Tuesday, March 31, 2020


If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax.
~Christian Louboutin

What have your de-stressors been lately? I like meditations and relaxing music on YouTube (and am grateful to the people who make them available)!

I've been enjoying spring flowers.

Making pendants has helped me unwind. (I use fabric.)

I've also been mixing up some teas. (One of them is named for a place in Gaskell's North and South. It smells how Margaret Hale talks about it.)

Preston and Lucy can be calming, but I wouldn't count on it :-)

I want to check out Twitter all the time, like someone who is irresistibly drawn to looking at a train wreck, but I am definitely less stressed when I spend less time with the news.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The long view

We have been fooled into taking the short view. The trees know this.
~L.L. Barkat

L.L. Barkat wrote a lovely post called Pine Needle Tea and Small Kindnesses where she said:
“If Darwin had studied trees, we might have a whole different view of things now,” my daughter recently said to me. After supper, she’s been reading us The Hidden Life of Trees.

Trees, who can live for thousands of years, take the long view, and for this reason they are very, very kind to all their members. Relying on an underground network of communication via roots and fungi, they will sometimes do things like send sugar and water to threatened trees on the other side of the forest, temporarily giving up what they could take for themselves alone.

What the trees understand is that the health of the whole forest depends on the health of even its weakest members, for if they let the weak trees suffer and die, then too many gaps open up in the overstory, and then the wind can come in and wreak havoc, knocking even the strongest trees down. Trees, oddly, to our eye, will even take care of mother trees that died long ago, sending sugar and water to still-living roots whose trunk and branches turned to humus hundreds of years prior.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Poets, Unite! (Separately!)

It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.
~Winston Churchill

Welcome to the Poetry Friday round-up!

It's been quite a week, hasn't it? I certainly can't pretend it hasn't. We've seen highs and lows of people's behavior. Rich people who try to keep ventilators for themselves on one hand, and on the other, medical personnel who are working 12-hour (or more) days without the proper equipment. "Pro-life" politicians who are stone-hearted about saving lives vs. grocery store staff who come to serve an unpleasant public at risk to themselves. I hope we are able to show our gratitude to the people who are doing their best for us.

We can't accept bad behavior, but we do need to accept our current stay-at-home, social distancing circumstances. I've been thinking about acceptance because it came up when I did another exercise in The Crafty Poet. This exercise was to take a poem someone else wrote and write its opposite. I took a poem about hope and had to decide what its opposite would be. My first impulse was "despair," but I didn't want to write about that. When I thought about it, "acceptance" came to mind. Hope and acceptance are two sides of a useful coin.

by Tabatha Yeatts

it crackles like a fireplace
  inviting slumber in its hum,
it is the lightning-struck tree
  reborn as home to all who come.

it bursts from pine cones
  like a fist releasing its hold,
it treasures early daffodils
  tho they may end as frozen gold.

it is strands of light
  seeping through a drizzly haze,
it is the sturdy bench
  in the heart of the winding maze.


Welcoming your poetry, readership, resources, comfort, and concerns. Add your link here!

Sign-ups are coming!

logo by Elena

It's the same as usual (you can do 1-5 swaps) so if you already know what you want to do, you can email me (tabatha@tabathayeatts(dot)com).

P.S. I'm still gathering Things I Wish You Knew poems and Michelle is still collecting game poems at Today's Little Ditty. Both end March 31st!

Damien Kempf

From medieval tapestries, we know that slingers were capable of hitting birds in flight. They were incredibly accurate.
~Malcolm Gladwell

I read the above quote in the middle of the night (insomnia!) and I first thought he was talking about "singers." I sat there for a minute trying to figure out how that would work, and then I realized it was "slingers." ha!

For Art Thursday, medieval art as interpreted by Damien Kempf:

Ready for work

Enjoying my social media break

We all need a little cuteness in our lives
img from Bosch, Saints Triptych

I am writing

Love [BnF, Fr. 166, 15th c.]

Monday morning

Monday morning is from Noah’s Ark, [John Rylands, MS. Lat. 8, 12th c.]

