Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday The Finale


https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/sol15-day31/

It's the last day of March!  Endings...  Almost as good as beginnings...
We saw spring, at least in name, arrive.  Not much green here in Maine yet, but the sun is out longer and brighter, so the mud season is creeping upon us.  Spring will follow.  I think my favorite day of the challenge was the day (I put it all in one day, though it was a weekend) we were challenged to read 60 posts.  That is when I got to lots of new bloggers or bloggers I'd never read before.  And it was so much fun, that often I'd read back a few posts even to get more background on what had been written.  I enjoyed that day, broken up in posts of 20, so I didn't totally ignore my husband for the day!

Writing Marches On

When we began this writing thing
It wasn't yet the start of spring,
But as this month marched on and on
Slices bloomed in spring's sweet song!
For some there'd be green budding roses,
For others still just runny noses;
But either way we kept on writing,
Kept on reading, kept delighting
In the words we wrote and read
Way past the time for teachers' bed!
And now it's done, just after spring,
The SOLC challenge fling.
We wrote and read, and then did more
It's April now - what's next in store?
Don't stop writing, don't you dare,
Friends you've made still read and care!
Write each Tuesday, keep all posted
On TWT where slices are hosted - or is that toasted?

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

What a wonderful month of posting and reading.  There were so many great posts - I hope to keep tabs on lots of new friends I've discovered in this supportive community, and hope I keep hearing from some who have visited my site.  You get to feel like you know each other with these glimpses into lives and hearts.

The A-to-Z Challenge starting tomorrow.  I will be writing a Poem a day in April for Poetry Month starting with the letter A, of course! Each poem will be written to /for/about a sign I've taken a picture of.  I'm hoping they will all show up on time on demand!  I know A is ready, at least.

I'll also try to keep posted for Tuesday Slices and Poetry Jam Wednesdays!

On April 22, I'll be a guest host at Laura Shovan's Author Amok, and contributing the next to last line of the Irene Latham's Progressive Poem on April 29 - which is my grand daughter's first birthday!   It's going to be a busy, busy April! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Love in Ten Lines


https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/sol15-day30/


Wow!  Day 30 in the Slice of Life Challenge is upon us!  One more day to go!  And then it will be on to more challenges.  A-to-Z is next and I'll be posting a poem a day with a picture each day of a sign.  You will just have to check back and see on Wednesday.  I'm not even sure what turn it will take.
And for more fun in April: on the 22nd, I will be guest hosting at Laura Shovan's Author Amok, and April 29th, I will be adding the next to last line on the Progressive Poem at Irene Latham's Live Your Poem.  It's going to be a fun month!

Today's slice is a love poem for a poem...I love writing, so it seemed fitting at the end of this month, I would post a poem about writing poems.  Is there any one else up for the challenge of writing a Love Poem using the guidelines below?  Let me know and I'll make you an official nominee!

Gillena Cox has given a challenge to write a love poem of 10 lines using the word "love" in each line.  Here is my Love Poem - a poem about loving poetry.

RULES
Write about love using only 10 lines.
Use “love” in every line.
Each line can only be 4 words long.
Nominate 10 or so others who are up for the challenge.
Let them know about the challenge.
Title the post, Love in Ten Lines

My 10 nominations are going out to:  TBA

"this love of mine"
is a love complete;
this love of phrases
is a love replete
with love of meter
and love of rhymes,
a love of story,
a love of times,
love of pure senses;
this love, poetry, recompenses.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

"This Love of Mine" is a song by sung here by Frank Sinatra, accompanied by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1941.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Of Tea and Roses

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/sol15-day29/
Two Writing Teacher's Slice of Life Challenge is winding down...we're almost through March!
And Poetry Jam has a prompt to write a poem with a coffee or tea theme.  I wrote a slice poem to coffee yesterday.  Today is it tea's turn!  Lots of bits of memories of my life are contained in this poem, some of which just started to make sense as I was writing it.  I was amazed at the connectedness and came to some realizations about myself as I wrote.  That felt good.
My Red Rose Tea figures - my grandmother had quite a few

Of Tea and Roses - Red and Yellow

I remember my mother saying
   I should not wear yellow
      it would not look good
         on me.

Nannie possessed
   glorious tea cups;
      after dinner they would
         hold Red Rose Tea
I chose from all her elegant cups
   and matching saucers
      the one to hold my tea;
Always my pick -
   her black teacup
      yellow roses inside
         gold trimmed
            with a matching saucer
               to hold your spoon
               and a sugar cookie.

When she died,
   I asked for her black teacup
      so I would remember
I knew I would be miserable
   if ever that precious cup broke;
      I forgave myself
         when it did

I still savor my memories
   of having tea with
      with milk
         and sugar
in her black teacup
      yellow roses inside
         gold trimmed
            with a matching saucer
               to hold your spoon
               and a sugar cookie.     
I think it’s actually
   prettier now.

Perhaps this teacup is why
   yellow roses are my favorite
      a single yellow rose was my wedding bouquet
         my babies were born on yellow rose linens
Perhaps it is why
   my new house will be yellow

I remember what my mother said
   I still do not wear yellow
      but it looks good
         on roses.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Will You Have?


https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/sol15-day28/


Each Wednesday, Poetry Jam has a different prompt to write a poem about.  This week it is to write about coffee or tea...
And for Two Writing Teachers SOLC, this is also a slice of life, a memory brought back to me through the prompt of coffee.
Here's to coffee first!  There will be a slice of Tea tomorrow.

What Will You have?

bold
robust
mellow
full-bodied
(wine?)
breakfast blend
ah-ha, coffee!
there is no ‘breakfast blend’ of wine
except from my childhood -
our breakfast blend of whine:
four kids perched on chairs 
parents in a hurry

      “I don’t like hard-boiled eggs.”
“Eat your eggs.”
       “I don’t want raisins in my toast.”
“Raisins are good for you. Eat them.”
        “Is there grapefruit juice in my orange juice?”
“No! (yes, there was!)  Drink it.”
        “Can we have pancakes?”
“No. Maybe on Sunday. Eat your breakfast.”

four kids un-perched and
flew out the door to catch the school bus
taking our blended breakfast whine with us
parents, unwhined, fried up eggs and bacon
and percolated their coffee
breakfast blend
- no whine -
full-bodied
mellow
robust
bold

©Donna JT Smith, 2015


Friday, March 27, 2015

Quenching a Thirst at the Old Fountains

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/sol15-day27/


Today is Poetry Friday, hosted by Jone at Check It Out
I'm in with a monorhyme today for both Poetry Friday AND Heidi Mordhorst's My Juicy Little Universe AND Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.  This is the last day of Heidi's challenge to write a poem with a required ending 'ch' word.  And we are nearing the end of TWT SOLC....just a few more days left.  Then I will begin the A-to-Z Challenge.  I have a theme of sorts and there will be a poem a day to celebrate Poetry Month and to go with my theme.  I have not pre-written or scheduled any posts for April so far.  Usually I have a number of them ready to go, alleviating the burden on some of the busier days.  We will see how THAT goes!

The word today is "QUENCH".  Because I wrote a monorhyme for it, there are a lot of ending ch words...  I liked the last line because it actually has two -ch words.  Get it?

