Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas Card

Our little Christmas tree from our motel Christmas!

 Our inside and outside Christmas trees.  Good ole' Spiny Pine is finally big enough to wear Christmas lights!

Merry Christmas, all!

Were you able to see the full moon tonight?  It won't happen again for over 30 years.  It was so foggy and rainy today that I was sure we would not be able to see it, but just after midnight, when I turned out the lights, I noticed light streaming in my windows.  Sure enough, the fog had lifted and the moon was out big and bright!


I'm posting my Christmas card poem and watercolor today.  I made my cards this year.  I was late - very late - getting them out, but it was fun!

It's Poetry Friday, hosted by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem, where she has been posting The Twelve Days of Kindness!  Her recap is there today to enjoy!
Today for Poetry Friday, I post my Christmas card to you!

I also want to direct you to Silver Birch Press, where my poem "Christmas Storm" was published yesterday!  I hope you can go there and read it.  It really was a special night for our family.


I hope your Christmas day is filled with peace, love, family and friends!

He made the stars also
So many years ago;
One star would light the way
To where our Savior lay.

An angel said a Precious Child
Would be there in the night;
Shepherds trembled at the words
Then traveled by that light

To find the Son of God where He
Lay in the manger lowly,
With parents set in place for Him,
Though He himself was Holy.

Thus a Perfect Plan was born,
Though at a daunting cost;
As sacrificial, perfect lamb,
Christ came to save the lost.

©Donna JT Smith

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Silver Birch Press - Christmas Storm


Silver Birch Express now has my poem "Christmas Storm" published on their site.  You can find it here.  It is a Christmas Eve poem, inspired by a trip back to Maine via Amtrak on Christmas in 1983.

As a young couple, we lived in Minnesota for a while, so had to make trips to Maine after our children were born to see grandparents in Maine. After our train trip at Christmas in 1983, we decided to move back East to make the trips less eventful. This was the longest trip ever with two little kids (an eight-month-old and a three-year-old old) on a train iced to a halt a few times and going in reverse at others. Had to inch along because frozen tracks can crack and it was frightfully cold out — well below zero. Bathrooms stopped working having frozen up. All trains were cancelled when we got to Chicago, so we ended up between homes not knowing when we would be continuing on the journey. But we had the best time in Union Station on Christmas Eve sharing Christmas cookies with strangers and listening as a man waiting for a train pulled out his French horn and played Christmas carols for hundreds of tired passengers. Instead of arriving the day before Christmas, we got there the day after! Thirty-six hours late. I can’t think of a better Christmas than that one, though.

I hope you enjoy it!  And, if it is in your plans to celebrate the birth of Christ... have a Merry Christmas! 
Well, and if it isn't... Merry Christmas, anyway!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Swap and More Silver Birch Press News

It is Poetry Friday and I am pleased to be sharing a poem by Dori Bennett that she sent to me for this year's Winter Poetry Swap - thunk up and organized by the awesome Tabatha Yeatts.

Dori's gift of poem and star locket arrived on Wednesday morning, and worked to further boost my resolve and faith on a day-slash-week that needed girding.   How could she have known that the timing and words would be just right?  Perhaps she couldn't.  But I know that God did.

The poem was a combination of snippets from my known life through the blog, and projections or assumptions correctly and thoughtfully applied in words.  As I read it, I could recognize things that I'd written about, or was that thought about?  I could not remember having written about some things, but felt the familiarity of the words somehow in Dori's writing. The poem took my breath away...and brought a few tears!

And then there was the gift - though if the only thing in the envelope was the poem, it would have been more than enough of a gift to me!

The star locket took my breath away for a second time.  It looked like something my mother would have found and given to me for a birthday or Christmas - or I would have "lifted" from their store, years ago!  The star in its center will serve as a reminder to me to stay the course.  And besides, it is perfect for keeping two precious grandchildren photos close to my heart!

Thank you, Dori!

Guided Journey
by Doraine Bennett

Bring a book to keep you company.
Expect delays, but do not
be tempted to change trains.

Tune your inner song to the rhythm of the tracks.
Ponder the ever present whistle that fills the night.
Trust the words.

When the way seems long,
needle your memory,
recall the single leaf
whispering red,
the phoebe's feeble cry,
the unearthed treasure
etched in familiar scrawl.

If your bones are travel weary,
find your breath, that rauch breath,
and breathe into the pain.

Watch the transient images,
surrender to the mountain pass,
cross the deep ravine,
emerge onto the open plain.

Search the midday sky for shifting cloud.
Find the fiery star by night.
Follow.

When it seems you will never
reach your final destination,
unpack your shawl,
wrap its purple arms around you.
Journey on until you smell the scent of home.

***********************************

Sigh.  So many parts to love.

I also wanted to let you know that I will have two more poems on Silver Birch Press this month or next.  I am so pleased that they have been accepted and will keep you posted on when they will are published.

And now on to more poetry at Diane Mayr's "Random Noodling"!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Silver Birch Express

It is Poetry Friday, and this post COULD have been done LAST Friday, but I had turkeys on my brain.  I'm calling it a fowl.  And I promise I will be better at getting to more poetry posters.  Seems like lately I'm being pulled in so many directions that it would be easier and more relaxing to go back to work!

I was so excited LAST Friday: I had THREE pieces on other sites.  Two were on Spark27.  I responded to two pieces supplied by other people.  One piece was a photo to which I responded with a poem, and the other was a written biographical piece to which I responded using my new watercolor skills.
The third was a poem accepted by Silver Birch Press, my second poem accepted for online publication with them!

