Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Great War?

I started working on a poem about my family heritage today: my mother was from the deep south and my father is from the north. I decided to do some research about both regions for the poem, which is unusual for me. I usually just write the darn thing and it's over and done with. But, for some reason, I decided to approach this poem a little differently.

I came across a Civil War website ( with a sentence I found a bit disturbing. "The American Civil War was the greatest war in American history." HUH?!? The reason this disturbs me is because someone out there wrote this thinking war is great.

Today we have soldiers fighting a "war" in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have been there over 5 years, with no end in sight. Is this a "great" war?

Two Sides of War (All Wars)

"All wars are planned by older men
In council rooms apart,
Who call for greater armament
And map the battle chart.

But out along the shattered field
Where golden dreams turn gray,
How very young the faces were
Where all the dead men lay.

Portly and solemn in their pride,
The elders cast their vote
For this or that, or something else,
That sounds the martial note.

But where their sightless eyes stare out
Beyond life's vanished toys,
I've noticed nearly all the dead
Were hardly more than boys."

~Grantland Rice

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Times they are a-changing....

Simple pleasures: Here I am at about a year old or so, in some sort of tub in the back yard. Seems I liked to take my baths outside sometimes. And check out my favorite bath toy. It's an empty coffee can. Nothing fancy here.

Christmas. I'm assuming this is in 1971. The photos aren't marked, but I look about 2-years-old. What caught my eye about these photos is the toy I am opening. It is a kitchen appliance set and on the box it says "all steel." Won't see that on a child's toy these days.

(Hey, is my pretend bread done yet?)

Remember metal toys? Tonka dump trucks? No plastic when we were kids, and we turned out OK. Well, I think I'm OK anyway. Have to ask my husband about that one...

Looking through old pictures is a good way to get story ideas. I've discovered a couple stories hiding out in these old images. I may not remember all the situations I'm looking at, but what the heck...I'll just start from scratch.

Monday, July 21, 2008

(It has been nearly a week since I last posted. I am hanging my head in shame.)

I love it when the moon is still showing in the morning. Even when it's not full, it's beautiful; the sky lightening up, the moon framed by trees......

(My favorite of the colors I found today)

Then I discovered some beautiful morning glories growing in the area we recently had cleared. Since we will be keeping it mowed down, they won't be around long. So, I took some photos then pulled some up and transplanted them by the back deck. I'm hoping they take hold.

(My second favorite)

There were also some pretty white ones, but I couldn't get to those. But the blues were so nice on their own.

Good Morning Monday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Animals That Touch Our Lives

(Tango hanging out in my yard.)

Pets have a way of touching our lives, leaving their little footprints across our hearts and souls. And they don't even have to be our own pets. I've written about my cats before, but my neighbor Steve's cat, Tango, is also my little buddy. He hangs out at our house a lot and sometimes keeps me company when I sit on the swing and read or write. He has a habit of yelling as he's coming from where ever his wanderings have taken him. It's kind of funny hearing his voice echo around as he crosses the neighbors' yards. Like he's announcing his arrival.

(My favorite picture of Max.)

Right after Steve moved in next door, we met Max. I'll admit that at first, I thought he was a kind of aggravating dog. He would stand at the edge of our yard and bark like crazy. One night, he chased a raccoon on our deck. I went outside to find the raccoon clinging to the side of our house where Max had "treed" him. It didn't take long though for this Australian Shepherd mix to find his way into our hearts. My neighbor drives big rigs and when he was on the road, Max would come hang out on our porch. There were days when we would have to get him to get up so we could even open the front door, but I liked how he would hang with me when I'd sit out on the swing.

Max had bad arthritis problems and ended up unable to walk. He had to be put down on May 19th. I miss finding the big lug laying on the porch against our front door.

(One of the few times Rastas sat still for a photo)

Steve's other dog Rastas was a bit slower about getting friendly. At first, he would come as far as the edge of the yard and just bark at us. If we tried to approach, he would turn around and head back home. When he finally started coming to visit, I would give him a doggie snack, which he would gently take from my hand then carry back home to eat. At some point, he started hanging out on the porch with Max. He turned out to be a fairly friendly dog.

Rastas died about a week or so before Max. He had been sick for a couple days, and we found him one morning in our yard; curled up like he had just gone to sleep. He and Max are buried in Steve's yard near the property line. I visit once in a while and take them a flower or two. I think I will always miss them. I think Tango does, too. He used to walk up to them and rub against them the way cats do and hang out with them.

Sometimes, we don't realize how an animal has affected us until they're gone.

{One of my writers group members recently lost her wonderful Golden Retriever. I set up a small memorial on our group's blog:}

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gardening on the Small Side

(My small deck and swing during a recent rain storm)

I have a small deck on the side of my house, and I love to sit in the swing there and read, surf the internet, write stories...whatever. Lately, I've been sitting there eyeing a spot in my yard where I feel a garden should be. Not a huge garden; just something small. Today, I finally gave in and planted some things I've had growing in containers. I picked up my small garden shovel, got down on my hands and knees and went to work digging and pulling up grass and clover.

And here it is. A very small patch in my yard with seven corn plants and a scraggly tomato plant. I put in the tomato plant that isn't doing too well. I figure there's nothing to lose that way. The other one is doing so well in the container, I'm afraid to move it.

