Friday, December 2, 2016


The beauty is in the walking ― we are betrayed by destinations.
~Gwyn Thomas

Announcing the winner of my Kitty Hawk giveaway:

Our esteemed Poetry Friday host, Bridget Magee! Congrats, Bridget!

Two poems intended to soothe the spirit today.

Walking Blessing
by Jan L. Richardson

That each step
may be a shedding.
That you will let yourself
become lost.
That when it looks
like you’re going backwards
you may be making progress.
That progress is not the goal anyway,
but presence
to the feel of the path on your skin,
to the way it reshapes you
in each place it makes contact,
to the way you cannot see it
until the moment you have stepped out.


photo by Erin English

A Milkweed
by Richard Wilbur

What power had I
Before I learned to yield?
Shatter me, great wind:
I shall possess the field.


Wee Words for Wee Ones has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Bridget!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Who knows but this chance wild fruit, planted by a cow or a bird on some remote and rocky hill-side, where it is as yet unobserved by man, may be the choicest of all its kind, and foreign potentates shall hear of it, and royal societies seek to propagate it, though the virtues of the perhaps truly crabbed owner of the soil may never be heard of, -- at least, beyond the limits of his village?

...Every wild-apple shrub excites our expectation thus, somewhat as every wild child. It is, perhaps, a prince in disguise. What a lesson to man! So are human beings, referred to the highest standard, the celestial fruit which they suggest and aspire to bear, browsed on by fate; and only the most persistent and strongest genius defends itself and prevails, sends a tender scion upward at last, and drops its perfect fruit on the ungrateful earth.
~Henry David Thoreau

When I look at these pomological images (pomology -- the branch of botany that studies and cultivates fruit), I am delighted by the care that Amanda Almira Newton has given to the details. It reminds me of the way a poet notices the natural world.

I'm also a bit dismayed that the grand variety displayed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection is nowhere to be found in our grocery stores.

Golden Ball apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Black Ben apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Roman Stem apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Spitz apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Red Astrachan apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Pumpkin Sweet
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Goodwin apple
by Amanda Almira Newton
U.S.D.A. Pomological Watercolor Collection, Beltsville, MD

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bereavement tips

She, if she had to, would grieve wildly - with noise, mucus, paint on the canvas, blustery walks on beaches, curse words and exhausted sleep. But everyone grieves differently just as everyone loves in different ways.
~Susan Fletcher

For Wellness Wednesday, I'm thinking about everyone who has lost a loved one this year. Grieving during the holidays...what to do?


City of Hope offers these suggestions:

Grieve together. “There is a tendency for those grieving to withdraw from social interactions to mourn alone,” Folbrecht said. “But by sharing this experience with others, they will know that they are not alone in this ordeal and are better able to share, and ultimately work through, their feelings.”

Be prepared for interactions. “Mourners may also avoid socializing because they are afraid to burden others with their grief, a feeling that is amplified over the holidays since they may meet people they do not regularly see throughout the year,” Folbrecht said. To address that, Folbrecht suggests mentally preparing with how much (or little) they want to disclose about the situation to various social circles. Finally, mourners should be not be afraid to say "no" or "later" if the situation becomes too overwhelming.

Consider your traditions. One reason the holidays can intensify sadness is because cherished activities become a source of pain. Rather than focus on the loss, Folbrecht suggests mourners should examine what traditions they want to keep and practice to remember their loved ones. "Some traditions may be difficult to continue after the loss, so loved ones should consider replacing them with new activities that honors the death while helping loved ones through the grieving process," Folbrecht said.

Don't forget self care. “Grieving is a very exhausting process for both the mind and body, so it’s important to take a break for self care,” Folbrecht said. The holidays offer numerous opportunities for mourners to take their minds off bereavement, she added, suggesting that they volunteer at a food and clothing drive, write greeting cards to loved ones or simply check out the festive decorations in their neighborhoods. Activities like exercising, meditating and enjoying a massage will also help reduce the stress of the holidays.


from From Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief:

Discover Small Joys

As the holidays unfold, tune into small joyful moments, Apollon advises. "When you hear the laughter of children, focus on how good that feels. When you eat a piece of pie, really taste it. In the moment, it tastes so good -- and in that moment, you're outside your grief."Also, look for opportunities to laugh. "When you're laughing, your brain produces endorphins to boost the immune system," she says. "Give yourself permission to find things that make you laugh."