What to Say and How to Say It

Shovel divulges, “I’ll trench.”
Tired back stresses, “I’ll wrench.”
Waterfall gushes, “I’ll quench.”
Coach advises, “I’ll bench.”
Rain insinuates, “I’ll drench.”
Fist determines, “I’ll clench.”
Muscle man proclaims, “I’m hench!”
Skunk alerts us, “I’ve stench!”
La jeune fille dit, "I'm French."

©Donna JT Smith, 2015


Drinking Fountain, Central Park - Library of Congress image

Do you remember town drinking fountains?  They used to be on many street corners.  They were the old fashioned "water bottles" that people carry around today.  Back then, when you were out and about and needed to quench your thirst, you could just step on the lever or turn a handle, and later push a button I guess, to bring up an arc of water to your lips.   And if you were short, you either climbed the fountain or had to be lifted up to get your drink.

It never really occurred to us that they were probably not the cleanest things to drink from.  You figured if you didn't put your mouth on it, it should be clean.  But some people did put their mouths on it, especially if the flow was low.  And then, they WERE outside - you could have bugs landing on it, and birds flying overhead.  Occasionally you would see gum spit out in the basin.

But we seemed to survive regardless of the germs we encountered.  That was back in the day when smallpox and polio had just been "conquered" fairly well, but most people were still pretty aware of the dangers of using public facilities. 

Which reminds me too, do you remember having to pay a nickel to use the restroom?  Often there were stalls that were free, but the ones you paid for were supposed to be kept up and cleaned better.  I believe I climbed under a stall door once or twice to let my aunt use a pay toilet on a road trip we took to Florida when I was a kid.  Hmm.  I wonder if they cleaned those floors better, too.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Perch


https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/sol15-day26/

Two Writing Teachers is hosting the Slice of Life Challenge for the month of March.  Visit some of the wonderful blogs that are linked to their page.  Click the orange slice to get there or on the blog title.
If you are looking for today's poem with Perch - it's at the end of my post.

Today, I did what I said I was going to do - what I've wanted to try for quite a while.
I went to the public library and hung out in the children's area for 2 hours reading and thinking about books.  I should have done this a long time ago.  I read mostly early readers, though one book I read was a biography of Peter Mark Roget, "The Right Word".  You know, the guy who wrote the Thesaurus...which means "treasure" in Latin and Greek.  Did you know that?  I didn't.  I never even thought it had another meaning besides being its own meaning of a book that has a lot of words you can use for other words to mean the same thing.  He started making lists of words at an early age and continued for his whole life.

A few books after that one, I read a "Fancy Nancy" book which I'd never read before.  Neat thing.  In her books she's always using a "fancy word" and then defining it for you in the context of the story.  Kind of a neat pairing of books to read in your class if you wanted to start expanding vocabulary in reading and writing, and making them aware of how they could use "fancy Nancy" words in place of some plainer words.


I must say that the children's room has changed since I was a kid.  There was a craft activity going on in a room beside the book room.  There were home schoolers and an after school group from the public school using the space. Some were building train tracks, some were in a little rowboat, some played with a dollhouse, a few were on computers with headsets, some were at tables playing board games, and others were in Winnie the Pooh's treehouse or sitting in easy chairs, as I was, reading.  It was a busy place after school.

I enjoyed the background noise of the activities as I read.  Maybe I wouldn't if I were reading something above a second grade reading level and had to concentrate.  But I wasn't, and I didn't have to.  So it was enough fun that I think I will do this again, anticipating that it will also help me in my own writing.

Just one more tiny little thing that seems worth mentioning.
As I walked into the library there was a poster on the door and flyers on the desk to take... Poetry Open Mic... read your own poetry or a poem you like by some other poet.
The woman at the desk said they'd done this before, and it was very successful.  She said there were all ages.

"Even my age?" I asked.
"Yes!" was her happy response.

I'm thinking about it.  It's just a little town thing.  Well, a bigger-town-than-I-live-in thing.  It's actually a small city: the small city in which I taught.  I don't know.  I have never stood up in front of people and read my poetry.  I have this feeling I should do it.  Just do it.  Maybe it would be a good thing to just go and listen to for the first time, and then decide if I have anything to contribute.  Or maybe I just do it and hope there's no one there I know.  I could wear a disguise.
What would I read...if I were to do it?


Heidi Mordhorst's word at My Juicy Little Universe today is PERCH.  It seemed fitting for a flitting bird that is commonly seen here.  They seem especially busy and talkative right now out there in the extra sunshine and melty snow!


The Maine State bird is the Black-capped Chickadee.  It's a cute little ADHD bird that doesn't feel the need to leave the state in winter.  It bops around from tree to shrub and looks for left over berries and rose hips.  As spring arrives, the robins have first dibs on the early morning songs.  After that, the chickadees take over for a while.  If you've never noticed that all birds don't sing at the same time, listen some day.  See who has the first round of calls, and as they die down, who is next.  They have a pattern they follow...there are rules to being a bird. There are very few "Share the Skies" signs.

Chickadee Perch

From his perch in the birch
The chickadee sings
In winters or summers,
But best of all springs.
 
When the robins are done
It's chickadee time
With back and forth banter
Their voices will chime.

"I am here, where are you?"
"I'm just over here."
"I don't see you yet, love!"
"I'm over here, dear."

"I'll hop over there then."
"I'll wait in this tree."
"I'll come and find you, My
Little Chickadee!"

Their chirping gets closer,
"Fee-bee, chick-a-dee";
One birch perch at a time,
"Chick-a-dee-see-mee!"

©Donna JT Smith, 2015


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Snatch


https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/sol15-day25/

Wow!  Day 25 at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge 2015!  Go there to read some very interesting blogs...maybe get an idea or two for your own writing - like I did!

First:   I am finally just now putting my link up that I worked on last night.  This morning - no WIFI!  I started and restarted everything in the house except maybe the coffeemaker!  Finally, for no apparent reason, it is again working.  Must hurry though - who knows when the WI-"FI-airy" will be back! 
I was scooting to the bottom of the TWT page to post my link when I saw "jarhartz on said:
A slice of no wifi– 91 words -2 pictures- 2 devices – embracingly 2 hour post https://jarhartz.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/sol15-day-25-the-wifis-killing-me/"
and HAD to check it out!  I just spent 2 hours trying to post, too!

Now the slice:
Yesterday's post had a poem that was taken from an idea gleaned from reading a SOLC blogger, and today I am doing it again - only not a poem.  I am posting my comment that I made on Books and Bassetts.  She had told about parallel parking at the veterinarian's clinic, and how she actually did it!  I was excited last week about doing the same thing and had really planned on writing about it before now.  Her post was a wonderful reminder to write about it.

Last Tuesday, I was meeting a friend at a bakery where we have tea and a sweet before a meeting at school.  Typically I will keep on going until I find a space where I can just slip in easily, no one in front of me or no one in back.  It's on a fairly steep hill and a one way section that isn't very wide.  I don't like to parallel park in the first place, so like I said, I keep going until I can find an easy place to park.  Mind you, too far away and you have a steep hill to walk back up to get to the bakery...  Another drawback to parallel parking too close to the bakery is that everyone by the windows can sit there eating and watching how well you accomplish the parking.