A bonus:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.
~Catherine Drinker Bowen

photo by Ernie & Katy Newton Lawley

I am a bit scattered and am making things catch-as-catch can. I have a friend who is writing for three hours a day. My hat is off to her! Nancy Strauss from Creative Writing Now says:
Scientists have discovered that it's easier to form new habits when your normal routine is disrupted. For example, if someone wants to stop smoking, the ideal time might be during a move to a new city, or when switching jobs. When everything's up in the air, it gives you a chance to reinvent things from scratch.

So, if your normal life feels like it's been disrupted right now, it's an opportunity to reinvent yourself as a writer, to get more serious about writing, more creative, more productive.

...If you can...

- take some time away from the news and reread one of your favorite books, a book that you love and admire so much that it makes you want to write something as wonderful yourself.

- spend one or two minutes doing something related to your writing. Jot down a few ideas, write the first line of a poem or the name of a character you can write about. Even if you only spend a minute or two, it's a step forward.


In case you just feel like reading, here's a "pro-reading" quote:

The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
~Samuel Johnson

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Soothing content from Open Culture

Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

photo by Jeremy Keith

Open Culture thoughtfully said:
What about caregivers who suddenly find themselves providing 24-7 care for elders with dementia, or neuro-atypical adult children whose upended routine is wreaking havoc on their emotions? ... What can we do to help lighten those loads when we’re barred from physical interaction, or entering each other’s homes?

We combed through our archive, with an eye toward the most soothing, uplifting content, appropriate for all ages:

Soothing, Uplifting Resources for Parents & Caregivers Stressed by the COVID-19 Crisis

Monday, March 23, 2020

Bird Youngsters

All the people that we lost
Light the way when we're in the dark
~Little Dragon

For Music Monday, something upbeat from Little Dragon and a smooth groove from Se So Neon:*

* One translation of Se So Neon is "Bird Youngsters."

Sunday, March 22, 2020

An Isolation Wellbeing Daily To-Do List

There’s really no wrong way to move through this season as long as the choices you are making are choices made with kindness for yourself and your community.
~Lindsay Braman

A To-Do List by therapist Lindsay Braman:

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Switching Gears

Life is like a 10-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.
~Charles Schulz

I read an article last night about almost half of coronavirus patients having digestive symptoms and it threw me for a loop. I had already known that information about COVID-19 treatment is in flux, but I felt relatively settled in my theoretical plan (hydration, lung support, fever management).

This info suits the "hydration" part, but changes how to recognize whether someone has it. Apparently a lack of appetite and diarrhea are way more common than I realized. Dealing with diarrhea hadn't been on my radar. I wanted to mention it to y'all, because maybe this is new to you also.

* You can make your own electrolyte drinks (if someone in your family is losing liquids due to diarrhea or vomiting) or you can use something like nuuns (or, of course, Gatorade or Pedialyte).
* An old post about making plain water more palatable for people who don't drink it plain
* Do you like peppermint tea? That's something I like to have on hand when people need to have their stomachs settled.

It is certainly hard for me to plan out posts -- I don't know what I want to be saying the next day! xo

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Light sources at the ready

No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That's the only way to keep the roads clear.
~Greg Kincaid

Ugly Lamp contest at the KY State Fair
photo by rreihm

Can I tell you how much I love that there's an Ugly Lamp contest at the Kentucky State Fair? Yay for things that are wacky and creative :-) I also love Kathryn Petruccelli's mom. You'll see why in this week's poem:

by Kathryn Petruccelli

My mother used to tell me
there was a time
she kept a closet full of lamps
so whenever one of her kids
broke one, she’d sweep up
and pull another out.

I imagine her trolling
the Saturday morning garage sales
of the ’70s, buying every cheap,
ugly thing that lit, handing over a dollar,
50 cents, maybe haggling them down
to a quarter. A woman with a stockpile
of light sources at the ready
while her children flipped
like gymnasts through the living room:

my brother leaping for all he was worth
toward the old brown sectional,
the rug underneath a hot pit of lava;

read the rest here


Have you read Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale? I gave it two thumbs up when I read it a long time ago. Might be good reading while you're at home.


For info about my Things I Wish You Knew project (and the TLD March challenge), visit this post.

Michelle Kogan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!