1. Get Sparked - Percolated Date - photo was taken by Alisa Laska and was my "inspiration piece" for my poem. Go there to see her photo.
2. Get Sparked - Pankha-wala - written by Urmilla Khanna was my inspiration piece for my watercolor of their servant boy in the 1940's.  I used only black and browns to try for a sepia look.  This is not poetry, but I am thinking about using more watercolor to illustrate my poems and other written pieces.  Go there to read her story.


"Bahadur, the Servant Boy"

3. Silver Birch Press - "This Girl" -  This was an ekphrastic poem - the one I sent.  Remember the girl picking radishes?  I didn't send that one.   When I saw this painting (oh, not the one above...that's a boy), I was drawn to the hat and the grown up little girl look in her eyes. I was the quiet and responsible one that literally and figuratively wore a grown up hat.
In reading about this portrait, I found that this is actually the artist’s daughter who is wearing a hat that some of his older models had worn. So she is really a little girl in a grown up hat.
I threw off my “grown up” hat as I got older. My “lover’ for life – my forever husband – not only endures, but joins me in my second childhood!
“Jeune fille au chapeau fleuri”  by Kees van Dongen (1907-09
I hope that you can briefly visit to see what these are all about, and check out other poems offered on these two sites, but if you can't...
My Spark27 watercolor response to Urmilla's story is above, and here is "Percolated Date", below, my Spark27 written response to Alisa's photograph.
It would be so awesome if you would leave a comment over at "This Girl", "Percolated Date", "Bahadur, the Servant Boy" or here!

Percolated Date
When we first met
Routine was set
Our late night splurging
For pocket purging
Drive into town,
Was DD where it was
“Time to make the donuts” –
Their sweet
Misspelling –
Our donut baker/coffee maker
Who always remembered
Would counter slide
As we came inside
A coffee,
one milk
and two doughnuts.

Ah, coffee!
Grounds for
Percolating
A cuppa
For life!

A lifetime later,
Still coffee daters,
Our mid day jaunting
With cash for flaunting
Drive into town
Is SB, where it is
“Time to brew the coffee” –
Our sweet
“Spell” missing –
Our lattes done by barista son
Who always remembers
Before bidden
Counter ridden
A decaf,
one latte,
and no donuts –

Ah, coffee!
Grounds for
Brewing
Two mugs
For life!

by Donna JT Smith, for Spark 27

Now, please join other poetry fanatics at the Roundup at Tara's "A Teaching Life" where there's always great stuff all the time anyway!  I'm heading over later this morning!


Friday, December 4, 2015

Set the Table, the Turkey is Here



Noah sees the turkeys.  Noah would like me to bring one inside.
Last Friday, I wrote about the coyotes, owls and moon because I finally remembered what my idea was.  Oddly enough, that was the day after Thanksgiving, and I saw a whole herd of terkies lerking on my lawn...(spell check isn't liking that!) and could have written about that.
I was messing about with the turkey idea, and the old jump rope jingle came to mind...
so I wrote - a turkey poem called Turkey Ramblings.

Hard to see the turkeys when the camera wants to focus on the screen!
The turkeys are always fun to watch.  They just eat their way across the lawn.  Occasionally a tom will stop to ruffle his feathers and look huge in case some cute young hen is looking his way.   On this day it was raining, so feathers were getting pretty damp. They all took turns ruffling to get the raindrops off.

They are all on guard, and will stop to take a look around while they are eating, to see if any danger is eminent.  When they are sure no one is around or looking at them (except me), they resume meandering and eating.

I wonder if sometimes they might count to see if they are all present and accounted for. 

I can just imagine the head turkey counting turkey heads:

"Um... one.  Another one.  Um...wait.  What number was I on?  I'm going to have to start again.  Ok.  One.  And another one.  One over there.  Wait - I counted that one.  Yup.  Counted that one.  So, there's one.  And that one.  And I know I didn't count that one by the house.  One.  Okay, that's it.  I think every one is here. Phew!  I don't think I could count one more turkey!"


Turkey Ramblings

Turkeys, turkeys, 
Meander this way.
Are we all here?
Did someone stray?
Oh, no, don't say!
Mabel, Mabel’s
   on the table!

So sad, too bad
Mabel stayed for lunch
She should have run;
I have a hunch
Oh, dear, steer clear!
Mabel, the guest,
   is dressed and blessed!  

Wishbone in hand
Winner's dinner wish
For more turkey
On empty dish!
Oh, me, oh, my!
Mabel’s ramble -
   a losing gambol!

Not one of our turkeys...
Can you believe it is December? The first December Poetry Friday Roundup is at Buffy's Blog today.  Join Buffy at the Roundup.  It's fixing to be lots of fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Poem is Like a Vacation

The route to a poem is always intriguing to me.  I hate to lose the process.  The interesting thing with composing on a computer, is that you can save iterations of a poem.  I often copy and paste a whole poem as a copy before editing it - just in case I want to revert or just in case it gets to be so far removed from the beginnings that I want to see.  It's kind of like looking out the car window to see where you are going.  Or better yet, taking snapshots along your route.  The trip is always a part of the adventure for me...if you can call a poem an adventure.  Hey, maybe that's another post!

