Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sketchbooks, petticoats, and alpenstocks

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
~William James

Judith Wright
born May 31, 1915

An Australian poet for Poetry Friday. It's past Mother's Day, but Father's Day is coming up and some people have birthdays, and the Year owes us anyway. Judith Wright:

Request to a Year
by Judith Wright

If the year is meditating a suitable gift,
I should like it to be the attitude
of my great-great-grandmother,
legendary devotee of the arts,

who, having eight children
and little opportunity for painting pictures,
sat one day on a high rock
beside a river in Switzerland

and from a difficult distance viewed
her second son, balanced on a small ice-floe,
drift down the current towards a waterfall
that struck rock-bottom eighty feet below,

while her second daughter, impeded,
no doubt, by the petticoats of the day,
stretched out a last-hope alpenstock
(which luckily later caught him on his way).

Nothing, it was evident, could be done;
And with the artist's isolating eye
My great-great-grandmother hastily sketched the scene.
The sketch survives to prove the story by.

Year, if you have no Mother's day present planned,
reach back and bring me the firmness of her hand.


A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!


The hydrangea’s color ranges from white to blue to pink and purple, determined by the acidity level of the soil. (Acidic soils produce blue flowers, neutral soils produce pale cream petals, and alkaline soils result in pink or purple.)

I remember reading somewhere that looking at flowers can lower your blood pressure. They meant in person, but maybe flowers in art can also help.

Hydrangeas today for Art Thursday:

Wren with Hydrangeas
by Watanabe Seitei (Watanabe Shotei), c. 1906, color on silk

Still Life with Irises and Hydrangea
by Richard La Barre Goodwin

Hydrangea and Swallow

Hydrangeas and Other Garden Flowers
by John Ross Key, 1882

Time is The Enemy
by Gerard Byrne, 2014

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pink Unicorn

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine

Hi folks,

Today's post is about something charming that's been happening near me. A runner decided to wear a pink unicorn costume while she takes her near-daily jog and can I tell you how much people love it?? She posts messages on our community messageboard about where she will be running that day and parents bring their kids to see her. So much community affection for the pink unicorn.

photo by Steve Hutt

From a Bethesda Magazine article by Krista Brick:
She’s happy to stop and kick a soccer ball, chat with children and just spread her rainbow-and-sparkle disposition. It’s a demeanor she learned as a Disney employee.

“When you work at Disney, you have to put anything bothering you aside when you are on the park. It’s the same when I put on the unicorn,” she said.

... [Pink Unicorn] knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles. She had to hang up her sneakers in 1995, when she was hit by a car, injuring her ankle knee and hip. Perseverance and determination helped her build back her strength and endurance to tackle that first marathon in 2004.

“Being injured gave me patience and endurance. It gave me the knowledge that sometimes you don’t know when the finish line is,” she said. “That’s much like the pandemic. Like you don’t know: Will we get out of this in three months, six months, two years? Being hit taught me patience and that you can control a certain amount of things for yourself, (then) some of it is the luck of the draw.”

Wise words!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Nowhere else to go

So, I don't know what's ahead
So, I don't know
But oh, there's nowhere else to go
~Sea Wolf

For Music Monday, a fan-submitted pandemic video. Sea Wolf:
The new Sea Wolf album Through A Dark Wood came out on March 20th, 2020, just as Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and the whole world was shutting down. We all go through 'dark woods' - aka hard times - in our lives, but I never thought we'd all be entering into one together at the very moment this album was released.

Since then, I received so many messages from fans and friends saying how the album was perfect for this moment, getting them through etc.. As difficult as the Pandemic is, I've repeatedly been moved by the glimpses of solidarity we are experiencing as humans through all of this. So when it came time to do a video for Blood Pact, based on what people had been saying about the album and what I'd been feeling, it felt right to make a direct connection between the song - which is about being in a hard place and finding courage in the face of fear and anxiety of the unknown ahead - and all of our lives right now.