Engravings of Venice

Streets flooded. Please advise.
~Robert Benchley

I'm so specific today, aren't I? Venice, Italy:

Venice: Grand Canal, Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute Church
Unknown engraver

Venezia panoramic c1850
Adolphe Rouargue

At the Santa Maria della Salute church in Venice
After a painting by G. Schönleber

Venice, The Grand Canal (woodcut).
Henri Théophile Hildibrand, 1887

St Marks Square in Venice
After Luca Carlevarijs

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

At-Home Activities

Development is a series of rebirths.
~Maria Montessori

I was asked for ideas about things to do at home with kids and it seemed like a good topic for Wellness Wednesday. What you're going to want to do will depend on the age and interests of your kids, the weather and outdoor surroundings of your place, and what supplies you have at home. So, lots of variables.

Some suggestions include: letting each child plan a day, meaning let them be in charge of the activities that day (perhaps picking one art activity, one outdoor/game/physical activity, and one cooking/food activity). You can have the first Special Day yourself to show them how it's done.

Another possibility is making a family newspaper. My younger two kids loved doing this and made quite a few. They had articles in them like "The Mystery of the Missing Keys" and "The Laundry Conundrum."

Sometimes it's fun
to take pictures of random things

They also wrote a short story about our pets and my parents' pets ("The Battle of Staunton"), which they were turning into a movie before they realized that stop-motion animation takes forever...Maybe if they were doing it now, something that takes forever would be a good idea.

Pinterest is pretty awesome for ideas, so I made a Pinterest board as a starting place for activities (see below). I also included a link to all my DIY posts.

I made this fridge magnet
based on something I saw on Pinterest

* My Things to Do At Home with Kids Pinterest board
* All the DIY posts from The Opposite of Indifference
* The Metropolitan Opera has free nightly opera streams. Fantastic!
* Open Culture has terrific resources, such as free language class links, free audio books, free online movies, and free online courses.
* Free puzzles from Penny Dell Puzzles
* Melissa Wiley has advice for people who are suddenly homeschooling
* Skillshare has tips on working from home and the link between creativity and wellness

Saturday, March 14, 2020

You matter

Preston and Patsy

My daughter Ariana gave me permission to share a post of hers from Facebook here:

Everywhere I turn there is another reminder that the world is scary and I am medically vulnerable. As the crisis continues to escalate, I am trying to find new ways to soothe and distract myself. I’m sharing this pep talk to myself because I know I’m not the only one:

You may wake up with fear every single day until this blows over. That makes sense. That’s okay. Your heart is big enough to hold this fear, and it still has room for other emotions too.

There is a point where researching is productive, and there is a point where it becomes obsessive, a way to feel a false sense of control. Reading 100 articles with the same 5 tips or knowing precisely how many cases there are in your state will not fix your immune system. Focus on what you can control. Make a good, detailed plan and then watch a gardening show or read a detective novel.

Now may be the right time to have a movie marathon or reread a favorite book from childhood. A lucky rock, a beloved stuffed animal. Is there any small way to feel a little braver, a little more whole?

Skype your therapist, cuddle your pets, text your friends. Ask them how they are holding up, and when they ask you, be honest. It can be a huge relief to vent and commiserate. That said, if it feels like 100% of your conversations are being pulled into the black hole of the coronavirus and your brain can’t produce a single unique thought, google “questions to ask your friends” or “36 questions to fall in love.” It may feel silly to talk about which celebrity you’d want as a dinner guest or whether you’d rather have a baby fox or a baby koala as a pet, but it may also be exactly what you need.

Insight Timer is a great app with thousands of free guided meditations. Grounding yourself in the present moment is the antidote to mourning things that have not yet come to pass (and may never come to pass). Maybe gardening or watching the Bachelor or crafting or cuddling your dog is your version of meditation. Whatever way you meditate, meditate.

Reflect on everything you have already survived. You are here. You matter. Your heart is big enough to hold this-- even this.

A caveat: I know there are young, healthy people who feel invincible and need to take the coronavirus much more seriously… this post is not for you! Stop reading this post and go wash your hands. This is for my friends with anxiety, my friends who take immunosuppressants, my friends with asthma and mast cell disease and other serious chronic health issues, my friends who have loved ones at risk-- for anyone who feels doomed and overwhelmed. You are not alone.


