Saturday, October 31, 2020

A picture is worth a thousand words... and a few colorful words from me

Bill and I bought fast food lunch and headed to the park. When we came upon this tree, the colors were so vibrant, the lime greens shocking, the yellows blinding, the oranges warm as a sunshine... we had to get out of the car and take a photo. I am so grateful for my eyesight and nature's gift. 

The following poem was published in Quivre River anthology, 11/10.
I wrote it after visiting my best friend in New Hampshire who was
suffering from memory loss. This is one of MY favorite memories.

Hitching a Ride on a Song

Bacon sizzles on wisps of wood smoke and weaves
through autumn leaves in hues so bright it makes me squint. 
Outside my best friend’s cabin, I watch the morning sun scorch 
the surface of Newfound Lake and ignite the tree-tops. 

A breeze dumps nature's treasures at my feet 
like contraband from a bad boy’s pockets.
Enthralled at the frisky fall foliage, I set my coffee mug down
imagine slurping cherry Kool-aid from the red sugar maples, and

swallowing the butterscotch nectar of yellow elms, sucking fire-orange 
extract from burnished oaks, tinting my tongue with evergreen elixir. 
I guzzle a gallon of happiness. 
In one sweet swill 
I devour my morning blend. 

Loons in love stir the stillness as my dear friend wanders 
onto the porch searching for me and her short term memory. 
She hovers over my shoulder. I silently curse her brain cancer. 
She lowers her head, raises her voice, draws her robe tight and belts 
out an old Janis Joplin song from our youth.

“Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz…”
 Our voices blend, 
peal over the White Mountains, tumble down a lush meadow, 
quiver on a stream, bottom out in a valley and echo through the woods –
a timeless melody hitchhikes on her long-term memory. 

For a moment we are vibrant, young, 
climbing mountains, swimming seas, rocking babies, 
traipsing across tundra as we did forty years ago 
when we met as next door neighbors in Alaska. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The cat and his man, the woman and her pen

Silly Sassy boy can be found snoozing under Bill's cozy cover, but this is taking it a bit too far.
He saw Bill dozing and decided to use him as a perch to gaze out at the traffic passing by. These two are inseparable. I am considering writing an essay about the antics of Bill and his best buddy.

Writing News
 So I have been in a writing lull, or let's call it what it really is, a funk. Maybe it is the cold weather, shorter days, winter, and the political nonsense. It is the end of the month and I looked a few days ago at my submission calendar. It was blank for October. So I started submitting, so far four stories. Two were accepted. 

Just when you are ready to quit, DON'T; give it one more try. That's what I did. People say I am a prolific writer. But even prolific writers have their days. In my case almost a month!

Rest if you must, but do not quit. Follow your dreams your passions.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The kid got into my stash. And YOU could win a contest


I am an addict, and my great grandson got into my stash. Check out the results.

Three-year-old Alex spent the weekend. I discovered that he had discovered my coveted Dove dark chocolate, red foil-wrapped squares. "I like your candy," he said with a big messy grin. He needed his mouth and face wiped twice. 

He was so energetic he wanted to climb a tree. So when I saw my neighbor leave, I walked him to a tree in her yard that was perfect for his little hands. He expended a bit of that energy trying to figure out how to make the big climb.

If YOU are a chocolaholic, check out this fun, free, and rewarding contest at Jennifer Brown Bank's blog. Look around while you are there. She provides such good advice for writers. Please pass this on to your friends, too. Great prize package! New prize!!

I discovered Jen years ago when I read her article in a writer's magazine about breaking all the rules. I knew we were kindred spirits, because as a new writer I, too had been breaking all the writing rules and having success. Never give up, no matter what you are trying to achieve.

Alex was high on life sitting in the branches of our red bud tree, feeling very successful and proud.

If you are a writer be proud of your successes, no matter how minor or insignificant you consider them. Pat your self on the back if you wrote a paragraph, a page or an essay. How about trying to write a poem about chocolate?

Our neighbor's tree was perfect for Alex to climb and pull himself up.
If you are a writer start at the bottom, work your way up... and never give up!
Paw-paw Bill gave  Alex a helping hand and supported him in his endeavors.
If you are a writer be sure to accept help along the way and express your appreciation. If you are further along, provide help to others. We writers really are all in this together. 

Now think about the sweet, creamy taste of milk chocolate, slightly bitter taste of dark chocolate, delightful crunch of M&Ms. Enter the contest. It's fun and it is a good writing exercise. 

Let me know if you enter or are a winner.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

There is joy-joy-joy in my heart

I have missed my babies! I surprised them this weekend with a cake. Their mama is my first grandchild, and she was such a cute, smart, fun and funny honey. Now she and her husband have three cuties of their own. I baked a Halloween theme birthday cake for her with three little ghosts. 

Charlie is two and loved the cake, as you can see. He is talking up a storm these days. He has always called me Nana. But now he has decided I am Nanny and those yellow things he eats are nanas. He is all boy and has mosquito bites and scrapes all over his legs. He wanted me to kiss his boo-boos, all ten!