Researching where you are going
Jotting notes about what you want to do when you get there
Sitting back and enjoying the time
Take out stuff you thought would be fun, when you discover something funner to do with your time and efforts

*Special Note:  The above post was not intended to be a final copy!  I was taking notes so that I'd have something to go on for today...
Then I got so busy with other writings that I forgot all about the fact that I'd scheduled this to publish today!
I was sound asleep this morning (a little before 8 am which doesn't seem early, but when you haven't been sleeping well for a few days, you thoroughly enjoy!) when I got a phone call telling me my Windows machine was in peril - which quickly changed to "your Apple computer is...".  I was not very nice to the foreigner on the other end who was obviously in the middle of his workday.
But then I turned on my iPad to see what time it was, and...since I was now awake...check my email.  Seeing that I had a comment from Linda, I was curious as to which post this was.  And that is why I have added this "*Special Note"!  I'm not going to take it down.  Enjoy the backstage workings for this one!  This is not the norm for writing a blog post for me.  I don't jot down notes, but this one was on the heels of forgetting my post for last Friday!   And idea came to me, I was riding in the car...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Coyote Moon

It's Poetry Friday!  Hooray!

Last week I had this idea for a poem to go with a picture.  Actually, I had taken the dog out, and heard a band of coyotes across the road, down in the river flats just below our house.  They sounded very close and were probably on our neighbors property just across the road.  There are lots of trees out here, and lots of dark with no street lighting in our village (if we were even in fact in the village).  The sound of coyotes when you are out by yourself in nowhere is beautiful but eerie.  I brought the dog in.  Later in the evening when the moon came into view of my big windows, I got this picture with my iPhone.

Later I put the two events together, along with a third event that occurs regularly here: the sightings and sounds of owls.

I immediately thought "gotta write something about this".  And it was so clear in my mind that I knew I'd be doing that for Friday last week.  And then Thursday night and Friday morning do you think I could remember what the great idea was?  Of course I couldn't.  I should ALWAYS be unsurprised and expecting that of myself by now.  But somehow I always think "I couldn't possibly forget this - not this time, heh-heh!" and take myself seriously.  Seriously, how could I do this more than twice before I'd remember the kind of person I am?

Anyway, I finally DID remember when I was scanning my pictures and came across the one I've posted below.  What a relief!  The poem did not come as easily as it probably would have if I'd written it right away.  But still, I enjoyed the journey.  It started out simply, got extended with garbage, and continued with some potential parts.  I cut out the garbage and the simple beginning and worked on and reworked the potential parts, until a reflective, reverso poem emerged.  It was a bit tricky in some parts and had to be tweaked quite a bit.  That included zapping some lines I thought should be there, but really only because I liked them.  The poem didn't.  Once I got rid of them, the flow was much better, and it made sense and said things in an uncontrived fashion forward and backward - the most difficult thing about a reverso or mirror poem.



Reflections of a Coyote Moon

With the night

in tune 

to the moon, 
coyotes croon -

echoing

as

owls

go gliding

on a hunt.

Smallish creature,

one of tasty feature,

snatched -

taloned 

breath;

No

tomorrow!
No

breath.

Taloned,

snatched;
one of tasty feature,

smallish creature

on a hunt.

Go gliding,

owls,

as

echoing

coyotes croon

to the moon

in tune

with the night.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

<<<<~~~~~~~~~~****************~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>

The unfortunate thing about this remembering of potential poem is that I saw turkeys - 16 of them - on my foresty lawn last Friday morning also, and I thought (and so did they) that surely I would write a Thanksgiving turkey poem in their honor today.
But then I remembered the idea about the moon and coyotes at a time when it seemed such an exercise in futility to remember it!   So it seemed only right to post the reverso poem now that I remembered what I was going to write about.
So now NEXT Friday, stay tuned for a turkey strut!

(Unless I don't because something else comes to mind.)
16 turkeys in the yard...
I think I overheard one turkey asking another "Are we eating as we meander or meandering as we eat?"
As they pecked around in the leaves and grass, Mr. Thomas Turkey (I'm sure that's what his ID tag said) saw some movement (probably from us in the window watching).  He, Old Big Tom (that's what his friends call him), stretched his neck up to look around.  Two more joined him.  Then a few more, until the whole flock had their heads in the air looking around.  We kept very still and one by one they resumed eating and meandering or vice versa.  Then the one who had first thought he discerned danger, decided he was wet to the down feathers, and shook like a dog.  After he had that great idea, they all took turns shaking the water off their feathers, some stretching their wings out, too.
And as suddenly as they had appeared, they disappeared, walking off into the woods...kind of like in "Field of Dreams"...gone without a trace, invisible in a matter of seconds as they blended into the browns, grays and blacks of the woods.  But I heard them exclaim as they meandered out of sight, "Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night!"

Head on over to Carol's Corner to read more poetry today...spend the weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Incognito?

Here's my Slice of Santa Life today.  Join others over at Two Writing Teachers where others are sharing slices of their lives, too.

This week was the beginning of the Christmas season for my husband and me.  Kind of.  This has happened over the last couple of years.  I don't know why, but suddenly we have become the color, size and age to be the Claus Couple.
On Sunday, it happened again for the first time since last year probably almost to the day.
We were greeted at Cabela's as Mr. And Mrs. Claus!  Two years ago, we were stopped in a restaurant while eating breakfast, by a grandmother and her granddaughter who wanted to meet us.  The granddaughter was convinced she was meeting Mr. and Mrs. Claus - THE Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  And we had no reason to burst her bubble.  What a compliment!  Except maybe for the weight issue.
We are often greeted in a Starbucks, with "Hello!  It's Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus!"  Not that we go to many Starbucks, but... well, yes, we do... so it has happened a few times in Starbucks.
This year, as I said, we were in Cabela's, which we frequent.... frequently.  I like being redundant and saying things more than once.  Speaking of which, we were called the Clauses twice while we were there.
Even though we are never dressed in our formal red and furry white attire, traveling incognito, we seem to be recognized.  Sitting in Cabela's, in the camouflaged chairs, it almost seemed like we should be doing photo shoots and asking kids what they wanted for Christmas. 