But for some reason, on this day, this space looked large enough.  Perhaps I'd had enough coffee earlier in the day and felt especially awake and alert.  I glanced at the windows and couldn't see anyone watching.  I decided to do it.  Parallel park.  On a busy street.  Right in front of windows.  Between parked cars...albeit they had left a nice roomy space.

I snugged up close to the car in front, pulling up alongside it, but not too far forward, cranked the wheels and put it in reverse...slowly, but not too slowly because I'd be holding up traffic if it didn't work, I backed up and in toward the curb.  I could see that I was not going to hit the car in front of me as I swung the nose in AND I was not going to hit the curb with my rims...Whooo-hooo!  I tucked 'er in and put 'er in park.  Then I confidently took the key out and hopped out.

Before locking the door (I guess I wasn't THAT confident), I went to the sidewalk and looked at how close I had gotten, almost expecting to see 2 feet between my tires and the curb.  But no!  I was about 10 inches or less and even to the curb.  Yipes!  I'd done it!  I'd parallel parked - something I've been too nervous to do for years.

I did it perfectly and I was so excited I got out and took a PICTURE of my car perfectly positioned between two vehicles and lined up evenly 10 inches from the curb - never even hitting the curb, let alone the other cars!  I didn't even CARE if anyone saw me taking a picture.  Who wouldn't take one?
Ta-dah!  Wicked good job!
Heidi Mordhorst's word for today at My Juicy Little Universe is "snatch", and the puppy and I are working on this NOT happening.  And if it does, at least giving it to me instead of galloping off happily and avoiding me.  If she didn't have something in her mouth she'd be grinning, I'm sure...she thinks it's THAT funny.
Ginger with my LLBean boot...not fetching...
Snatch and Catch

Fish a tissue off her tongue - so many times that song is sung!
Snare a sneaker sneaked away - a never ending game to play!
Snatch my sock out of her teeth - and give it an RIP wreath!

        - This is just the game I play!  Please don’t take this stuff away!


Seize my towel, toss to clean - I don’t think I’m being mean!
Reclaim shirt, and now my boot - somehow they’re all seen as loot!
Confiscate that little screw - tucked in cheek to later chew!

        - I’m okay, I won’t get sick!  It’s really good stuff that I pick!

"Come", now "Sit", and "Drop it,  Pup" - Your "Snatch It" games are all washed up!
Your toys are all here in your bin - choose from here and we’ll both win!
No more snatching things from me - I am catching on to your tricks, see!

        - These toys look good enough it’s true.  But they don’t smell a bit like you!

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Crouch

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/sol15-day24/
At Two Writing Teachers where the Slice of Life Challenge is going strong, it's
day 24, which is...
23+1...
11+11+1+1...
a dozen plus a dozen...
two baker's dozen minus two...
a whole lotta' ones...
3 weeks of 8 days a week...
3 and 3/7 weeks...
half of 48...
31-7....
What we've completed, leaving only 7 days remaining... 
We...
can...
do...
it!

While reading 60 blogs on Saturday, some words from "On a Thought", gave me something to think about, and a poem came out.  She did a running clinic evaluation of some sort and she found out she walks like she is dancing ("Did you know I walk like I’m dancing? My feet are the hardest to diagnose. They don’t make shoes for my kind of feet."), which I don't understand in clinical terms, just that because of this there are no shoes made for you.

The terminology was interesting and started me thinking. Though I'm sure, in a real life running clinic evaluation situation it isn't as lyrical or whimsical as it sounds.  Still, it sounded good, and a poem came out of her words.
(I found it...On a Thought...You can go there to see what I was talking about and the above quote on her page.)  It's great to visit other sites.  Sometimes your brain starts working overtime and you get a good idea hatching.  I looked and looked, but could not find your name, Mrs. Thought.  Thank you, though. 

Walk Like You Are Dancing

Walk like you are dancing...
   and friends
      will dance
   your journey
      with you.
Walk like you are unafraid
    of days dawning
    of night falling
       of thunder storms

Walk like you are dancing...
   and music
      will play
   in your heart
       forever.
Walk like you are holding
     joy in your pockets
     happiness in your arms
         songs in your soul

Walk like you are dancing...
   and your feet
     will skip
   over the earth
     like song.
Walk like you are soaring
    above clouds
    across white capped waves
        amid whirling breezes

Walk like you are dancing...
  and in your dance
    find the music
      the love
        the joy
          of life

©Donna JT Smith, 2015


The word for a poem today is "Crouch" for Heidi Mordhorst's ending ch word challenge for March over at My Juicy Little Universe

Cat in the grass
Ready to pounce
On whatever it's looking at
Under that leaf
Catching it is
Half the fun, twitching is the other.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Clutch


https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/sol15-day23/

Two Writing Teachers.  Slice of Life Day 23.  It's a cold, but sunny, Monday in Maine after a cold, snowy and very windy weekend in Maine.  At least the snow didn't amount to much.  The cold and wind, however, made up for that.  The wind has died down and it isn't snowing.  We are left with sunny and cold.  No sign of greening anywhere yet.

On Saturday, I spent a lot of the day commenting on blogs for the Highlights writers' retreat drawing. I knew I couldn't do any on Sunday, so I read and read and read on Saturday.  I have to say, I am glad that I got that chance to read.  As Margaret Simon said after reading 60 blogs and commenting, "I won already."  It's true; it really does seem that the reading of so many blogs in a day was the prize itself.  I logged 64 visits, 64 comments...and they were all so much fun to read.  I'd like to take a day and do that again... laundry, lunch and leisure suffer though... and puppy lacks attention.

Just a short slice from yesterday.  I teach Sunday School to 4-6 year olds, and yesterday was Sunday...
I was going to be talking about Mary for the lesson.  I wrote Mary on the whiteboard, and asked them if anyone knew who Mary was - figuring they'd remember that we were in Sunday School, in church, doing Bible stuff.  And they did, kind of:

"My mom and dad are married!"
"Mine, too!"
"My dad is back!"

I wrote "Marry" on the board next to Mary to show them that all the letters were the same, but there was an extra "r" in marry. Then we talked about how "marry" was a man and woman becoming husband and wife, and the other, "Mary", was a name.  It was the name Mary I wanted to know about.

"Oh, like Mary had a little lamb",  the four year old little boy sitting next to me declared.
I had to say, "You know it is exactly like her!"  For there is reason to believe that it, as many other nursery rhymes, had underlying religious or political meaning.

My oldest student, almost ready to move into the 7 to 12 year old class, finally spoke up and said, "Mary was Jesus' mother."

I'll be sad to see her go in a month when she turns 7.  It's nice to have someone know the answers.  But I also love hearing the answers from the unschooled!  I don't think I'll ever grow tired of hearing those precious responses!

And now, as usual, a poem for the day.  But first let me say this about that:

I'm pretty sure that I promise never to try to publish this one!  Sometimes you just write something stupid.  Here's my stupid one.  I'm not even going to tell you to enjoy, because I don't know that there's much to enjoy about it. It's not lyrical, nor very rhythmical.  It's confusing and bemusing.  (Oh, I am so going to use bemusing in a poem soon...)  It's Heidi Mordhorst's fault anyway.  She's the one who assigned "clutCH" for today.  I'm just the one who butCHered it.

