does need to kick in, especially if they have anger, disorder, or addiction issues that they aren't addressing. You don't want to be somebody's emotional (or physical!) punching bag. Take care of yourself.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Bridget Kibbey

...In the final suspense-filled moments, the harpist seemed to be gathering up baskets of opulent sound, bundles of arpeggios, floating them out into the concert hall.
~Richard Scheinin

Hat tip to Ariana for today's music. Harpist Bridget Kibbey and friends:

Speaking of Bach...sometimes I go back and listen to music from old Music Monday posts. Today, this Bach post made me tear up.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Invented by the Day

The work of art is always unfaithful to its creator... Art lays at a higher level; it says something more, and almost always, it says something different from what the artist wanted to say.
~Octavio Paz

Happy Poetry Friday! I like poems where time is a bit wibbly wobbly, and I haven't 100% settled into 2020 yet, so this poem by Octavio Paz appealed to me for today:

January First
by Octavio Paz
translated by Elizabeth Bishop with the author

The year's doors open
like those of language,
toward the unknown.
Last night you told me: tomorrow
we shall have to think up signs,
sketch a landscape, fabricate a plan
on the double page
of day and paper.
Tomorrow, we shall have to invent,
once more,
the reality of this world.

I opened my eyes late.
For a second of a second
I felt what the Aztec felt,
on the crest of the promontory,
lying in wait
for the time's uncertain return
through cracks in the horizon.

But no, the year had returned.
It filled all the room
and my look almost touched it.
Time, with no help from us,
had placed
in exactly the same order as yesterday
houses in the empty street,
snow on the houses,
silence on the snow.

You were beside me,
still asleep.
The day had invented you
but you hadn't yet accepted
being invented by the day.

read the rest here


Kathryn Apel has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Kat!

I just added this to my "originals" page this morning: When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A Cat (for Christie).

Ecce Homo

Sometimes, after seeing it for so long, I think to myself, son of mine, you are not as ugly as I thought you were in the beginning.
~Cecilia Giménez

Hi y'all,

You might think that I would have caught up with the blog now that the holidays are over, but you would be incorrect. I posted Wellness Wednesday on Tuesday because I was completely positive that it was Wednesday. I didn't realize my mistake until the end of the day.

I didn't get something together for Art Thursday before this morning, but at least I know what day it is, ha ha! So, I'm turning to a topic close to home-ish. My older daughter heard a podcast about the messed-up restoration of Spanish Jesus, aka Monkey Christ, aka Beast Jesus, and she was fascinated.

Here's some info about it from Christie Chu of Artnet:
In 2012, Cecilia Giménez, an 82-year-old widow and amateur painter, attempted to restore Ecce Homo, an almost century-old fresco of Jesus crowned with thorns in her local church in Borja, Spain.

Despite a valiant effort, the tragically failed restoration went viral and Giménez’s attempt was met with mockery and scorn. Images of the botched fresco swirled around Twitter and Facebook, inspiring a slew of memes and parodies now found on the Internet.

But, two years later, the village has reassessed their attitudes and turned their ridicule into gratitude, reports the New York Times. The viral images and memes gifted the rural town with free publicity—150,000 tourists from all over the world came to see Giménez’s artistic endeavor and visit the sanctuary overlooking Borja.

“Why are people coming to see it if it is such a terrible work of art?” asked Andrew Flack, an opera librettist who traveled to Borja for research on a new production. “It’s a pilgrimage of sorts, driven by the media into a phenomenon. God works in mysterious ways. Your disaster could be my miracle.”
Ariana told us about it and her sister painted one for her:

by Elena, after Cecilia Giménez

Miracles and disasters, all bound up together! Life and art.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


You are laden with beginnings.
~Lola Ridge

Respair is an interesting 15th century word because it sounds like "despair repair" and that's basically what it means, too: fresh hope or recovery from despair.

These dancers were filmed the first time they heard "Respair" by Tiny Leaves:

One suggestion Jan Tucker makes in an article about overcoming daily despair is to collect ideas.
She says, "Determine the key issue you’re struggling with and find a high-quality resource to begin collecting ideas...Plenty of resources to address your problem are at your fingertips on the Internet, in a bookstore or library, at a local group meeting or Meetup, or a seminar."
Sometimes physical and mental health issues are the main source of the problem and in that case, you would want to add doctors and therapists to the mix.