Move over, Santa Claus, the Santa Smiths are in town for Chrismith!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving Sunday


Today is the culmination of our Puppets in Space Junior Church program, and the youngsters are having a Thanksgiving dinner served to them on real dishes...real turkey (I cooked one last night along with about 10 other women), real mashed potatoes fresh from a potato farmer in northern Maine, squash, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pies.  Oh, and milk in a real glass glass.
So many of the kids don't get to sit down with a real home-cooked meal on real plates nowadays.  We want it to be a real special day for them.  Love to see their eyes bug out when they see the heaping plate set before them!
Then they eat as much as they can hold and waddle out to the bus to take them home again.
I am hoping and praying that we will see some new faces gathered at our tables later today, as we have invited many from the community to join in our church service and then share a meal with us.
The only regret I have is that I have a wheat allergy, so cannot eat there.  Oh, and neither can my husband who is sensitive to some other foods that are included in the menu that give him gout.  Other than that, hey, it's a wonderful meal, wonderful time, and wonderful people!
Ready to cut up and take to Sunday's Thanksgiving meal.
Give Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord
For all He provides;
His blessings abound
Where e're He resides.

He shelters and keeps us
But when there is strife,
We rest in his arms;
He holds our new life.

No fears and no worries
Should darken our door,
For he is our refuge,
Our comfort, our cure. 

Give thanks to the Lord
In good times or grief
For evermore he is
Our source of relief.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

In case I miss saying it to you before Thursday, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  As the Pilgrims did years ago, we will be thanking God for all His blessings, and praying for blessings on others.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Reveille

I am posting this from my iPad from the coziness of my bed.  The weather is not pleasant.  I can hear that.  The sky is not shiny.  I can see that.  But it sure is warm and toasty and rosy here in bed!  Think I'll just stay here today.  Somehow I'm going to have to get coffee....



I finally got up!  I love my three ever changing panels of scenery each day.
Morning

Wind whistles, rain knocks -
November's dark reveille;
I snuggle deeper.

Poetry Friday awaits! I'm reading from bed....just a bit longer, please...now I'm sounding like that whiny old wind out there.
The dog is going to be crazy about all the new toys that have fallen from the trees. She's the "fetchingest" dog we've ever had!

Time for virtual visiting!  Meet you over at The Miss Rumphius Effect where poetry is being rounded up today!

Update for me...
I just remembered what I wanted to write about this week.  I had this idea...that I didn't write down...and I know better than to do that because it never works out.  
BUT  I JUST REMEMBERED IT!  
I'm going to write myself a note, or maybe just start writing it now.  I can't believe I remembered.  Without coffee.
Ah, just add milk!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ekphrastically Speaking

Today is Poetry Friday and I am WAY late in posting for it!  But I was deciding.
I wrote a couple ekphrastic poems to submit to Silver Birch Press for their series "Looks Like Me", in which you pick a portrait by a famous artist and write to that picture including yourself, and perhaps including a photo of yourself that looks like the image somehow (though that is not necessary).  I am happy to say that the one I chose to send to them was accepted for inclusion on their web publication sometime later this month or in December.  I'll know later.

The following ekphrastic poem was written about Steve Henderson's painting called "Child of Eden".  (I liked the painting so much that I later purchased a copy of it on canvas.)

I am putting a picture of Steve Henderson's painting, the poem that I wrote to it, and a photo of myself (above) at about the same age as the girl in his painting - probably 4 years old.

So here is the painting, and the poem is below it.  Steve Henderson, graciously granted me permission to use his work with my poem.  Isn't it beautiful?  I smile whenever I look at it.
It reminds me of when I was a child and my mother had vegetable gardens.  She always had radishes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, corn...and I'll think of a few more in a minute...but the best thing was, we could go out in the garden and pick anything we wanted to eat.  We'd brush it off the best we could with our hands and on our shirts, then crunch away!  What a sneaky way to get vegetables in us!

Child of Eden by S.Henderson
stevehendersonfineart.com
The Color of Radishes

Reddish
erupts from the earth;
my fingers fumbling
grasp its green tuft
pulling, wiggling,          
until
the red globe
with long
thready root
is revealed.
Shirt-rubbed to edible,
I laugh at its bitterish,
biting-back taste.
I uproot more.
With earthy fingers,
my roots-up arrangement
is lifted -
red,
white,
green.
Her hands reach down
to scoop up
this nosegay of
Rose Madder,
Davy’s Gray,
Terre Verte
with VanDyke highlights.
She smiles -
always
planting seeds
for me.

©2015, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

And by now you have probably already gone everywhere for Poetry Friday.  But in case you haven't....
Poems are being rounded up by Bridget Magee at Wee Words for Wee Ones!  She is such a brave soul today!  All looks to be going splendidly over at her Linky, so go visit and try  some delicious poetry today!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wild!

Congratulations, Irene, on your tenth blogiversary!  Thanks for inviting me to this totally WILD celebration of ten years of blogging!
http://irenelatham.blogspot.com/2015/11/its-wild-10-year-blogiversary.html


One of Irene's blog posts back in August this year she told of seeing the wild ponies of Chincoteague and Assateague at the annual Pony Penning Week.  As a young girl I'd read and seen a movie about this event and was fascinated with it.  I'd wanted a horse all my life and finally as an adult, I bought my first horse... but that's a blog post for another time.