A Clutch Situation

I clutch my clutch
march to the car
step on clutch
put it in gear
down the driveway
chick clutch appears
I clutch the wheel
and try to steer
stomp brake and clutch
as I near
car starts to veer
they thought I had
them in my clutches
but I've avoided
them with sheer
luck and clutch
no clucking clutch
need ever fear
as long as this
lucky clucky clutch
    clutch clutching
        car clutching
           champ is here -
I'm done
    hands off
        my story's done
don't clutch my throat,
    I'm done,
        my dear!

©Donna JT Smith

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Preach: a Double Diamante

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/sol15-day22/


It is day 22 of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers - 22 days in a row of writing something about life and for me a poem or two.  I think I'm up to 24 or 25 poems today, since on a few days I wrote two poems.  I'll count sometime.

Today is Cabin Fever Day at church!  Yum.  It's gonna be a cookout day!  Enough of winter already!  Okay, so the cookout isn't going to be outside. (Oh, it's snowing as I'm scheduling this for tomorrow, Sunday.  Perfect.)  We'll have a pretend cookout...in the church for dinner.  Can hardly wait for those hot dogs and hamburgers.  Oh, man!  Gluten-free?!?  I'd better bring a head of lettuce to put my burger in!

Ever since I discovered some problems I've had have been caused by gluten and quit eating anything containing gluten, I've discovered there are very few good substitutes for old favorites with gluten.  Slowly I'm learning which things are okay substitutes and which things you just do something different entirely because the substitutes are like eating particles of styrofoam.  And styrofoam doesn't toast well.

I think I've mentioned before that peanut butter does go well on potato chips instead of Saltines.  And chocolate does not contain gluten.  So that is a very good thing.  Lettuce makes a good taco shell, tuna salad roll-up, and holder for a burger.  I am learning to make changes in the way I view foods.  I am learning to get creative in how I make meals.  I am having to be careful where I eat out.   No grilling sandwiches on the grill where my food will be cooked.  I have to watch for eggs that have toast crumbs on them because they forgot and put toast on my plate then took it off and served me the toast-tainted eggs.  My breakfast meal out today touched bread somewhere, I found out about 30 minutes later.  I guess they are off my list.  It's happened at least twice since I've been aware of the "solution".

The good news is, more places are being careful and aware.  Amato's makes a wonderful gluten free pizza.  The crust is delicious.

Ruby Tuesday's has a menu that lists what is gluten free there.  Just ask for it.  And they double check what you have ordered and what your specific allergy is to be sure they have it correct and your food is safe for you.  I felt so confident there.  And I was fine.

If you are not sensitive or severely allergic to gluten, you really don't need to cut it out.  But I do wonder if we have so laced our meals and food items with gluten when we don't need to, that we have created this problem.  I was surprised, not pleasantly, when I discovered I could not eat Chinese food.  The soy sauce has wheat in it.  Who knew?  Never assume.  Always ask or read labels when available.

Today is cookout day.  I will carefully eat my burger, lettuce or no lettuce.  But definitely with ketchup and a smile on my hungry face.  Hope your day is beautiful.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
As today is Sunday, it seems only appropriate that I would use the word Preach for Heidi Mordhorst's ending CH word challenge for March over at My Juicy Little Universe.  There actually isn't a word for today, but she did have "Preach" earlier, and due to a bit of confusion on the word list (I was using an old list), I used a different word.  Though she graciously gave me and others credit for the wrong word, I'd like to make it up here!  So PREACH it is today!
A double diamante is what I've chosen to do.  If I did it again, I'd change the order of the words, but not at this point!
Preach

preach
powerfully, loudly
teaching, listening, revealing
fellowship, verses, Bible, amen, solitude
kneeling, seeking, knocking
humbly, quietly
pray
sweetly, earnestly
asking, praising, thanking
mouth, heart, Psalms, harmony, voices
rising, ringing, filling
joyfully, melodically
sing

©Donna JT Smith


Saturday, March 21, 2015

A-crunch-stic

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/sol15day8/

It's Saturday! Here's a piece of fresh toast and a retoasted slice from the past...the retoast is from my first year of doing the March SOL, Monday, March 21, 2011 - exactly 4 years ago today!  I enjoyed writing poetry even in the first year of Slicing!

This has some ending in CH words in it (cinch and Grinch)!  Heidi Mordhorst will be happy even though she doesn't have a ch word for today.

But then I had to go and write an acrostic for CRUNCH today.  I couldn't go with only a used poem.  I needed a fresh one - short, but fresh!

A-crunch-stic

Candy coated chocolate
Raked up leaves in fall
Underfoot eyeglasses
Naughty pup's chewed wall
Crystallized snow eating
Hammered finger's squall.
©Donna JT Smith, 2015

I think crunch came to me from stepping on my reading glasses yesterday.  There's nothing good about the sound of eyeglasses underfoot!  Fortunately, they will still work. I did not crunch the lenses, only rearranged the frame a bit.  It's a good thing I buy these off the rack in the drugstore!
Oh, dear...it's snowing again, as I look out my kitchen window there are flakes drifting down ever so softly.  Trying to lull me into enjoying them.  "Hey, look at us, we could be the last ones you see until fall.  No...really!  We could be.  Enjoy us!  You liked the first ones.  Why not us?"


The retoast is below:
Here's the poem and my added comment about it when asked by a commenter:

My comments on it: 
I was sitting in my classroom after everyone had gone. Decided to blog in the quiet, waiting for the snow to stop so I could head home. I started to write about the clutter that was in the room...then characters from books started getting onto the page. (We just finished Ramona, the Pest) I don't know, they all just started to bounce around out there, and I let them make their list, and it just happened.
We'd also read Mouse and the Motorcycle, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and a variety of fairy tales this year in first grade. I just started to think about all the characters we'd met in our room, and characters we've yet to meet.
BTW, the snow didn't stop.
 
Characters Schmaracters
 
Riding Hood and
Goldilocks
Little Bear and
Fox in Sox

Big Bad Wolf
Frog and Morris
Three Little Pigs,
Toad and Boris,

Dr. Desoto
Green Wilma the Frog
Hedgie, Mole and
Clifford the Dog,

Mr. Popper,
Winnie the Pooh,
Cinderella,
Horton and Who,

Babar, Sal,
Stuart Little,
Pippi Longstocking,
Dr. Doolittle,

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle,
Charlotte and Heidi,
Mary Poppins,
Bean and Ivy

Curious George
and the Man,
Ramona, Beezus,
Peter Pan

Peter Rabbit,
Corduroy,
Lorax, Ferdinand,
Tarzan, Boy,

Ralph S. Mouse,
and Sylvester,
Lilly, Arthur,
and Alexander.

For Strega Nona
And Stellaluna
I found no rhymes
Except Charlie Tuna.

And don't you know 
I really wish
I'd found a rhyme 
For Rainbow Fish

...wait a minute...

Strega Nona,
Spoon and Dish
Stellaluna,
Rainbow Fish!

There I did it;
That was a cinch.
I rhymed my list,
Except for Grinch.