I have to say, getting down on the ground and digging through the dirt was very therapeutic. This has been a hard month so far, and I have really been feeling down. But, when I started pulling apart that patch of earth, loosening up the soil with my bare hands, I felt so much better. It was as if all my troubles were put into perspective, and I realized there are things going on much bigger than my little issues. I knew in my soul...everything would be OK in the end. The feel of the dirt under my nails, the smell of the fresh soil, even the sight of all those earthworms burrowing back into the made me feel renewed.

Now, if I can just keep Muffinhead out of there... :-}

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mountain Wonderland

Mrs. Margaret Fuller of Little Switzerland was nice enough to allow me to take photos of her garden today. Here she is picking blue berries, which are caged to keep the birds from getting them all. (She would only let me take her picture if she was facing away from the camera.)

Mrs. Fuller has a beautiful vegetable garden, with some huge cabbage. I would love to get hold of some cabbages that size. This area is fenced and had a "guard" standing duty to ward off wayward rabbits and such.

Mrs. Fuller told me the names of some of her flowers, but alas, my memory isn't what it used to be. And, I forgot to bring a notebook along with me. Some names I know, but for the most part, I just "know what I like." Names or no, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the beautiful tableau of color...and the fact that they make you feel good when you see them.

And what a view.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What Rain?

Today seems to be a day for making up for lost time when it comes to rain. The sun comes out for a few minutes, then it suddenly gets dark and starts pouring. Then, the sun comes out, and it starts all over again. Tango, my neighbor's cat, has been on my porch all day, which is unusual for him. He likes to wander, but I guess he hasn't wanted to chance getting caught in a downpour. Funny thing is, when this picture was taken, it was pouring like crazy and the wind was blowing some of the rain onto the porch...and there was Tango...sitting in that misting rain. Guess maybe he was enjoying the break from the heat.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Coming Up On 16 Years

My husband and I will have been married 16 years tomorrow. (We were married one year to the day of our first date.) I looked it up on the internet, and it seems there are no "traditional materials or symbols" connected to the 16th. It's just a blip on the screen...or barely that. Nothing special I reckon.

Well, it's special to us. We are both children of divorce, and neither set of parents made it this far. My mother was married 5 times (only counted 3 - but that's a story for another blog) and none of hers made it to 16. One only made it about 30 days. (Gotta be some sort of record there.)

I am so happy to be married to my best friend. Chris and I get along not just as husband and wife, we love to just spend time together, hang out like friends do. I know so many people who talk about wanting to be away from their husband/wife. They would rather go off with friends for hours or even days at a time. Yes, we do spend some time apart, but we would rather be together than with anyone else; watching movies, talking about our classes, sitting quietly and reading. It's all good.

Marriage to the right person is absolutely wonderful.

(I know, this is a mushy post. What can I say? I'm happy.) :0}

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Garden?

Well, it may not count as a "real" garden, but here it is. My two tomato plants were planted at the same time, in approximately the same size containers and for some reason one just isn't doing too well. Funny thing is, it had the first tomato on it. Now, it's dying and the other is growing taller and getting some little flower buds. Go figure. The only difference in the two is the one in the blue container has some rotting leaves from a gutter cleaning mixed in with the soil. Next year, I'm mixing lots of rotting leaves in with every tomato plant I grow.

Then there is the old, out-of-date canister of wildflower seeds I found earlier this Spring. It was one of those you are supposed to just be able to sprinkle around and they grow. I bought it years ago, then forgot about it. When I stumbled across them this year, I decided what the heck. I put some soil in one of my containers and poured. Well, no flowers yet, but lots of green coming up.

And here, growing in a pot of soil that was just sitting on my deck...corn. Squirrel corn actually, from the dried cobs I put out for them. I'm going to dig up a small section of my yard and put them in the ground, just to see what happens.

And then there is Muffinhead, self-appointed guardian of my little "garden," such as it it. :-)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Poetry Part I

I'm still fighting off this stupid cold, so really didn't feel like coming up with anything for the blog today. I've decided now is a good time to share some of my own poetry. Here is one I wrote the weekend of the writers retreat at Lake Logan. It was a great weekend.

Gathering Home

I sit in awe of the women around me.
Poets, authors,
beautiful people all.

I come here to write, communicate,
with others like me,
yet different.

I come here to listen, to read, to learn,
to feel.

I am a part of something much larger
than my everyday life.

I am a part of something strong, loving,

In my life I have looked for, longed for
strong women to lead me, guide me
push me.

I find these women here, surrounding me,
accepting me.

Without question, my writing, my dream
has found

a home.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer Cold


I haven't posted since last Friday because I've been sick as a dog. OK, wait a minute, do we even know where that saying comes from? Why do we think a dog is sick? Anyhoo...

I have had a doozy of a summer cold. I even canceled my writers' group meeting last night, and I hate doing that. I spent most of yesterday propped up in the bed, most of my cats around me, trying to read Vicki Lane's latest, In a Dark Season. I finally gave up and just dozed off, my cats sleeping right along with me, listening to thunder rumbling in the distance. (I love the way the sound of thunder travels in these mountains. It just echoes on and on.)

One of my favorite treatments for a cold is Hot and Sour Soup from one of our local Chinese restaurants. I love this stuff. It has just the right amount of spiciness and really opens up the sinuses. I have found some mixes in the grocery store that I've used to make it at home, but nothing beats the restaurant-made version. (And no, I've not tried to make it from scratch. I'm just not that good.)

Good news is I'm feeling better today. Still not fully recovered, but getting there. Did I mention that I hate summer colds?!?!?