With my new pencils just itching to be used, I decided to try a horse and a WILD haiku in honor of Irene's 10th blogiversary:

It's going to be quite a WILD day!  Enjoy every moment! Congratulations, Irene Latham!  And continue to live your poem!
Live Your Poem has more wildness going on with wild links galore!  Check 'em out!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Compass Point


Background:
On Sunday, there was a lone little leaf on the second or third step up to our sanctuary/auditorium.  It was there first thing in the morning as I went up the stairs from Sunday School classes to the church auditorium.  It must have stuck to someone's shoe departing from its place on the walkway outside under our two huge round maples in the front of the church, and to then deposit itself on the step inside.  I came down a different set of steps after the service and forgot about the leaf.  Like, who remembers leaves anyway?

But in the evening, arriving for choir practice before the evening service, I went up the same steps.  And there it was.  Untouched by feet.  People must have gone around it or over it because it was on the same step and in the same position as in the morning.

I had to stop and take its picture.  It was just fairly begging for a photo shoot.  It was a little more dried than it was in the morning, but still a vibrant reddish orange on the dark wooden step.

I wrote a long, long rambling thing to go with this hoping it would just start being a poem.  I didn't like it much, and didn't hold out much hope for it ever being born.  But I copied the words onto the image, and then began whittling away at it until this sprang out from the remaining words.  It was a long labor, but it got born.
And now I like it.  A lot.

If you get a chance, hop on over to Silver Birch Press! They had my poem, "Fairy Floss" included in their My Sweet Word Series. I was thrilled to have a poem in there!

And visit Michelle H. Barnes, Today's Little Ditty, where she is wrapping up the "unrequited to requited" love poems inspired by Marcus Ewert.  I submitted "Cat Rants and Recants", inspired by my dog and cat.  I also posted it last Saturday.

Happy Poetry Friday to all - it's the last one in October!  Jone at Check It Out is hosting today, so go on over and see what else is in store for the end of October.  Seems like only yesterday we were saying how hot it was...

Remains to Be Seen

From the tree
Red released -

A welcoming
shard of Light -

This stained glass
on a dark path;

You remain my
my Compass Point.

©Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Slice of Layer Tuesday

It's Slice of Life Tuesday!  Go read for yourself what others are slicing about over at Two Writing Teachers.

I had a very, very nice birthday yesterday.  It was, ahem, number 65... and post number 700!  So today makes it 701!

Let me start the first layer with my grandson's amazing drawing today.  Such perspective and range of emotions...even with one eye.  (We'll talk about my "one eye" issue later on in the post!)


The family:  Two adults, two children.
Adults have two eyes.  Kids have one.  And a large nose.
Dad is the tall one.  Mom is lying down.  She must be tired.

And now we can go on to the other layers of the slice.

On Sunday, I was at my brother's house, and my sister, and other brother and his wife came over to help me celebrate.  We had gluten free cake!  Bette Crocker makes a mix now for us antiglutenarians.  And it was delicious!

I received some art supplies for my new hobby/blood pressure lowerer/comedic relief/entertainment for others/frustration for the dog.  It is so many things to so many people and animals.
Why are you doing that?  The ball is right by your feet.
My husband got me this nice set to remind me of where it all started... my grandson's paint set I bought him to use when he visits.  He's so sweet!
And my brother and sister-in-law got me some more supplies, including a set of drawing pencils and a pad of drawing paper.  I have always enjoyed doodling while I'm dawdling, but not much more than some squiggly lines (though I did draw some horses once that I thought came out pretty good just using #2 pencils.  I didn't know they came in a range of leads!

And so I embarked on my first apple in a long time.  I made it in the lower left hand corner of the page.  I didn't like it.
Then I decided to draw an eye.
It was okay.  But it needed more.  So I added an eyebrow and a bit of nose.
Ok.  Brave?  Do the other half of the nose and add a mouth....
Now, I know what all you artists out there are thinking...
What is the world is she doing?  People "don't supposed to be" drawing this way.  Where'd the lines go to make sure everything is on the right plane and angle?
My answer:  There are no lines.  This is the way I do life.  It is never pretty.


So I added her mouth and the other side of her nose.
Her iris was sticking out of her eye some, so I retouched that and added more shading and some hair.  The unfortunate thing for her was that I had made that apple first, and she was sitting right beside it.  I tried erasing it.  My son had said "good luck on making a second eye" - they are hard to get to come out the same.  My excuse for not making another eye - the other half of her face was...NO ROOM!  I have an apple there.

But then this morning, I decided to try to erase the apple, knowing full well it was not going to be completely "out of the picture".  I was right.  But I decided to carry on anyway right through the remains of the apple.


She is not "all that".  But she is a start.  You will notice that she cannot be totally finished.  She is right on the edge.  I sent the picture to my son.  He said she had a tumor.  I told him I was thinking of giving her a big bow in her hair, or a hat, or maybe a little mouse friend...
I know she is not the best art anyone has ever done.  And as I look at it I see where this or that area could have been nudged in a slightly different angle or shading could have been changed.  But it isn't the worst.  I know that because I have done worse myself already.  But I'm trying to be more positive with myself.  I need to stop talking negatively and be encouraging, as I would be to any other friend.
Aren't we bullies when it comes to self-talk?  I'm going to go put myself in time out!  Look back at what I wrote - "She is not 'all that'.  But she is a start."  Would you even SAY that to a friend?  And I thought I was being kind to myself.
Hey, Donna!  What a great drawing!  I like how you made her hair!
Ok, now I get a treat for talking nicely...as soon as I get out of time out.

