Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Notes on a "A View from a Car Seat"

I am saddened to say that while the news reports 120+ individuals confirmed dead, one of those individual's was the friend of my husband's co-worker. Grief is a natural part of life but no one ever anticipates how fragile we are and how temporary life can be. In honor of this family and all the families experiencing loss from Joplin's Massive EF-5 tornado on May 22, 2011, I dedicate my poem "A View from a Car Seat." I shed tears for all your families and pray for your restored peace this morning.

View from a Car Seat

I can’t even imagine the confusion
Of being two and seeing what she saw
Her mommy strapped her in
Believing they would be safe in their car
The horror struck as the winds blew
200 miles per hour
Power intense power
Pulled her mother out the driver window
It twisted and twirled her
She watched from her little seat
All the while strapped
Blood trickled down her face
Her little body longing
For her mother’s return
“Hold me,” she cries with outstretched arms.
Longing for her mother’s embrace that is not to be
Not know, not ever, not ever again.
When it all stopped trees and paper and shredded photos
Lay in her lap
Dirt and dust cover her
She rubs her little eyes,
“Mommy, why did you leave me?”
She sleeps now and wakes briefly to see her daddy.
She whimpers, “Daddy.”
A soft voice as she sleeps caresses her forehead
Declaring a love and a grief
With shock and disbelief
Her child his child
She survived but
Her mommy flew away and
Her mommy flies with angels now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

God's Finger

My poem today really was not inspired by Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier, 1625, but rather the storm that devastated so many lives less than 60 miles from my home. The people here in Springfield, Missouri are finding debris, family photos, x-rays, medical records and other items in their yards.

My husband's co-worker drove to Joplin to look for his friends and located one of his friends sitting where his home used to be. He lost everything including his wife and child. At that point they did not know if his wife and child were alive so they drove all over looking at one shelter after the other. It is complete chaos in Joplin. He has yet to find his family.

I dedicated this poem to all the people of Joplin.

They gather, they gossip
Outside it howls
Seconds later
They are making declarations
Of adoration
Loving one another during times
Of duress is natural
Loving one another
When you are cut off at on- ramp
Or forced to stop at a red light
Because someone was too slow
Not so easy
But do it anyway
Don’t let your last words be words
Of ill will
Let those times remind you
Patience is a virtue
Be virtuous today to your neighbor
Because tomorrow you could be huddled in a
Convenience store
Declaring your love
While the finger of
God threatens your life.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Community Enrichment Classes

Lately I've messed around with various things to fill my time. I need to volunteer but I also want to take a class. I love being in school. I do better when I am held accountable for something. I am not so great at self-pace classes, online, or tele-classes. In fact, I stink at those. I just don't have the discipline to do what I need to complete the class, as I would an instructor lead class.

My very first class jewelry project - Double Loop Chain
About ten years ago, I took a jewelry class in San Diego. I had a great time. I met a really nice woman, Deb, who I still keep in touch with. She is an incredibly talented jewelry designer. She really helped me take the next step in jewelry making. I have to give credit to her for teaching me to knot and work with silk. I love knotting pearls and over the years I've knotted thousands. Also, I love working with wire.

The photo above is a double loop chain made with 50 feet of 18 gauge round fine silver wire. The difference between fine silver and sterling silver is fine silver is .999 pure silver whereas sterling silver is .925 silver. Working with fine silver is cost prohibitive these days for this woman's pocketbook but I still mess around with sterling. This finished necklace is 29" long. This a very easy chain to make and the only tools required are a dowel, round nose pliers and wire cutters. Leave a comment if you would like me to email the written instructions.

What's on the Calendar this Summer?

Well, I just signed up for beginning acrylic painting. The class cost $59.00 at my local community college. I have messed around with painting before and I love doing it but I don't know squat about technique. The few art classes I have taken covered painting to some degree.  Specifically I took 3 classes - 2-dimensional design, 3-dimensional design and for fun Sumi Painting.

The Sumi Painting was a disaster. I just couldn't load the brush or hold the brush properly because I have too much upper body weakness. It really does require a certain amount of control to perfect the strokes. Below is a fine sample I found on google images of a Sumi painting created by an instructor.

I am really looking forward to this adventure in acrylic painting and look forward to sharing my experiences.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Making Sad Happy

Everyone asked me how I was doing with my first Mother's day without my mom. I was sad and I do miss her but I turned sad into happy by doing something to honor her memory. Steve and I planted this rose topiary. It was just perfect because she wanted a rose garden and we never got around to planting one while she was alive. 