©Donna JT Smith, 2011




Friday, March 20, 2015

Hatch

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/sol15-day20/

It is Day 20 of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers to post a slice each day in March.  So far, so good.

Today's word is hatch at Heidi Mordhorst's My Juicy Little Universe.  It should have been my easiest, but my mind would not work on it yesterday.  Too many other things going on, I guess.  So I am up fairly early and pulling up the draft, I see where I need to go.  And so the poem is done below. I also realize from writing it, I do have a slice.  It's a slice from my childhood.  There are actually a few stories about my city-raised-moved-to country parents and their chickens.

But today

When we first moved out to our "farm" in Maine it had a small chicken coop there.  It was short enough and small enough that we wanted to use it as a playhouse.  We spent some time cleaning it out as I recall, but that wasn't fun at all, so we spent time on the roof instead.  Actually, my brother did.  I went up once.  It was a gorgeous view from up there.  You could see our house (not too far away), the driveway (right beside the house), the field (that was right beside it) and down into the burdocks on the side of the coop you couldn't get to from the ground because you would have to walk through burdocks to get there.  The roof was fairly flat and square with tarpaper on it, so it was warm to lie down on.  We spent quite a bit of time up there just being up high, my brother and I. And then it was time for supper or lunch or some meal.  Mom called us.  That's when I discovered I couldn't get down.  I was frozen in fear when I realized I would have to turn around and put my legs over the edge to get on the ladder.  No amount of coaxing would get me down off that chicken coop roof.  My mother finally had to come up to the top of the ladder, so I could feel that she was right there behind me making sure my feet were planted firmly on the rungs.  What a comfort to have a strong parent there to surround you when you are feeling weak and vulnerable.  I never really got to see the chicken coop from an adult's perspective.  I'd wager the highest point was probably 6 feet off the ground...maybe less.  But when you are small, everything looks big.

Rhode Island Queen

Dipping her head to the ground
the old queen nods
to her subjects
this way
and that
her long train
flowing behind
undulating
over the ground -
my old red hen
whom I thought was lost
has returned again
from sitting
on a hidden nest
waiting
feeling
for just the right moment
for them to
hatch;
as she nears
her
undulating train
becomes a scurrying
fuzzy, feather quilt of chicks
blanketing her bare
toes.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

And one more, a Hatch Haiku about how much I like cooked egg whites....I won't even talk about uncooked egg whites:

Down the Hatch

Chewing egg whites - yuck!
Tiny flavorless bits that
won’t go down the hatch.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Oh, wait...an egg song written by my 3 year old grandson (Yea! Already a poet/song writer!):

Egg

Egg, egg,
Egg-egg-egg
But I can't eat the egg
cause it's a baby.
 
@F.O.T., 2015

If you have read down this far, you must like poetry, or at least are willing to give it a try, so come join in the fun of Poetry Friday hosted today by: Catherine at Reading to the Core.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lunch

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/sol15-day18/
Wow!  It's slice 19!  March is swiftly sliding spring toward us, or we are marching swiftly toward spring.  Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life Challenge this month.  It is Lunch I'm talking about today.

I hate thinking about lunch.  It is never really a meal.  It's a bunch of afterthoughts put together.  Here, have some chips.  A glass of milk? Soda? Juice?  Maybe you should really make something hot...grilled cheese, well, no.  Not anymore.  I am free of glutenous substances nowadays.  Unfortunately, that means no lunch sandwiches anymore.  But you know what?  Peanut butter tastes great on potatoes chips.  Yes, I've resorted to that.  But lunch is one of those afterthought meals I remember tossing together in a bag on my way out the door for school - yogurt, a cereal bar, a way-too-high-in-sodium-prepackaged-off-the-shelf-pasta-meals to heat in the microwave at school, or some leftovers from the night before...

When I was teaching, eating out of Tupperware and Rubbermaid or other plastic containers  was lunch.  Eating fast was a skill set, too, so you could be off and running to whatever else it was you needed to do in your "lunch hour" which was renamed "lunch break" as the hour was cut to 38 minutes.  Surely, you don't need to digest or talk to anyone your age.

As a kid in school, we never had a lunchroom - except for one year.  Ninth grade was at the Jr. High and we, being from a small town, came to that school for just that year before starting at the high school.  The Jr. High was a newer building and had a real CAFETERIA in the basement.  Exciting.  Hot food at lunch.  And then it was over.  No cafeteria at the high school.  You brought your lunch in a brown bag (no colorful cartoon lunch boxes any more), walked home if you lived close enough, or went to a sandwich shop nearby. 

At that time we'd moved in to town so we could go to school more easily.  Parents from outlying areas had to drive kids to school, as the buses didn't come out to get us, and only a few kids in high school had a car.   All that, to tell you that sometimes I walked home with my friend, and we would make a most delicious sandwich that we'd created:  Tuna Salad sandwich with potato chips (in place of lettuce) and raspberry or strawberry jam spread on one of the slices.  It sounds a little iffy, but it was heavenly!

There were lots of sandwiches from Grade 1 to 12 (Kindergarten hadn't been invented in our district in Maine).  I wonder now if that is how so many people have acquired the gluten problems.  Processed cereals for breakfast, crackers for snack, and sandwiches for lunch.  That's a lot of wheat.  I don't have any idea, but I am pretty sure we've done it to ourselves.

But that's a bit of a digression.  Back to lunch.  So lots of sandwiches.  My dad often made our lunches.  We each had a metal lunchbox with a character on it.  It was a big deal to pick out the new year's lunch box.  I cannot for the life of me remember even one of mine now.  I should ask my brother.  He remembers everything.

Lunches were always sandwiches.  PB&J, PBJ&M (M is for marshmallow fluff), J&M (if we didn't have any PB left), bologna with mustard, bologna and cheese with mustard, sliced hamburger with ketchup, fried slices of Spam, tuna salad, or Sandwich Spread sandwiches were what I remember most.  Sandwich Spread we learned years later was really supposed to be like a condiment - like mustard - on your sandwich, not the actual sandwich contents.  But to my mom and dad, it said "Sandwich Spread", so it mean you spread it on bread, and it makes a sandwich, and it doesn't cost so much for your 4 kids to eat a lunch.  We probably had an apple or other fruit to go with it.  And then there was the warm milk.  It started out being cold, but by the time it sat outside the classroom door all morning after the milkman delivered it, it was hall temperature.  Winters it wasn't too bad.  Warm days, I wished I'd had the extra 2 cents for chocolate milk instead of warm plain whole milk (they hadn't invented 2%, and I guess they hadn't heard that you should refrigerate milk).

At the end of the school year, when we cleaned out our desks there were always forgotten lunches squashed in one of the corners of a few desks.  Sometimes they were discovered before the end of the school year, because egg salad gets pretty bad in the heat of those late spring classrooms.

Nowadays, being retired and often on my own for lunch, I will either skip it, or again, just throw something together quickly.  I don't have to get back to a classroom, but it still doesn't feel like a meal I want to waste much time on.

Most of my life has been spent in schools, so it's probably habit after so many years of school lunches.  I think if I want to get healthier, lunches are going have to be relearned.  Can an old teacher learn new lunches?  I'm going to try.  It's time.