So in late April we put out a call for fans around the world to make something with us, by sending us video clips documenting slices of their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. Within days we received an avalanche of videos. We were not able to include everything that was sent, but this video is made up entirely of clips they sent.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Zine III

I swiftly discovered that there are few things in DIY (and possibly life) that can't be solved with a large mallet, a bag of ten-centimetre nails and some swearing.
~Monty Hall

Hi y'all! Having a hectic week and I didn't know what to share today so I made another colorblock zine. (The above DIY quote doesn't exactly apply to this, but I liked it anyway. If you make a zine that it does apply to, show me!)

* How To Make A Zine
* I've been wondering what to do with my zines. Put them in an album? Give them away? Leave them in books or ?

Beyond LiteracyLink has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Carol!

Street Organs

The magic of the street is the mingling of the errand and the epiphany.
~Rebecca Solnit

Vintage public art today in the form of street organs:

Dutch street organ of the Five Figures Cabinet
originally built by Gasparini

Museum speelklok tot pierement

Festival de musique mécanique de Dijon 2015 (Côte d'Or, Bourgogne, France)
François de Dijon

Antique Band Organ, 1892, Germany
Ruth Organs

Limonaire Frères street organ fet Zonnetje

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Cards and tickets

As much as you’ve changed during your time here, more change is coming. You’re going to continue to evolve in unforeseen ways. You are full of complexities and wonders that haven’t even begun to surface. Life’s unpredictability will draw these out and what defines you now will be mere shades and hues of a more vibrant you over the next five, 10, 50 years.
~Octavia Spencer

Y'all seem to like my silly posts on celebrations, so here's another. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated my son's birthday and graduation.

My "card" for Dash's graduation was a little Jeopardy game. He and his girlfriend took a Jeopardy tryout test thingie. Maybe they'll get to be on the show someday. I customized the categories: ceremonies (because graduation), candidates (because he's been a campaign manager for over a year), state flags (he knows a lot about flags), and quotable women (in honor of his candidate). I got the questions from a collection of crowd-sourced questions.

Before the game started, Elena guessed that one of the "Quotable Women" would be Eleanor Roosevelt, and then wouldn't you know that the answer to the first "Quotable Women" question was Eleanor Roosevelt! (But Elena didn't guess her because she thought it couldn't be! Ha.)

Answer: Commencement!

Crossing the graduation finish line!

A couple of days later, we celebrated Dash's birthday. His birthday theme was "vintage movie theater" in honor of his history thesis. My husband hung four sets of red (vinyl) curtains. You really felt like you *arrived* by the time you made it through all four! We put up a bunch of vintage etiquette posters...they were pretty obsessed with hat-removal back then, rightfully so:

Dash had decided to shave his beard on his birthday (so N95 masks could fit well), so I added that to his "ticket":

"Strictly formal"!

Next up: a family writing project. Five of us have created characters...the idea is that a story develops through the letters the characters write each other. Or something like that. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Rich on personality

Honey, I know ain't nothing
wrong with your ears

For Music Monday, Baby I'm a Star by Prince and Brazilian Grooves from My Analog Journal:

Thursday, May 14, 2020

One little western star

I see America, not in the setting sun of a black night of despair ahead of us, I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God. I see great days ahead, great days possible to men and women of will and vision.
~Carl Sandburg

Windows by Judy Dean

I shared At A Window in 2010 but I felt like bringing it back. It makes me think of Sonnet 29 (Shakespeare) and Sonnet XXX (Millay)...probably someone could write a paper about those connections. Here's Carl Sandburg:

At a Window
by Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!
But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.


Jama Rattigan has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jama!

Matusmoto Shunsuke

Matsumoto was born on April 19, 1912, in Shibuya, Tokyo, as Shunsuke Satō...Matsumoto contracted cerebrospinal meningitis which caused the loss of his hearing. Subsequently he developed an interest in becoming a painter...Matsumoto died at the age of 36 on June 8, 1948, from heart failure aggravated by tuberculosis and bronchial asthma.

So many of Matusmoto Shunsuke's artworks appealed to me that I could have come up with a completely different set to share. I didn't know anything about his sad story when I decided to feature him for Art Thursday, but I had noticed that he didn't look very old in any of his self-portraits.