For more ideas: The Wellness Wednesday collection

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Fox

Old foxes want no tutors.
~Dutch proverb

Heddwyn Jones with a tame fox cub, Talysarn, Wales
photo by Geoff Charles

This song is one I remember singing, but I can't quite pinpoint when (my childhood, but maybe also my kids? just one of my kids?) Anyway, here's Ger O'Donnell and the Petersens:

Preston looks kind of foxy. Someone also told us the other night that they had to keep their dog away from us in case Preston was mistaken for a cat!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The genius that invents the future

Every book is like starting over again.
~Bruce Coville

Togo road by Jeff Attaway

How are you liking the new year? Three poems about newness for Poetry Friday:

What If This Road
by Sheenagh Pugh

What if this road, that has no held surprises
these many years, decided not to go
home after all; what if it could turn
left or right with no more ado
than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin...

read the rest here


Spell to Begin Again
by Ann DeVilbiss

I wake with a black shroud
draped over my head, because
of windows, because the sun
insists with its terrible heat.

I unravel myself to the light,
weak-knit as I am, spill
my limbs onto the floor
until they start to obey.

Each hour is molasses,
spooned into my maw...

read the rest here


by Lisel Mueller

It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
    it shakes sleep from its eyes
    and drops from mushroom gills,
      it explodes in the starry heads
      of dandelions turned sages,
        it sticks to the wings of green angels
        that sail from the tops of maples.

read the rest here


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

Lake George, NY

From 1918-1934, Georgia O'Keeffe spent part of every year - mostly extended summers - at Alfred Stieglitz's family estate, located just north of Lake George Village.

New York's Lake George for Art Thursday. My husband and I had our first date at Lake George. He spent an entire week's salary, such as it was :-)

Lake George Reflection, 1921-22
by Georgia O’Keeffe

Storm Cloud, Lake George, 1923
by Georgia O’Keeffe

My Shanty, Lake George, 1922
by Georgia O’Keeffe

Lake George NY
photo by emantk7

Lake George NY
photo by emantk7

Shore Path to Huletts, Lake George, N.Y.
Detroit Publishing Company postcards

Bath House and Bathers, Silver Bay, Lake George, N.Y.
Detroit Publishing Company postcards

Roger's Slide
The pictorial field-book of the Revolution
New York Public Library Digital Collection

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


In a survey of 2,000 Japanese men and women conducted by Central Research Services in 2010, just 31% of recipients considered work as their ikigai.
~Yukari Mitsuhashi

This week I heard about the Japanese concept of "ikigai" (pronounced ee-kee-guy) which means "reason for being."

This video can be helpful for people who are trying to figure out what they want to do professionally. It follows a Venn diagram that is contrary to the Japanese concept, though, because it has you getting paid for your ikigai -- as you see from the top quote, it doesn't always work that way.

One thing that struck me in this video was his suggestion to remember what you liked to do from ages 7-11 because those activities are things you truly love.

When I was that age, I liked to write, make puzzles, and design my dream house. My dream house had four floors and soo many rooms, including a fountain room, an ice cream room, a costume room, and a volcano room. I guess I haven't changed that much, but I would leave out the volcano now.

An ikigai diagram variant from Sloww:

You can try out the more traditional (job-related) Ikigai worksheet from Jos Nierop.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Teddy Swims

The storms are raging on the rollin’ sea
And on the highway of regret
Put your hand in mine and come with me
I’ll see that you don’t get wet
~Bob Dylan

For Music Monday, Teddy Swims:

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Catching up

Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.
~Marge Piercy

Hi folks! I tried to work ahead for the holidays but I didn't quite do it far ahead enough and I ended up kind of like this:

(In this scenario, though, I guess I am also the dad, picking myself up? Sometimes life is like that.)

So I didn't have anything for Wellness Wednesday. Belatedly, here are Lucy and Preston, resting companionably while each does their own thing. Lucy has her face wrapped up in a blanket because that's how she rolls. Acceptance and individuality...reasonable goals, right?

there really are two dogs in this photo

I didn't have anything for Art Thursday either, so here's a shot of Frida Kahlo-themed decorations for my older daughter's birthday this week. You can't really see the plates or napkins since I obviously didn't plan this out.

We had Frida facts on the walls. I was very impressed by the way Frida/her family rigged up her bed so she could paint from there. (Have you heard about Frida's health problems?) I guess I could have used it for Wellness Wednesday, too.