Heidi Mordhort at My Juicy Little Universe is challenging people to write poems using the word of the day ending in CH.  Today's word is Lunch.  Hey, what a coincidence!   I just wrote about lunch for my slice!

Lunch

As the middle link in the meal food chain
How can it really feel
sandwiched between mashed potatoes
and creamy hot oatmeal?

It's often found in a plain zippered box
and sometimes in brown bags.
What once was hot is now quite not,
and what was cold now sags.

Could ever there be a more mundane meal
than lowly pbj?
Yet still we love our midday munch.
Yea! Lunch is on it's way.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015


What did YOU have for lunch today?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Botch

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/sol15-day18/

Two Writing Teachers is hosting the Slice of Life Challenge for March.

Today is a day for me.  Well, I have one appointment at a school this morning, but then it is a day for me.  And I am going to breathe deeply and enjoy it!

This afternoon my happy cleaning lady friend will be here and she will make my house look like new...plus I think I'm going to work on the dreaded hall closet!  Boots, coats, hats, work gloves and miscellaneous things that I don't even want to know are in there.  Some of my daughter's dance recital costumes are there, I believe.  Tomorrow you will know what we found!  This will be soooo embarrassing, but I'm going to do it!

But right now, I am watching the dogs gnaw on one another, watching the cat watch them from the stairs, looking at a dozen yellow roses my husband brought home for me a couple of days ago because I was making him a Shepherd's Pie, and sipping a nice hot cup of black coffee!  Nice way to start a full day of me!

The results are in and I am not disappointed.  Just look, I was close AND I got the classroom vote!  This was better than I'd expected...so I'm going to take another sip of hot black coffee and open my eyes wider today!


Yesterday was a waiting day - waiting for the voting to close for my March Madness Poetry 2015 bout with Renee M. Tulippe.  It was fun to wake up and see the new numbers.  It was fun to go back and look at other bouts and see how they were coming along.  Buffy Silverman and Michelle Heidenrich Barnes both came through with wonderful poems and are going on to do great things I'm sure!  Watch for their next poems coming out in approximately 36 hours!

There is still a bunch of fun to be had reading and voting on poems!  I know I'll be reading.  I want to thank everyone who voted, whether for my poem or anyone else's!  You are the ones making this a fun tournament.  I love that I got the classroom votes - that's who I was writing to.  I can't be more pleased, really, and I am glad that I got this opportunity to write poetry under duress!  I guess I just love a challenge.

If you haven't yet gone to Ed DeCaria's site to read some poems, you really need to do that.  You may even get an idea or two for a good slice after reading some of the newly created poems there.

Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe is challenging poets with words ending in CH.  Today's word? Botch.  I thought it would be fun to see if you could botch up a poem.  I guess you can.  It's actually hard to do on purpose.  Try writing a truly terrible poem.  I'm not even sure it is possible when you are trying!  Even the 'botched up" sections kind of came out poetic in a manner...at least I've seen some poems like it that were called poems. I've written some.

Botched Up Poem

Can you botch up a poem?
You betcha, yes, I think you can.
Like if it is not having a rhythm and
It is not having any rhyme even

though you can, have a poem
without a rhyme
but if you cannot get it to flow;
right then maybe it is a new format

called a Botched Up Poem.
I'm not sure it is really easy to
write in the Botched Up format
I mean, it's like just saying stuff then...

I can't do it any more,
This poem's now a bore -

So -

Can you botch up a poem?
You betch-a, yes, you can.
Just ignore any rhyming
and skip all the elan.

We'd name it Botched Up Poem
a new unique format,
but if I had to write it much
I'd think "it's not all that".

I'll try it once again:

Yes you, can, botch up a poem
but you almost really have to try!
harder to botch it up
than write one that isn't.

Nope, it's too hard:

You can botch up a poem,
but it's harder than you'd think
to write a truly Botched Up one
and leave it there to....
    umm...stink? 

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Okay, maybe tomorrow's poem will be better!  I thought that would work out to be funny, but I'm pretty sure it's just botched up.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lurch Season

Voting on the Second Round of Poems is still Open at Think Kid Think, all morning and part of the afternoon. Check it out!
https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/sol15-day16/

We still have plenty of snow on the ground, but the signs of spring are sprouting everywhere.  Our frost heave season, that precedes the pot hole season, that precedes the mud season is upon us.  Talk about lurching.  Goodness, coming home last night from town we came out the back way from the shopping center on one of the newer roads.  The dip was enough to lose your car in.

There should have been a sign there that said "Stop. Look ahead and down. If there are enough cars piled up in this hole to proceed safely, do so.  If not, please pull ahead slowly into the hole and kindly let others use your car to get across."
I guess that was too much to write.  Hence, no sign.
 
The roads are untextable right now.  Auto correct can't even discern what in the world you could have meant.  You would think "auto" correct would mean it was good for riding in the car, but it isn't.

Sometimes I want to just sent the text "as is"...
It gets to be pretty funny.
 "Web aye windstorm there"
Any ideas as to what that was.
No?
It was not a pirate talking about the weather.
It was "We are almost there."
Yeah, that's close.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In Lurch Season

I felt the car lurch down and up -
my fingers slid on screen;
Before I knew it I had sent
"we avenue u mean."

I tried to say "where have you been?"
but words and letters jumbled;
The text all scrambled in this way
would indicate I'd mumbled.

Frost heaves right before the spring
are in-road roller coasters;
Instead of "Warning: Bump Ahead"
we need "No-Text Zone" posters.

For passengers in Lurch Season
"no texting" rules apply  -
My last text said "one oust pro"
Could you tell "I brought pie"?

©Donna JT Smith, 2015
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ThinkKid Think March Madness Poetry
Two Writing Teachers, Slice of Life Challenge, 2015
My Juicy Little Universe: Lurch  Thanks, Heidi, for yesterday's music!  It made my day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Inch and MMP 2015


https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/sol15-day16/

It's day 16 on the Slice of Life Challenge for March at Two Writing Teachers.  We are over half-way now!
I should by rights have the poem I did on March 3 do double duty. That day the word was Stretch, and I used it and "inch".  But I won't.  I'm going to write a new poem while I wait.  "Wait for what?" you ask.  Wait for voting to be happening.  My poem is up against Renee LaTulippe's peom today over at March Madness Poetry 2015 on Think Kid Think!

I wrote 4 poems using the word "trampled" - a really difficult acrostic and a few others that I wasn't really pleased with.  Then the one I submitted came to me.  It came in two parts.  I had just about decided to submit the acrostic (which I was pretty sure wouldn't fit in the space provided), when I looked back over my notes and found a half cooked poem.  I was sitting in Starbucks at the time, and started to work on it again, shuffling it around in my brain and on the screen.  It finally fell into place, and the resulting poem was the one I finally gave my approval to.

So I submitted my poem, and now it is up on ThinkKidThink.com to be read, and voted on or not... I'd really love to have you pop on over there and read poems and vote on a bunch.  It's a fun activity.  Voting closes on Tuesday am.

I'm exhausted, posting this just after midnight today...maybe I'll come back and write more when my brain isn't so fried!