One last layer.... of quilts...
Saturday night I put our puffy quilt back on the bed to delay turning the heat on in the bedroom - oh, so cozy to slip off to sleep on these nippy fall evenings! 

Added bonus - the winter quilts are heavy enough that the cat's claws don't go through when he attacks my feet!  Maybe I'll try a sketch of him next.  He's easy to catch sleeping in one spot long enough, I think.  Eyes will be closed - that should be easy as long as I start in the middle of the paper.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dream Blogger


I know some people have seen this post before. It is one I keep trying to write, and finish.  Then I schedule it for sometime in the future thinking I'll get back to it, and I don't.

I copy it, cut it and paste it into a new post, deleting the old, so people are left confused about where this post just went that they were reading, or "Hey, how come it is here again?" "I just read this last week"... etc., etc. and so forth... 

Well, that is the reason.  It publishes automatically, and I remember that I wasn't finished.  So I take it down and reschedule it.
Thank you for the nomination for the Infinity Dream Blog Award, Chrys!.  Like you, I do not know exactly what that means, but dreaming is fun, usually...except for that time the four men in black hats came in the front door and I had to decide if it was a prank or if I was really going to shoot them.  I, fortunately, woke up before I had to come to a decision.
Anyway, I thought I'd start by telling the 20 Random Facts about me - which is one of the things you have to do if you are an Infinity Dream Blog Award recipient (which you may be one of someday, or today if your name is listed below). My random facts (in black) will be right after Chrys Fey's fact (in neon green), just to show you how we could be related, according to the random fact gene.
I added a couple others because I felt like it.

First assignment - Here are the questions posed by Chrys, and my answers: 

1.What is something you’d do tomorrow if money wasn’t an object? 
I would buy a little house on the ocean...wait.  I did that.  Okay, I would actually finish remodeling it and move in!  And I'd add a pool, which we aren't doing because it is too much money and we are beside the ocean so it seems foolish, but you don't really swim in an ocean.  You wade, and come out because you can't feel your feet anymore. 
2.What is your biggest, wildest dream? 
My dream is to write something publisher worthy, "get discovered", and have it published.  Failing that, I want to self-publish, so my children, grandchildren and future greats will have a book by me that they can hold in their hands.  
3.What are your goals for your blog for the next year? My goal would be to have a Writer's Blog, not a Writing Blog. I guess that would mean I stop writing for the blog and become a writer who has a blog. To stop putting all my writing up there, and save some for a book. Thank you for clarifying that for me. It's been nagging at me for a while, but I didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted to do until now. Well, it's clearer anyway. Here are 20 random facts about me (Green Chrys', mine below):

I don’t usually listen to rap, but I can rap all the words to Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself.”
I don't usually listen to rap, but I do eat M&M's, and I kinda lose myself when I do.

In tenth grade, I rewrote the Declaration of Independence for a contest. I won first place in my school and third in the district.
In third grade I won a coloring contest put on by the Fire Department.  I did this for three years in a row, winning a silver dollar each time. 
 

I don’t drive and have never owned a drivers license.I don't pilot a plane and have never owned a pilot's license.
I once dyed my hair black. (I was a teenager and stupid.)
I once permed my hair into frizzes. (I was old enough not to be stupid.)


 

I donated 14 inches of hair to Locks of Love in 2013.


I could donate 14 inches of hair...white...a first grader told me I looked like Elsa.  She's a wonderful student.  I don't know her name, but I'm sure she's smart.  My daughter did donate hair to Locks of Love.

When I was fifteen I had spine surgery to correct scoliosis. Now I have a metal rod, screws, and fusion in my back.
My family has lots of back and neck issues.  I hurt my lower back when I was diving into a pool when I was 15 or 16. I am hoping that I will be able to avoid back surgery.

Autumn is my favorite season and Halloween is my favorite holiday.
Autumn is my favorite season.  My birthday is near Halloween and I had my one and only birthday party with classmates as a Halloween party.

When I was younger, I dressed up like a pimp for Halloween. I drew a beard and uni-brow on my face with eyeliner and wore my brother’s clothes. My friends called me Christopher all night.
I dressed up as an old man for Halloween once.  No one even once called me Don, though (nor Christopher).

I am a vegetarian. (Seven years now.)
I was a vegetarian for a while - I think it destroyed some of my health.  I have become now a full-fledged non-glutenarian (not by choice).

I dabble in jewelry making.  (This is Chrys' necklace below.)


Me, too!  I dabble in jewelry making.  And Chrys' shell necklace (above) bears a resemblance to a piece I made for my sister-in-law (below).


Here's a ring I made wrapping wire,


and a wrapped wire and stone pendant I made.


Neon green is my favorite color.
 
Neon green is not my favorite color.  I like dark green or blue or red or purple.

I have a dragonfly tattoo on my arm.
 
I have dragonflies in my yard, on some hooks and on my stained glass lampshade.

At the age of twelve, I started writing a series of books that I later rewrote when I was seventeen. This is the supernatural-thriller series that I plan to publish someday. Avrianna Heavenborn from Ghost of Death stars in this series. 

In my day, no one under adult age wrote a book, even for fun.  My first book was written at the age of 21 in college as an assignment to write a children's story.  I wrote the sea-natural oil spiller book called "Gilly Grows Up".  It would take a bit of work to publish it.  I did the illustrations, too.  My instructor was quite impressed.  I think everyone else did alphabet or dictionary books.  Mine had a plot.  Not a good plot, but a plot...and characters.