Here's a tip from Chesapeake Life Center's bereavement counselors:

Above all, communicate: Communicate what you can handle comfortably during this time to your friends and family. “Let folks know that you might need to take a break from festivities after a while,” Roberta Rook, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, said. Let them know it’s not because you don’t want to be with them, but because you need the time to recharge and gather yourself. Tell them whether or not it’s alright for them to talk about your loved one. Make them aware if you need to make changes in your role in family holiday responsibilities. “By relating your needs, you minimize the chances for misunderstandings and hurt feelings,” Rook said.


Another video, although this one focuses on depression during the holidays.


Lastly, here's Gayle Danley, Your Grief Girl

Monday, November 28, 2016

Alma Deutscher

Alma’s most important talent is the perfect connection between her inner world and the melodies she creates, which are so beautiful because they stem directly from this inner world. Few composers can write such tunes, which from the first moment are immediately impressed upon our memory, and thus turn into the possession of all those who listen to them.
~Ron Weidberg

Pre-teen composer, pianist, and violinist Alma Deutscher today.

From her web site: "Aged 10, Alma finished a full length opera, Cinderella. A chamber version of the opera was performed in 2015, and the full version will be premiered in Vienna in December 2016 under the patronage of Maestro Zubin Mehta."

Friday, November 25, 2016

All those cycles of the seasons

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.
~Madeleine L'Engle

Bookshop El Ateneo, photo by Josefina

Three poems from Women's Voices for Change: Redefining Life after Forty.

Used Book
by Julie Kane

What luck—an open bookstore up ahead
as rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,
and then to find the books were secondhand,
with one whole wall assigned to poetry;
and then, as if that wasn’t luck enough,

read the rest here


Word Pond
by Susan Kolodny

Go back, past the curtain of details, the wall
of chores, the grimy surfaces that obscure.
Go around the corners, under the broken fence,
crawl if you have to over moss, snail
slime, climb up the uneven hills

read the rest here


Her Art
by LaWanda Walters

I’d like to cry on Elizabeth Bishop’s shoulder.
I lost my mother’s engagement ring, for one thing.
Not your fault, she’d say. So much seems to want
to be lost. Even if, one day, in anger or grief
you threw it across the room or placed it somewhere
safe, the fact is, now, it’s gone. Just read my poem.

Remember? My mother’s watch was in that poem.
My losses are famous. Don’t cry on anyone’s shoulder—
even if I were available, I’m lost somewhere.

read the rest here


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

Thursday, November 24, 2016


All too often in the commercial world, we are overwhelmed with monumental images, distracting sound bites, and overall visual clutter. This exhibition causes each of us to pause quietly and look closely at the meticulous skill with which the subjects are rendered, as reflected in the patient attention to detail, artistic expression, and the ideal of perfection.
~Ken Rollins

Models today. Not the human kind -- the small-version-of-a-bigger-thing kind.

photo by Ian Usher

photo by Glamhag

Trafalgar Day, Greenwich Maritime Museum, London
Louis Vest

Verona Model Expo, 2013
Angelo Moneta

York Model Railway Exhibition
Peter Taylor

Lugano, Swiss Miniatur
Allan Watt

Set design model for Giuseppe Verdi's Otello, 1895
by Marcel Jambon (1848-1908)
photo by Gallica

York Model Railway Exhibition
Peter Taylor

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Cakes are healthy, too -- you just eat a small slice.
~Mary Berry

Back with more Wellness Wednesday! We all need a laugh sometimes, so today, we have The God of Cake from Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half:

My mom baked the most fantastic cake for my grandfather's 73rd birthday party. The cake was slathered in impossibly thick frosting and topped with an assortment of delightful creatures which my mom crafted out of mini-marshmallows and toothpicks. To a four-year-old child, it was a thing of wonder - half toy, half cake and all glorious possibility.

But my mom knew that it was extremely important to keep the cake away from me because she knew that if I was allowed even a tiny amount of sugar, not only would I become intensely hyperactive, but the entire scope of my existence would funnel down to the singular goal of obtaining and ingesting more sugar. My need for sugar would become so massive, that it would collapse in upon itself and create a vacuum into which even more sugar would be drawn until all the world had been stripped of sweetness.

So when I managed to climb onto the counter and grab a handful of cake while my mom's back was turned, an irreversible chain reaction was set into motion.

I had tasted cake and there was no going back. My tiny body had morphed into a writhing mass of pure tenacity encased in a layer of desperation. I would eat all of the cake or I would evaporate from the sheer power of my desire to eat it.

My mom had prepared the cake early in the day to get the task out of the way. She thought she was being efficient, but really she had only ensured that she would be forced to spend the whole day protecting the cake from my all-encompassing need to eat it. I followed her around doggedly, hoping that she would set the cake down - just for a moment.

Read the rest here