I came back this morning (later...when I was awaker) and had this to say:

Spring Inches

Little by little
Spring inches in;
Snow has to lose
Sun has to win.
The clock hops forward,
Shadows inch back;
The spring sun warms,
Ice starts to crack.
Liquid and solids
Mingle and flow;
Puddles appear
With nowhere to go,
Until I carve
Inches of grooves
And water begins
To trickle and moves
Where I've created
Rivers with stick,
and they have no choice
which route to pick;
For I am the master
of rivers and moats
and all of the little
stick and leaf boats.

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

My mother would have liked this one.  To you mom, you were the master of rivers with stick and leaf boats.

This was last night....or this morning just before 1 am...

Inch

I gave them an inch
they took a mile
my eyes were closing all the while
I gave them a mile
they wanted three
my brain was dozing happily
I gave them three
they wanted more
and I began to softly snore
the more they got
the more they plead
Oh, dogs, I need to get to bed.
This walking in my sleep to do
the things for you you want me to
Has got to stop so I can rest
And tomorrow I can be my best
so go to sleep like I am, see?
and be the best that you can be.

Donna JT Smith, 2015

And with that parting poem, I'm off to bed, hoping for a "lying down sleep" with no puppy waking me up.  And no cat either.  I'll check the voting in the morning.  I can't make it go faster by sitting up with my eyes closed.





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Heart of Snow

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/sol15-day15/

It's day 15, and I guess you could say we are as close to half-way without going over as we can be.  Join the slicers for the month of March at Two Writing Teachers - see what's up in the lives of lots of dedicated teachers, retirees, parents, students, and even some animals...
And a poem for Heidi Mordhorst's at My Juicy Little Universe: an ending CH word, even though she doesn't have them for the weekend days.  I just can't stop myself.  I apologize.  But it's watCH.

Found this on the shoveled walk to our door.
I just noticed that the shadow at the top of the picture would indicate a heart shaped shadow with that v shape of light.  Dog prints are extra evidence of love here.  No one made this heart, it was just a clump of snow that fell from one of the banks on either side of the walk, probably when the puppy got to close to the edge of the three to 4 foot high banks right there or maybe the 8 foot mound created by the front end loader that scooped out our driveway this winter.  It's going to be a long time melting!  Oh, and the mud.  It's going to be a long time drying.  The spring run off should be spectacular down at the dams.  People gather by the bridges and river edge to watch the raging waters dragging at the riverbank and gouging new routes.
But back to the heart.

Heart of Snow

hearts of snowmen watch
for spring's sun rays to arrive
when all cold hearts melt

Donna JT Smith, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Grouch

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/sol15-day14/

It is day 14 of Two Writing Teachers' March Slice of Life Challenge to write every day in March.  I'm late today, but I had to finish my poem for Ed DeCaria's March Madness Poetry 2015 Tournament.  I'm in for the second bout.  Unfortunately for me, I'm up against RenĂ©e  LaTulippe!  I am shivering in my boots, and not because it's started to storm again!
And though it is not an official "ending ch word day" over at Heidi Mordhorst's My Juicy Little Universe...

Grouch

I'm really trying to be calm, but I can't find my sock.
I thought it was still early morn, but just look at the clock.
It's getting late, no poem done and now the storm begins -
I'm walking backwards all day long, on needles and on pins.
I need a break from nothing done, I need to stop and rest.
I've sat behind this glaring screen and tried to do my best;
But now the puppy has a shoe, and I must stop and scold -
I think the fire needs a log, the house is getting cold.
Don't mean to grouch!  What attitude!  Put on a big, ol' smile,
And maybe that will change my mood in just a little while.
This smile "becomes" my attitude, I'm happy it's in charge.
Where is that chocolate ice cream? This smile deserves a large!

I'm in a full, full Starbucks.  Conversations everywhere.  Chairs scrape on the tiled floor as tables empty and fill.  Doors suck open and clunk shut.  Espresso machines whir and spoons clatter on metal.  Laughter from the staff.  Water spray whooshing.  I've heard "Sorry about that!" twice in less than a minute.  The clipping of a woman's shoes as she passes by tells me she has manicured nails...I can tell by her shoes.  Most people here have soft soled shoes and worn hands, or boots and young student hands.  The music has subsided and I can no longer hear it.  It was loud and blaring jazz when we got here.  I told my husband when we settled into the leather chairs with our computers that is was the most irritating music.  I don't know though.  I think I've heard worse.  It just isn't good music to write with as it stomps into my brain.  I tried to keep it out.  It finally stayed out, because I don't even remember hearing that they turned the music way, way down.  There is just a vague, hint of music difficult to discern with the rattle of cups and closing of the cooler door.
My poem is done.  We are getting ready for another storm.  There's flooding on our road to the island.  We will have to see if it's passable tomorrow.  We may be marooned on an island.  That sounds like fun.  Wood fire, hot chocolate, popcorn, Shepherd's Pie, ice cream...wait this is getting to be a list of food... warm puppy, curled up cat, computer time, a bit of tv or some cribbage if we lose power.  It's supposed to be heavy, wet snow.  Those are the storms in which we lose power.  When that happens we sit for a bit and ask ourselves "why?"  Has a tree come down and taken out wires?  Or did someone not make that treacherous corner and hit a pole?   We haven't had that much heavy snow this winter, and haven't lost power.  Amazing.  This storm is ice first, snow second, warmish temps - not a good combination for our little community by the sea.
I guess I have a slice.  I think it's time to go home slowly and carefully.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Of Arches and Shoes

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/sol15-day13/

It's Friday, so I am posting for Poetry Friday at Laura Shovan's Author Amok with my poem "Arch Overhead" with the word "arch" in it for Heidi Mordhorst's March challenge words.
This is also a post for March 2015 Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.  Lots of good posts about daily life and memories if you go there to check it out.

And for all who cast a vote for my poem Fowl Call in the March Madness Poetry 2015 Tournament, Thank You!  I'm in for another round!  I must admit I was overwhelmed and shaky about going up against some - no all - of the poets in the tournament.  New word comes tomorrow night.  36 hours of writing a poem.  Voting late Sunday night, all day Monday, and Tuesday until just after 12 Central time.  Hope you can make it back to vote for more poetry one of those days.

If Diarrhea Dog doesn't keep me up Friday night, I'm sure I'll be up anyway.