I think I've posted this song before, but it seems like a good time to bring it back. A song from Waitress, sung by Natalie Weiss and Brad Greer:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Still wings

She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.
~Ariana Dancu

Encouragement today from Sarah Cannavo.

"White Wings"
Stained Glass Sculpture by Edgar Phillips
photo by David Merrett

Fallen But Not Down
by Sarah Cannavo

Your wings might be dirty,
white feathers darkened with mud
and blood, stiffened by sweat and
burned to peeling by the sun
constantly beating down at your...

read the rest here


For National Poetry Month, I'd like to share poems on my blog with the general theme of "Things I Wish You Knew..." with an emphasis on physical/mental health.

For instance: * Someone with dyslexia talking about why a particular font is easier to read * Someone with POTS talking about why they sometimes use a wheelchair even though they can walk * Someone with celiac talking about unexpected problem foods * Someone who had a gunshot wound talking about a ramification of it * Someone with anxiety talking about why they might avoid someone they like

This is just a tiny sampling of possibilities. The idea is to inform the reader about something that is outside their realm of experience, something that is maybe not that obvious. Your poem can be directed toward any age group -- I'm leaving it open. Please send poems no later than March 31st to tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com. (Earlier is great!)


March TLD padlet: I am in the spotlight this month on Today's Little Ditty with a game poem challenge!


Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Matt!

Celtic Knots

Love does not remain within the heart, it flows out to build secret tabernacles in a landscape.
~John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

In honor of the upcoming St Patrick's Day holiday, Celtic knots:

Celtic circle and roses
photo by Dianna Ott

Monmouth ceramic table
photo by Jambamkin

Baptismal font in the parish church of St Mary Magdalene, Eardisley, Herefordshire
photo by Poliphilo

Celtic Circle Shirt
Eden, Janine and Jim

Agnus Dei, Tállara, Lousame, Galicia, a probable copy from the church of Saint Salome, in Santiago
photo by Froaringus

Celtic knot
by Nevit Dilmen

* You can read about types of Celtic knots on the Ancient Symbols site.
* Etsy has cool Celtic knot stuff like pendants, garden art, and quilt patterns.
* Make your own Celtic knot necklace.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Worry dolls and stones

Her forehead was a maze of anxious little grooves, from a lifetime of wondering about whether everyone within range was OK.
~Tana French

I thought maybe people were worried and might find worry dolls and stones helpful for Wellness Wednesday. Let a doll hold on to your worries while you get a good night's sleep. The directions call for using a small version of a clothes pin, but I went out and found a little twig to make a doll with. (My husband said, "Did you forget the arms?" and I told him the directions didn't have arms. Honest!)

How to make worry dolls

How to make worry stones

I couldn't find out whether this was really something Mark Twain said. Sounds like it might be:

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.
~Mark Twain

One last link:
Don't feel bad about feeling bad

Monday, March 9, 2020

Bootsy's Basic Funk Formula

My mother named me Bootsy. My birth name is William Earl Collins. I asked her why and she just said, “Because you looked like a Bootsy.” I left it at that.
~Bootsy Collins

For Music Monday, Bootsy Collins explains basic funk formula:

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Labeling Keys

When I was 12, I forgot the keys to my parent's apartment. So I simply climbed up seven floors to get in.
~Alain Robert, urban climber

There's something so intriguing about keys.

photo by Ivan Radic

Labeling Keys
by Taylor Mali

Though not a secretive man,
my father understood combination locks and keys.
Yes, he was a Yale man. And he had a love affair with brass.
And he had a key rack as organized as the writing on the label of each key was neat.