This was planted on Mother's Day, May 8, 2011

One week later - May 15, 2011

In the Fall, we will have it planted in a permanent location to be determined...


Butterfly book Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket is a great place to share and obtain photos, videos and little animated creatures for your blog. I am sure that most people already know about this wonderful resource; however, I just discovered it for myself. I found this picture by searching Surreal Fantasy Art. I was looking for something amusing to help jump start my daily writing. Something that might spark a small story or poem.

I really like this picture because it conveys so much. In the background you have a grass land and horses or zebras. You decide is it someplace like Montana or the Serengeti, it doesn't matter, does it? The point is the place could convey a real place. And then you have an open book with pages each one holding winged creatures. The words are the creatures and their meaning the wings that take flight. They transport you to other places real or imagined, either way no less fantastic. On this particular page a fea is holding a cocoon, not yet birthed, not yet written but it is out there somewhere wintering in its silk portective home. This home the mind of a writer. The end result a story. Much like the butterfly it takes flight. You never know where it will fly to or who will see and appreciate its beauty.

Today I will be the story and take flight... 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hot Fuchsia Flower

A mishmash of volumes protrude
An uneven horizon, jagged line
Tomes housed on dusty oak shelves
Among them I know a few
Whose hearts and hands
Wrote these words

As I age
Many more of my nearest and dearest
Line my shelves with their dreams realized

And my dream
Muse eludes me now
She’s cliffhanging with 52,000
Disheveled words
Her story longing its own birth
Like threads yet to be woven
Unable to carry her weight
She could snap and perish
Or she could bloom again  
Much like an over pruned crape myrtle
Waiting to show its hot fuchsia flower
Yet it is that flower that scares her
Can she really share her world?
And all that it encompasses?
She must.

It was decided just this weekend. We don’t watch television in our living room ever. We are turning our whole living room into a library. It just makes sense for us. It is the way it has to be. As it progresses I will post more. Now I am taking my current escape and a nice hot cup of tea and parking myself directly under my sky light where I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon reading…

Thursday, May 12, 2011


It had been a good idea at the time, or so she thought. No one could talk her out of it either. She always day dreamed about ascending up in her flowing white dress escorted by the love of her life and gracefully tossing her bouquet for all the single ladies to catch. No one told her it would turn into a missile sending them all screaming and burst into a thousand pieces when it hit the pavement. Ruined dreams dashed and the photographer missed the shot!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

1211 AD to this Day

Magpie Tales

Far from you
Winds blow
Wisps and grasses
Drape the marshes of the Camargue
Sturdy pedestal
One gracefully tucked
Pink in flight and otherwise
White ponies and black bulls
Dodging liquid graveyards
And small green crabs
Guided by saintly whispers
Centuries of vespers and rituals
Too mysterious for human understanding
But the animals know
The spirit within them thrives
Known only to the blessed among us
Known only to the believers
A balance too delicate to disturb


We the curious in nature

Cannot help but disturb

Friday, May 6, 2011

When our dog becomes YOUR DOG!

Tobi Teeth Langley
The following story was actually an email that I sent my husband today. I thought it would make a good story to share. If you have a "Tobi" in your life you will appreciate this. If you don't, consider borrowing a dog before getting one. I rent mine out dirty cheap...

Your Dog Tobi was invited by Sam to go for a nice run around Chesterfield Park today. So we decided that I would take Annie and Sam would take Tobi and I would wheel twice around while Sam ran it with Tobi. Tobi wouldn't leave me. He would sit and not budge until I caught up. So needless to say, we switched dogs and that problem was solved. He barked at everyone but he was actually fine with me and kept my pace well. Annie was perfect with Sam and ran the whole time. Okay are you ready for it....

pondering future antics

 You know how sloped Chesterfield is, well with all this rain, there are puddles everywhere. I told Tobi - avoid the water and he listen and did what I asked him to do, until the very end. We were just about to load up into the van when Tobi found a puddle the whole length of his body and laid down into it. It was a mud puddle so our blond dog now has a nice layer of brown mud on his belly and legs. I have told him that dirty mud hounds belong outside and he complied until about 2:40 pm. I couldn't leave him out longer, out of consideration for our neighbors. He is dry now but he is going to need a bath. I am sorry to say.