Arch Overhead

 Sighing for long Winter to end 
 Loving hands twining,        and spring to arrive,
  Some reaching strong,                         when white gloves toss
Clasping in prayer,                                       dust flakes aside,
           wherever I go;                                                            and tender buds prosper
Arch overhead                                                                      as branches upraise
              gloved in snow                                                                               their green fingered hands
       Fingers of trees                                                                                             softly swaying sweet praise

 ©Donna JT Smith, 2015

If there is one thing I like to take a picture of, it is hands and shoes.  Wait, that's two.  Okay, if there are two things I like to take pictures of they are hands and shoes.  (I also like to take pictures of trees and ocean and animals...nevermind.  I like to take all kinds of pictures.) I have no idea why I began liking to take pictures of shoes except that is what I sometimes notice about people.  And not in a critical way, just interested.  What kind of shoes can you tolerate for wearing all day?
I think I got interested in hands when I my grandson was born.  Such sturdy hands - wide with short fingers.  Then my granddaughter came along with loooonnng, slender hands.  It was intriguing.  Such different features for a brother and sister.
So for hands - Are you a nail polish wearer.  Do you go get pedicures?  Do you have animals or small children, so it makes nail care of a fancy nature impractical?  Hands and feet often kind of go together.  They aren't right beside each other and they don't get the same attention usually, but I'll bet if I had ten pictures of shoes and ten pictures of hands, I could match them up.  I've never tried this, but it just came to me as I was typingI

If your hands do hard work, your feet probably do, too, so practical shoes, practical hands, high pointy shoes, high maintenance hands...I think it makes sense.
And someday I think I will test my theory further.  When I test it on myself it works anyway.
I, myself, am a plain Jane when it comes to almost anything.  I have self/almost unmanicured hands.  Sometimes I treat myself to a bit of hand lotion to smooth those dry spots in the winter.   But that's it.  No polish ever.  No emery board because they give me chills when I try to use them.  I'm always breaking nails, so they are usually short.

So there's more than you wanted to know about me!

Oh, wait.  Can't forget the shoes.  I know you want to know about my shoes.

To compliment my hands, I wear:

My indoor slipper shoes - lined Crocs for winter.

My comfy tennis shoes if it isn't snowy outside.
My LLBean boots if it is snowy or rainy or I just feel like it.
I also have one prettier pair of shoes, very unlike me.  But they are so comfortable when I HAVE to dress up.
My Cinderella shoes - so soft and comfortable.
It's all about the arch.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pitch

https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/sol15-day12/

Today is day 12 of 31 in the Slice of Life Challenge to write a slice each day in the month of March.
It is also the day to write a poem for the word "pitch" at Heidi Mordhorst's My Juicy Little Universe.
There are about 6 more hours to vote on the first "Flight" of poems.  The second "Flight" went up yesterday and are open for voting now, too.  Poems galore are on coming up in Ed DeCaria's Think Kid Think March Madness 2015!  So, so exciting.  I won't know the results until voting for Flight 1 closes just after noon.  Results of the first bout will be posted online, so you can see how your favorites did.  So stop in there and read and vote all month.  You can't get more free fun than this!
If you are here for Poem for Poetry Jam - prompt "Eyes", scroll to the bottom where my poem, "eyes", is located.

The Pitch

The salesman made the perfect pitch
and sold me on a tent ;
I called my friends they all pitched in
and in the van we went .
We drove down to the town boat launch,
put rowboat in the lake
A storm came up as we set out
which was our next mistake!
Our little rowboat pitched and rolled
more than a little bit -
We tossed our cookies in the lake
and pitched a whiny fit!
We tried to sing some sailing songs,
our voices swayed off key
Along the way to camp, I fear,
Our pitch was lost at sea!
To shore we rowed and rowed some more
and pitched the boat on land.
We tried to pitch our tent upright
But we were on wet sand.
Pitch black, and raining pitchforks
and hammer handles, too,
No flashlight, nor a candle,
What were we all to do?
The home-run pitch to pack it up
Was uttered from some lips
We crossed the water to the van
parked under pitch pine drips.
We pitched the tent into the back
to head home for a towel.
I aired the tent and washed the van -
proclaimed the pitch was foul.

 ©Donna JT Smith, 2015


Now the Slice - about pitch...and climbing pine trees!

This is not the right pine tree to climb!

The trees in the picture might have grown to be selected as one of the King's trees if we still did that today.  It's in my front yard.  The King's trees were white pines that were very tall and straight, with  branches that started up very high.  They were used to make ships' masts for the kIng's Royal Navy since they were tall, straight, strong and lightweight.  The last stand of these magnificent tall pine trees is in Brunswick at Bowdoin College.



White Pines have needles in clusters of 5.

Do you remember climbing pine trees?  Growing up in Maine, with the White Pine as the state tree and the pine cone as the state flower, we had our pick of quite a few.  The best ones had big, old limbs down low; you could not help but be tempted to climb and sit up high to secretly, silently watch the goings on around you.  There wasn't much actually going on, where we lived, though, so the spy game had to be just that - a game.  Nothing much to watch besides birds and clouds from up there - and other trees - and none of them did much to watch.  But there still was a thrill being up high, feeling the breeze clean and more cutting than from down on the ground.  The sky was prettier, too - you know - being that much closer to it. The added bonus was the smell of the pine - heavenly.  Just like those little stuffed pillows you can buy to place around your house so you think you are outside, maybe up in a tree.

With all the positives about the pine, the climb down was a real "let down".  First there was my mother's voice calling, "Get down out of that tree!"  She would then go sternly back in the house so she couldn't see you risking life and limb (yours, not the tree's), as you figured out where to place your feet to descend.

Up was definitely easier than down.  On the way up, you could see where your hands and feet should go, and you could keep your eyes focused up mostly.  Down was always looking to the ground below, trying to find a foothold and handholds.  You also had to be aware of the fact that pine trees lose dead branches pretty randomly, but the whole branch hardly ever breaks off.  There are sharp 1 inch to 10 inch dead spikes sticking out of these trees between good branches.  Deciding that you are almost to the bottom and dropping or jumping down the last 4 to 8 feet can be deadly if you hit one of the branches sticking out.  Side note as a mom:  My daughter did that and scraped her belly from bottom to top.  She was fortunate it was just a scrape and nothing worse.

Another thing against climbing down a pine was that the breeze, of course, changed back to just regular old breeze with no freedom ringing in it, and the heavy feeling of gravity took over again (in more ways than one - as my mother's reprimand could bring you down to earth pretty fast).

The other negative about climbing the old white pines was the pitch.  By the time you got down, you had double the pitch on you that you had when you got to the top.  There would be pitch on your britches from sitting on a branch, and pitch on your hands, arms and shins.  This pitch was semi-permanent, only coming off as you created new skin.  An aside secret here: if you hadn't taken a bath in a couple of days, the pitch was more likely to come off when you washed up, because you already had dead skin under the pitch...our neighbors never could get pitch off, but we usually did.
Pitch was sticky, so it picked up dirt.  So if you had more playing to do, it worked to scrub your hands in dirt to cover the pitch.  If your hands were too dirty and your mother noticed, you would have to wash them before eating, exposing the pitch again.  It tasted horrible, so you didn't want to forget at supper and lick the ketchup off your finger where the pitch was hiding just below the tasty red stuff.  It would have been better to eat with ground in dirt on your hands.
All in all though, it was worth every scratch, every reprimand, every bit of pine pitch flavored supper.
I wish I could climb a tree again.

Link to Robert Louis Stevenson's Foreign Lands poem about climbing a tree - he was "my poet to read" when I was a kid.

Poem for Poetry Jam - prompt "Eyes"

eyes

The eye of the potato
to other plants gives birth;
The eye of the tornado -
destruction on the earth!
Hurricanes can have an eye,
and needles have one, too.
Mothers have four - two in back -
to keep an eye on you! 

©Donna JT Smith, 2015

Done for today!  Now to close my eyes...Diarrhea Dog kept waking me up all night for trips outside in the snow.  I could almost do the whole procedure lids locked if I needed to.