It’s the same angel that made him label and date
butcher‐paper­‐wrapped leftovers in the refrigerator
with Christmas‐present creases & hospital corners
and little 2 by 2 post‐it notes with possible suggestions
for the leftover’s use: “Turkey scraps. November twenty­‐three.
Yummy treat for the D‐O‐G?”
secured with (count ‘em) one, two rubber bands,
one for snugness, the other for

But there’s an art to labeling keys.
The one you keep to your neighbor’s house
cannot say on it:
“Neighbor’s house across the street.
In Maine for all of May.”
these are labels you will not see at our house.
Instead, my father wrote in his own argot,
in a cryptographic language of oblique reference;
the key to the burglar alarm he called THE SIREN’S SONG,

read the rest here

You can also watch it here:

Bonus from Taylor Mali's blog: A poetry assignment based on a poem by Danusha Laméris

Michelle has an interview with me and monthlong poetry challenge at Today's Little Ditty!

Rebecca Herzog has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Becky!


You are afraid of me, because I talk like a sphinx.
~Charlotte Brontë

On a recent visit to Hillwood in D.C., I was taken with the sphinxes. Hillwood has two terracotta sphinxes that were made in the 1700s: one representing Marie Antoinette, the other Marie Therese, Princess de Lamballe.

A sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and body of a lion. They are guardians, and may be benevolent or not. In Greek tradition, they ask riddles...and you'd better get the answer right!

Sphinx at Hillwood
photo by Maia C

Sphinx statue on the Red Bridge, Aschaffenburg, Germany
photo by Maulaff

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
photo by Daniel H. Tong

Sphinx de la fontaine du Palmier, place du Châtelet, Paris
carved by Henri-Alfred Jacquemart

Sphinx, Chiswick House, London
photo by Orangeaurochs

by Odilon Redon, 1889

Illustration from the book Gargantua
Gustave Doré

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Fortunately muggles are delightfully oblivious

Begin your story with a sentence that will immediately grab hold of your listener’s ears like a surly nun in a Catholic school.
~Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris is just as entertaining as the above quote indicates. The comments for this video note that "she’s trying and failing to remain inconspicuous among muggles." 'Nuf said. Check out her apartment!

Hat tip to Bonnie Boo for the video!

Monday, March 2, 2020

An MM List

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
~attributed to Lao Tzu

When I decided to put together a list of favorite Music Monday posts, I knew it was pretty much a case of Mr. Mack giving Mrs. Mack a stereo system. (In our family, that expression refers to when somebody gives a present that they will use the most themselves.) Here's your post for today! I am looking forward to using it! :-)

I didn't know how to divide a bunch of them, so I did it by song speed. There were some I wanted a middle designation for, but "Middler" seemed a little funny.

Caravan Palace: Miracle
Caro Emerald: That Man
City of the Sun: Everything
COIN: Simple Romance
Eric Clapton: Watch Out for Lucy
Fairground Saints: Can't Control the Weather
Isley Brothers: Fight the Power
J. Rabbit: Happy Things
Laura Mvula: Green Garden
Marina Satti: ΜΑΝΤΙΣΣΑ
Miranda Lambert: Gunpowder and Lead
Mint Royale: Blue Song
Old Dominion: No Such Thing as a Broken Heart
Otava Yo
Paolo Nutini: New Shoes
Radney Foster: A Little Revival
Revivalists: Keep Going
Saint Motel: Just My Type
SG Lewis: Aura
Tom Misch feat. De La Soul: It Runs Through Me
Vulfpeck: Animal Spirits

Allen Stone: Consider Me
Bluey Robinson and Jeremy Passion: Just Friends
Bobby McFerrin: Fix Me Jesus
Brooke Fraser: C.S. Lewis Song
Devin Dawson: All on Me
Pentatonix: Can't Sleep Love
PJ Morton feat. YEBBA: How Deep is Your Love
Samm Henshaw: Broke
Sarah Jarosz: Ring Them Bells
Steve Winwood: Can't Find My Way Home

Bach: Partita N°3 prelude
Beethoven: Ode to Joy
Beethoven: Symphony #7
Berlioz: Hungarian March
Brahms: Hungarian Dance #6
Dvořák: New World Symphony
Khachaturian: Masquerade
Mozart: Horn Concerto No.3
Rimsky-Korsakov: Snow Maiden
Rossini: Figaro
Saint-Saëns: Danse Bacchanale
Smetana: Die Moldau

Eric Whitacre: Alleluia
Orlande de Lassus: Le lagrime di San Pietro
Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week
Handel: Messiah (For Unto Us a Child is Born)