Alex is three and loved hammering golf tees into the pumpkin I brought. I also brought pop beads. Anyone of a certain age remember those? Now they call them something else and they come in all sorts of shapes. But Alex liked the round beads that fit over his head. He is a busy boy.

Liam is six and adjusting to his new reality of Covid-19 in school schedules and video schooling. 
After much resistance, he decided on his own to take off on his two wheeler. He had to show me
how good he is at riding his Razor scooter, too. Look at those legs in mid air! This boy is all arms and legs!

 My daughter was nineteen when her baby girl (the boys' mama) was born. I was with her during labor and delivery. On October 12th as midnight approached, I told the doctor if he didn't deliver her soon, I would forever call her Freddy or Jason (from the Halloween/horror movies, Friday the Thirteenth.) 

At one second after midnight she entered the world. A nurse recorded the birthdate: "October 13th," she shouted across the room.

The doctor looked at me. I shook my head. He shouted back, "It is not one minute after midnight. I'm calling her birthdate as midnight on October 12th." 

So technically... well you decide. The delivery room attendants debated it and in the end, the doctor won.
This young woman has given me so many laugh lines, and three delightful great grandsons. I love them ALL with all my heart.
They were watching a video of themselves playing, chasing each other and bike riding. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Published in Prairie Times, in Beyer, Colorado (A glimpse into my life)


♦ My husband Bill retired a few years before I did. He had plenty of leisure time to himself while I was at school teaching small ones.  When I retired, my dreams of day trips, visiting museums, and hometown attractions soon got old and fizzled. Retirement was not as exciting as I imagined it would be. But every now and then, I get a good laugh and a thrill at Bill's expense. 

As my days became more relaxed and routine, I found I had more time to write, but less inclination to do so. When I was working, I used to rise before daybreak when the house was still, and the only sound Bill made was rhythmic snoring. I would write for two hours. When I no longer had to squeeze time in to write, I slept in. We spent an hour watching the news and sipping coffee instead of my rushing about and gulping on the run. We lost track of time, and the morning was gone before we knew it. I missed making time for my writing. 

Bill became not only my greatest companion, but my worst distraction. He would suggest a meal out, a shopping trip to the big box stores, or a trip to the mall on impulse. Maybe this is how he had spent his days for the past few years of his retirement, but I was used to order. He operated on a get-up-and-go-on-a-whim schedule. When we weren‘t on the go, we were in two different rooms engaged in separate activities. He has hearing aids, but unless he's leaving the house, he prefers shouting, ―What? when I speak, or he‘d rather blare the television volume. As I tried to write the thoughts in my head, I invariably wrote the words Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, or John Wayne said. Watching TV wasn‘t the same. My evening sitcoms were nothing like his daytime viewing preferences. He likes action films, shoot-em ups, crime shows... and the noisy disruptions wore me out. 

When he watched his shows, I tried to write my stories. Even with the office door closed I could hear the TV in the living room blaring. There was continual grunting, groaning, a thwack, more grunting. My first thought was someone was getting beat up. His first choice of movie viewing is one with physical interaction, preferably a brawl. The loud, primal groaning continued. It sounded almost obscene. I would not listen to those groans another minute. I stormed into the living room to give my honey a piece of my mind, ask him how he expected me to write. Then I saw what was going on. He was watching a women‘s Wimbledon tennis match. Guilt-ridden, I looked at Venus Williams and felt terrible. I hadn‘t broken a sweat all day, I had eaten a waffle with whipped cream and strawberries for breakfast, and had been all set to nag my hard-of-hearing honey for watching such trash. Sometimes I laugh long and loud at myself. But I also can‘t help laughing at him, too. ―Look at her movements, I said. ―We're getting lazy. 

Guilt or the urge to get exercise struck him as he observed Venus sweating it out. He switched off the TV and suggested a jaunt around the mall for exercise. As we drove, I looked at my cell phone. ―Get this! I said from the passenger seat as we were driving down the highway. He does not wish to have a Facebook account and relies on me to read aloud something mind boggling, spell binding, or unbelievable from my feed. He raised his index finger to his right ear and tuned his hearing aid higher so he didn‘t miss a word. When I paused, he gave me a split-second glance and said, ―Who's that from? Who sent that to us?

 Is he serious? I've told him a million times, ―I don't know. He thinks I'm messing with him, withholding pertinent information. I told him ―It's just a friend. ―How can it be a friend if you don't know who it is? Instead of keeping the ball rolling I told him the name of who it was from. ―Who's that? he asked. ―I. Don't. Know. ―Well, they sent it to US. How do we know them? 

Through clenched teeth, I said. ―We DON'T know them. It's a friend of a friend. ―

Then why are they sending it to US? ―

It's on the WWW, I say. Before I could explain, world wide web, he said, ―When did you get into wrestling? Some days I want to put him in a headlock! We are striving for balance. Bill comes to my aid at a moment's notice to help me with the computer, and I share social media gossip with him. But that's as far as it goes when it comes to technology. He is not interested in social media, and I can't figure out which cloud my work lands on each day. 

Our relationship was new and exciting when we were young and active. Now that the Golden Years have arrived, our daily pace is slower, and life involves many unexpected laughs and goofy grins. I like this stage of life were in!