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,"