I have four cats that I rescued from an unknown fate. Read their story here: The Great Kitty Rescue.
 
I have rescued many a kitty and a couple of dogs.  Currently, Noah is our rescue cat.  He has his own blog: I, Noah Cat.

 

I draw fashion designs. I have sewn a few dance costumes, my wedding gown and other miscellaneous pieces of clothing.  In addition, when my son wanted to have full size Alvin, Simon and Theodore Chipmunks for a school marionette-type skit, I made them.  I don't always use a pattern, preferring to "wing it", or I adapt a pattern all to pieces.

As a young girl, I started collecting nutcrackers but they all broke over the years. I still have the original...the one that started it all.
As a young girl I collected porcelain horses but they all broke over the years.  I do not have the original, but I remember it (a black Saddlebred with one front hoof raised). I have looked on eBay a few times for one.  I'll find it someday.
I adore movies about writers, but I dislike books with characters who are writers. (Usually.)
I adore movies about... I don't generally like movies if they are based on a book.  I REALLY don't like a book written from the movie!

I eat pizza with ranch dressing.
I eat gluten-free pizza.  For a while I ate pizza with no cheese.  That is just dumb - like getting a frizzy perm.

I have a fear of fires due to a wild fire that almost took my home when I was ten.
We had a fire causing soot damage in our home while we were out of town.  My son was home and got himself and the animals out in time.  It took a year to get it cleaned up enough to live in again.


A TV caught on fire in the basement - plugged in when a power surge occurred it appears.


My mom almost gave birth to me in Okinawa, Japan where my family was stationed (my dad was in the Air Force), but we left when my grandmother got sick. She died from ovarian cancer when I was two.
I had two penpals from Japan when I was 14.  My grandmother died of cancer when I was 9.
Random facts now about me!

Random extra fact A: We raised Arabians on our horse farm in Minnesota.  I never had a horse as a child.  We could have been killed.

Random extra fact B: I took toe dance lessons up through high school.  I was on TV doing a toe tap dance with another girl once on a weekly local talent show.  Wish I had THAT tape!  I'm sure we were wonderful!

Random extra fact C: I do not like elevators.  At all.  They are in the same genre, for me, as airplanes.  I will use both and I will look normal (I think), but inside I am screaming.

Random extra fact D: I was voted class quietest in high school and got nauseous when I had to speak in front of a class.  I became a teacher who spoke daily to students, a presenter at teacher workshops at the state level and a vocal soloist at church.  Never underestimate the power of screaming on the inside until you can take it on the outside!

Random extra fact E:  I appear to be allergic to strawberries now and have a gluten sensitivity.  Perhaps too much screaming on the inside causes sensitivities to other things?  Nah.

Random extra fact F:  I hate bats even though they are good to have around.  I like baseball bats though.

Random extra fact G:  My husband and I knew each other for exactly one year when we got married 43 years ago this September.  Sometimes you just know it is the right person and the interview process can stop.

If you made it down this far, you should stop.  Nothing I've said is going to enrich your life in any way. But I enjoyed the ramble.  Oh, one more thing:


Biggest Random Fact of All - THIS is my 700th post!
 

Now, I am nominating, for the next Infinity Dream Blogger Awards:

Tabatha Yeatts
Linda Baie
Keri Collins Lewis
Buffy Silverman
Margaret Simon
Tara Smith

Michelle H. Barnes

You know, I can't do this list....there are too many wonderful bloggers out there!  Anyone who sees this and wants to snag the award - go for it!

You may answer the same questions I answered above.  And then tell 20 random facts about yourself.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Unrequited Love Poem From the Unrequiter

On Today's Little Ditty, Michelle H. Barnes has offered up the challenge by Marcus Ewert to write love poems this month– about relationships that seem unrequited, but which end up being requited after all. Click HERE for more details.

My poem's inspiration was taken from my own cat, Noah, who professes to dislike dogs, but who always gives in and becomes a pretty decent buddy, rubbing against them and playing with their toys.

IMG_7985 from Donna Smith on Vimeo.


Cat Rants and Recants

I don’t like you!
I can’t like you!
I won’t like you!
I will not play your silly canine game.
I can’t see you!
I won’t see you!
I don’t see you!
I don’t even know your so uncatlike name.
What is that now
That you have now
That can roll now?
It’s a rolly ball, neow, that’s a meowing shame!
For I know how,
Yes, I know how,
Oh, I know how,
I can make you, little doggy, take the blame!
You’re such a dog,
a loving dog,
a happy dog;
You have really much to learn; you’re over-tame.
I am sorry -
maybe sorry -
wee bit sorry -
That I think of you as, oh, so very lame;
For a friend who just annoys
You do have pleasant toys;
Perhaps I shouldn’t
shun
This friendship I’ve
begun,
It could be lots of fun.
Let me rub against your nose
and in warmth here just repose;
Perhaps you aren’t that bad a dog at all.
But remember,
Just remember,
Please remember,
If ever I’m to blame, you’ll take the fall.
For I’m a cat,
and I’m all that,
I am THE cat -
and you are naught
you must be taught,
my friend, you’re Spot;
And I can’t believe I’m liking you a lot!

©2015 Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved

Dog bed, cat bed...who's to say which is which?

North Wind's Talking

Oh, the signs of winter coming are everywhere.  I love the autumn, except for the realization that winter is coming next.  I'm hoping it isn't quite as large a winter as we had last year.  I just don't feel like shoveling.  A least the puppy is taller this year, and our old dog isn't around to crawl up the icy steps.  Actually, I did a pretty decent job of clearing the ice by chipping away at it when the sun was out.  But that is hard of the shoulders and elbows.  I'd rather not do it... I do hope spring comes quickly!