Tree-lined Street
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

On the Street, 1940
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

Talking on the Street
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

Cityscape, 1939 Feb
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

Self-Portrait, 1941
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

Nikolai Cathedral and Hijiri-Bridge
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

Portrait of the Artist
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

Scene in Yokohama
by Matusmoto Shunsuke

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wee accomplishments

Gratitude is a many-colored quality, reaching in all directions.
~Faith Baldwin

Hi y'all. What's up?

The other day, I GroupMe'd a photo to my husband and children of a tiny squished up tube of toothpaste I found in my younger daughter's bathroom, naming her "winner of getting the most out of a tube of toothpaste." She said she appreciated having her hard work be noticed (and also said that she wasn't done with it!).

Afterwards I thought maybe there were other folks who deserved wee pats on the back. Have you done anything you think deserves a "way to go!"? Perhaps you learned how to turn a doorknob with your elbows (something I wished I could do today), or kept a plant alive, or managed to find soft toilet paper. Maybe you figured out how to use technology that had heretofore stumped you. Maybe you made an assortment of unusual ingredients work somehow. Maybe you calmed somebody down. Maybe you were that somebody!

In case you are ready for a pat on the back, here one is, all official!

For You

Acta est fabula: plaudite!
The performance is done; applaud!

Monday, May 11, 2020


Ever since the world ended
I don't go out as much
-Mose Allison

This song is one I hadn't heard for ages, but came to mind recently. For Music Monday, Mose Allison:

Thursday, May 7, 2020

TIWYK Collection

He who loves understands, and he who understands loves.
~Paul Tournier

photo by Harry W. Yeatts, Jr.
logo by Elena

Rounding up the links from my 2020 National Poetry Month project: poems about "Things I Wish You Knew." I appreciate everyone who joined me, either as a poet, reader, or information contributor. There are so many more things we don't know! Keep your ears and heart open.

* Why Use A Wheelchair When You Can Walk? (ambulatory wheelchair users)
* Comforting Anxiety by Michelle Kogan (anxiety)
* Relief by Kat Apel (bladder cancer)
* In Syria by Jan Godown Annino (The Cat Man of Aleppo)
* Save the Villi! (celiac)
* Taylor's Shots (diabetes, Type 1)
* What I wish you knew about me by Elizabeth Steinglass (dyslexia)
* Ode to the Low Salt Diet by Janice Scully
* Remember That Time When by Mary Lee Hahn (lymphedema)
* I Wish You Knew by Carol Varsalona (the pandemic)
* What I Know by Linda Baie (Parkinson's dementia)
* Poems from "On Track" by Kat Apel (poor proprioceptive sense)
* I Wish You Knew by Linda Mitchell (reach out)
* Not for Kids by Heidi Mordhorst (trauma)


Today's poem is by Ishihara Yoshiro. Could our spirits, our imaginations, our dreams fly up into the sky? Yoshiro saw us, human arrows. An excerpt of his poem "Wheat":

Remember the incredibly gentle wheat stalk
which holds its countless arrows fixed
to shoot from the bowstring—
you, standing in the same position
where the wind holds it.

— Ishihara Yoshiro [trans. Naomi Koriyama & Edward Lueders]


Today's Little Ditty has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Michelle!

Not an Art Thursday post

Just about a month from now I'm set adrift, with a diploma for a sail and lots of nerve for oars.
~Richard Halliburton

Hello! I am preoccupied with Dash's graduation and his birthday, so I don't have an Art Thursday post for today. (We're having an early graduation celebration for pandemic reasons.) (Has it been four years since his last graduation already??)

Look what I found? The first day of kindergarten.

Complete with Harry Potter backpack

Dash while studying abroad 2019

This is a bonkers time to graduate. I would be more concerned about Dash finding his way if he hadn't sought out "the road less traveled" on a regular basis. I worried when his part-time jobs in college had overnight hours (I am a huge fan of sleep!), but it certainly prepared him for challenges. 2019 was probably his most challenging year least it was until 2020 came along!

Congrats, Class of 2020! You are one-of-a-kind!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

A walk for Lucy's birthday

From the dog's point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.
~Mabel Robinson

I don't know what to do for Wellness Wednesday, so how about we walk the dogs?

We have a mask basket. Help yourself (my mom makes them):

Can you take a leash? Sometimes two is a bit much:

The neighbor's cat is not afraid of dogs. She just wants petting, and lots of it:

Peonies might be my favorite flower. What's yours?