Tobi loved bathing in the puddle and was quiet a site to see. All the moms with kids were charmed by his antics. I on the other hand was not amused and told him very loudly that he was the world worst dog. He pinned his ears back and pranced all the way to the van ignoring my expostulations.

What a face!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The question: Does poverty make an individual crave the need to acquire stuff. I personally grew up without a lot of stuff and at times my family struggled financially; however, I never felt poor. I always felt like there was something deeper in my DNA that set me apart from feeling impoverished, even when we had nothing. Many times over the years I desired to have nicer things. I strived to get those things and in many cases I did obtain them but something was always missing. So if it is not things what will make us happy once we get what we want and need?

I was cruising through our local mall the other day and I realized that there was absolutely not one thing I wanted or needed. I felt satisfied with that feeling and it made me take stock and ask myself, what do you want? What do you really want? I realized without a doubt that all I really want or need right now concerns my health and its improvement. I was further prompted to visit this question as other’s had answered it for themselves.
Vik Muniz standing next to self portrait

Vik Muniz, famous Brazilian artist came from very meager and humble lower working class beginnings and dreamed of have riches. No one thought he would do it but he did and in a very big way. Once he obtained his fame and wealth, he then realized that there was nothing material that he wanted. In fact, it became clear to him that he wanted less. So he took his money and his God given talent and did something so intrinsically satisfying.
The objective: Changed the lives of other’s through art. Not just art he would make but art that would involve its subject.
The project: Go to the poorest of places, the end of the line for the last honest place to earn a wage, the world’s largest landfill in Rio de Janeiro and meet the pickers. Somehow involve the pickers in a work of art that can be sold at an auction and the proceeds of the sale used to improve their lives.

Who are the pickers: These individuals earn approximately $20.00 per day and work in the filth, heat and disease of waste sorting the recyclable materials from the actual garbage.  They climb through mountains of the nastiest refuse; they dodge methane fires, heavy trucks dumping loads of the unwanted and unknown on top of them. One picker even said that she fell over backwards throwing up when she came across the body of a dead infant.
Why would they put themselves out there and why would they even do it? They choose this work as an alternative to prostitution, drugs or crime. It is a job that puts food on their tables and clothes their children. They are people of integrity that have been born into extreme poverty and most have no education.

Each and every day they make the decision to work an honest job, for a wage that is just barely enough to keep them and their families alive. Many of them take pride in it because they believe the work is honest and they understand the environmental impact they are having by removing recyclable materials from a land-fill that has exceeded reasonable capacity.
The project’s risk: well let’s just say there were so many risks, the biggest being loss of life, money and equipment. Imagine traveling into a place where the element of crime is the law. The poverty and desperation have been abandoned by local law enforcement and crime is not punished but ignored. The attitude is let them kill themselves off. They are the undesirables and are not worthy of protection. The outskirts the landfill is a village of shanties run by gangs so dangerous that the very people that work in this place worry about being robbed by their own neighbors. Worse yet they are often robbed just for sport.

Now imagine a man driving through this place with an entourage of film makers with the goal of giving the right group of people a leg up. The attention that would draw and the risk, is it worth it? Well for Vik Muniz it was because if he could change the life of even one person then his money and fame would give him something that it simply couldn’t buy otherwise. Grace.
What is grace? Every theology has its own definition of grace. To me it is simple, Grace is internal lasting peace. It is a gift that should not be squandered. As humans we strive to obtain that feeling of wellbeing and many believe it can only be achieved once heaven is reached but I am saying that grace can be achieved here on earth and I believe that Vik Muniz felt grace when his project was successful and lives he touched were forever changed.
If you want to know more about this I highly recommend that you watch Wasteland. It is a remarkable film, inspiring and true. The art is amazing as are the lives of the individuals Muniz involved. If you don’t enjoy this five star film, and agree that it was a tremendous feat maybe it is time to take stock and ask yourself, what do you really need?

Monday, May 2, 2011


Magpie 64

Celebrating on the highest peak
Mere mortals tread
No one gets out alive
But goodness and the charity of others
Keeps the soot and flames far enough away
Coal washes easily from our hands and face
And for a time what is not okay will eventually be okay

Tragic events unfold into unknown blessings
Hearts recover with fresh green
In times of plight, pick up your boots and don’t ask why
Just know that better times will materialize
And with it, new hope
And with it, the landscape of new growth