Here is my poem today.  It was started a couple of weeks ago when I read someone else's poem, and something struck a chord.  Now I can't remember whose it was.  If I stumble across it I will reference it here later.  I'm tired now and must schedule this to post and go to bed!  I may add a picture tomorrow also.  I've just been out straight working on Sunday School lessons, Puppet scripts, mailings and video clips for a 7 week program with our church's kids program.  It is fun and good, but it is also draining my energy for anything else.  I did manage to start the dishwasher last night!  Now to get some clothes washed!

Highway in Fall

North Wind's Talking

Clock's tick-tocking,
Geese are flocking,
Trees are rocking
Red.
North wind's talking,
Winter's mocking,
Squirrel's caulking
Bed.

Cold is shocking,
Knees are knocking,
Put on stocking
Cap
Sun is balking,
Gulls are squawking,
Boats dry dock in
Wrap.

Sleet is pocking,
Clouds are blocking,
Frost is chalking
Scenes.
Kids are gawking,
Sleds unlocking,
Snow is frocking
Greens.

by Donna JT Smith

Though there is no snow on the ground yet, we have had a frost and some snow flurries - par for the course for Maine in October. Maybe it will be a low snow year. Last year we didn't get our October snow and remember what happened? We'll see.  No matter what aberration in snowfall, it's all normal for the coast of Maine...you just never know what will befall...or bewinter....

"More poetry," you say?  I say, "Go on over to Jammin' Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup!"  She's hosting the poetry today for the weekly Poetry Friday Roundup!  Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Golden Friendship


The family...

Last night was a difficult night.  Our Golden Retriever had to be put down.  She was a dear, loyal friend for many years.  We half expected that she wouldn't be here last winter, but with the new pup arriving, she perked up a bit and let the puppy drag her around the house and they played while she reclined!  It was a sight to behold.
But yesterday morning, her eyesight suddenly just didn't seem right and she didn't want to go down the porch steps or up them.  Going up and down has been a problem physically for a while, but she's done it.  She had developed laryngeal paralysis, which eventually affects the hind limbs, and it had begun to do that. Where her back end had been weak with hip problems in youth, it finally gave way in old age.
So it was time to say good-bye.
And as I wrote this morning, I was reminded of an old Girl Scout song I learned so many years ago -
"Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold."
I have a new friend, but my gold will always be my remembered friend.

Pippi

She slept by my bed
by my feet
by my head
She slept
and kept
watch over fears.

I stroked her face
as she slipped
from this place;
I stroked
and choked
back the tears.

Golden retriever,
so gentle,
receive her;
Gold sleep,
night keep
my friend near.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm has a happier dog poem to share today, PLUS lots and lots of links to other poetry!  Go there for this week's Poetry Friday fare!




Friday, October 2, 2015

I'm Going to See...


It's Poetry Friday.  Heidi Mordehorst at My Juicy Little Universe is our Poetess for the week!  Thanks, Heidi!

It is late in the day for me to post.
I'm sick today and everyone is lying low - even the dogs.  Thank you dogs for sleeping.  However, earlier, Ginger (the young lab) stole a towel I'd used on them for drying off coming in from the rain.  Then she sneaked in the bedroom and stole one of my shoes.  She knew I wasn't feeling well, and wanted to cheer me up with a little game of "see if you can get what I shouldn't have".  I won but I was dizzy and had to rest after scolding her.  She just grinned at me.
Last night she knew I didn't feel well either.  She got in my lap...or maybe that should be - she covered me up on the chair.  She hasn't tried to be in my lap since she was 20 pounds...she's somewhere over 70 now.
Last night, on my lap, trying to comfort me...
Oh, crud.  The cat just came in the room meowing plaintively to get the Lab riled and interested in some cat game.  I don't think it is all the dogs' faults on Planet Cat'n'Dog when a cat gets chased by one of them.  At least one cat I can think of knows just what he's doing when he struts through a room.

Anyway.  I am going to see if my fuddled, muddled brain has a poem or refrain, or if it's too much of a strain to keep a thought on train.  There.  A poem has been slain without a bloody stain...though my nose still drips like rain and my powers seem to wane - I feel I'm swirling down the drain. That wasn't too much pain...this poetry from Maine...though maybe it's inane, and certain to draw disdain when read with unmuddled brain.

I am going to see... (not sea...)

if my befuddled, muddled brain
has a poem or refrain,
or if it's too much of a strain
to keep a thought on its train.
There.
A poem has been slain -
though lacking bloody stain -
my nose still drips like rain
and my powers seem to wane -
as I'm swirling down the drain.
But that wasn't too much pain...
this poem sent from Maine...
though maybe it's inane,
and sure to draw disdain
and thoughts that I'm insane,
when read with unmuddled brain.

Rewritten with edits, revisions.  Sorry.  I'll be better by next Friday, I'm sure.  The following poem was what I'd set out to try.  I got distracted by the muddling, puddling, befuddling of my brain.


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, Please

The dogs are just sleeping,
While my eyes are weeping.
The dogs are reposing,
While I am blow-nosing.
The dogs are a'cuddle,
While my brain's a'muddle.
The dogs are all cozy,
While my nose is rosy.
The dogs are so still,
While I have a chill.
The dogs' naps are pleasing,
While I sit up sneezing.
The dogs wake with zest,
I just want to rest.

When I got up, she decided to see if I was serious about not caring if she were in the chair...
so very quietly...
"I'm going to see if she notices...so far, so good,"