For Poetry Friday, I have gifts from poet friends. First up, an adorable tea poem and tea pocket from clever Irene:

Cinnamon tea steams
open November morning ~
words spice waiting page


Christie sent me a delightful and thoughtful poem swap package that included two poems, one of which was an ovillejo!

morning magic
lingers on the breeze
bringing secret poetry
to those who listen
with their soul

Christie says: This ovillejo was inspired by my neighbor's cats who constantly stalk my beloved backyard birds!

Have You Seen...

Have you seen black-capped chickadee?
    In the tree.
Have you seen northern cardinal red?
    Near the shed.
Have you seen bluejay loud and bold?
    On leaves of gold.

Let's hatch our plan, no time to waste.
    The hour is now, so we must haste.
It's time to pounce. We must be bold.
    In a tree, near shed, on leaves of gold!


Not a poem, but I got a big kick out of this crocheted barrette from dear Kat:


I also loved receiving Michelle Kogan's Cloister Remnants and wee bunny.

While I was typing this, a calendar of photos and poems by Jone Rush MacCulloch arrived! Thanks, Jone!

Still reading? Aren't you the best! My parents are in a virtual art exhibition. You might recognize one of my dad's pieces from this post.


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

Monday, January 6, 2020

Music Therapy

(Music therapy) can make the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between isolation and interaction, between chronic pain and comfort -- between demoralization and dignity.
~Barbara Crowe

Another rerun! This post is from 2011:


I've posted about art therapy. I've also talked about the importance of music education, which is, in its own way, therapeutic. Now, it's music therapy's turn.

What is music therapy?

How did music therapy begin as a profession?

Some info from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA): "The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th century discipline began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and professional, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It was soon evident that the hospital musicians needed some prior training before entering the facility and so the demand grew for a college curriculum. The first music therapy degree program in the world was founded at Michigan State University in 1944."

Who can it help?

The AMTA offers fact sheets on the uses of music therapy for various populations, such as persons in correctional & forensic settings, with Alzheimer's disease, young children, and in response to crisis & trauma. (Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been using music therapy.)

The World Federation for Music Therapy offers info cards in over a dozen different languages (they are designed for students who want to respond to questions they are frequently asked).

A few books:
* Music as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy Since Antiquity (expensive)
* The Healing Forces of Music: History, Theory, and Practice (not expensive)
* A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy: Theory, Clinical Practice, Research and Training

A bonus:
Life. Support. Music.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Two bits

Good morning, sweeties!


I planned ahead, but only through January 2nd! Whoops!

Two bits today (neither a poem, unfortunately).

* Malaka Gharib's challenge (via Austin Kleon) to make an 8-page zine about the last decade (don't spend more than 20 minutes on it, she suggests).

I just read about this challenge today so I haven't done it yet, but what a cool idea. I made my first zine in 2019 and I'm sure I'll make more this year.

* Listened to this on January 1st and it made me very happy. The soloists are wonderful.

I thought I didn't have a resolution this year, but I realized I do -- keeping a gratitude journal. I am trying to write in it every day. Almost didn't make it yesterday...would be a shame to miss during the first week!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Time and again

Year's end, all corners of this floating world, swept.
~Matsuo Basho

A Father Time rerun from 2014 today...

Closing the Book
John T. McCutcheon

Father Time
photo by Christopher Brown

photo by Ron Adams

New Year's Postcard, 1910

Sign Here, Please
German lithograph postcard, 1910

Vintage New Year's Card
photo by Dave

Janus, Waltham Abbey parish church
photo by Steve Day

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy 2020!

New Year's Day is every man's birthday.
~Charles Lamb

Preston celebrated his first birthday
recently. I have a twinge of regret that
this toy plays the birthday song.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you good surprises in 2020 :-)

We had a lovely New Year's Eve, with all the regular activities (fondue, good things jar, labyrinth, movie, ball drop). Looking forward to some lucky foods today. I would also like to make a vision board again.

Lucy is a good pillow

As always, the fun is mixed with the serious...I've been looking on with horror at the photos coming from the Australian fires. Two that really struck me were the kids trying to keep away from the fires by staying on a boat in the middle of a lake, and a burnt koala. The koalas! *sigh* (Sorry I don't have links, but you can imagine.) If you're wondering where you can contribute, here are some possibilities:

New South Wales RURAL FIRE SERVICE donation page
Australian Red Cross
Animal Welfare
Salvation Army Australian disaster appeal