The view from the stone bridge:

Coming back home:

Thanks for joining us!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Save the Villi!

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.
~Ann Wigmore

Here's the last poem of my National Poetry Month project, Things I Wish You Knew. I'll share all the links on Friday.


In the days when Daniel felt bad
but didn't know why,
he ate
whatever he wanted.

Eating whatever you want
sounds better than being
very very careful,
but he likes it better now.

Before, Daniel was like a runner
who moved his legs the way runners do,
but his body stayed in place.
Running running running...

but not getting anywhere.

Before, his insides were a
mystery to him. He didn't know
that every time he ate a particular
kind of food, his immune system

attacked little parts of his gut
that help food give you energy,
and all the other things
food does for you.

So instead of his food giving him energy,
it made him tired. He didn't know
what was going on, but he felt it.
Every day it got worse.

Until finally a doctor ran tests
and realized Daniel had celiac,
and his villi needed

(villi are the parts of his gut
that were being attacked)
The only thing that would
save his villi

so his food could do its job,
was to stop eating things
that made his body

That meant he had to stop
eating gluten,
which is in wheat, rye, and barley.
Rye and barley aren't too hard to avoid,

but wheat is everywhere!
Cakes, pies, bagels, muffins,
crackers, cookies, bread, pasta,
the list is long...

Fortunately for Daniel,
you can still have cakes, pies
and all those things,
IF they are made from gluten-free flour.

So now his villi feel better
and his food does what it should.
These days, he's a runner
who can speed ahead!

-Tabatha Yeatts


* Beyond Celiac shares fast facts about celiac.
* Jenny Levine Finke answers 12 Questions About Celiac Disease I’m Asked Most
* Resources for people who have recently been diagnosed with celiac

Sunday, May 3, 2020


The human body has limitations. The human spirit is boundless.
~Dean Karnazes

Two poems for TIWYK taken from Kat Apel's middle grade verse novel, ‘On Track,’ published by UQP, 2015.

TOBY: Assessment

‘The OT is an
occupational therapist,’
Mum tells me as we drive.

I nod,
face straight ahead
and try to tell myself
that everything will be okay.

The OT is younger
than I imagined.
She says to call her Lisa.

I feel squirmy about
what Lisa’s going to ask me.
But I’m here and it’s
my choice.
I don’t like it, but I don’t like
what my hands write either
and I want to fix it.

Lisa gives me a pencil and paper.
I have to ‘scribe’ a passage
and I think,

No way!
This is what I hate.
Please don’t judge me on my handwriting.

The lines get closer and closer,
the words smaller and smaller
and the clock
ticks louder and louder
as my eyes blur,
my hand burns and
letters sprawl
out of shape,
out of place,
out of control,
out of time.


‘I’m sorry,’
I mutter.
‘I couldn’t go any faster.
My hand hurts
and the lines kept
jumping and …

I just can’t write neat.’


TOBY: Knots

Lisa asks me questions
and gets me to read
and predict patterns
like I’m a baby.

I think she’s assessing
my brain and I want to yell,
I’m not stupid!
I can do this stuff!

But then Lisa gives me muscle exercises
on the floor
and she ties me in knots
with my own body.


Info Kat shared from Sensory Direct:

"Proprioception is the sense and awareness of our own body’s position and movement. It is our awareness of our body’s orientation in space, and the direction, speed, and extent of the movement of our body and limbs. This information is detected by sensory receptors in our muscles, ligaments, and joints, and then processed through the central nervous system … Poor proprioception makes maintaining bodily posture and moving with a feeling of safety and security difficult. It affects awareness of the position of the body, arms, and legs.

A child with a poor proprioceptive sense may…

* play roughly; pushing too hard, shouting, jumping, or running excessively
* appear clumsy
* have poor fine motor skills, finding writing and drawing difficult
* display repetitive and self-stimulatory behaviour such as spinning, rocking or fidgeting
* like to chew on their fingers, clothes, pens, toys, or other objects
* appear uncoordinated and have difficulty with large motor skills such as jumping, climbing, or bike riding
* frequently bump into other people and objects"