If She Only Knew

An Alberta spruce at our front walk.

An Alberta spruce at our front walk.

A pair of Alberta spruces flank the step to our front door. They should never have been planted there, the arborist informs us. They are too close to the brick. In the summer, the heat of the brick will scorch them. Why did no one tell us this ten years ago when we began landscaping our new house?

The view from the house. Not so pretty.

The view from the house. Not so pretty.

This tree looks presentable from the front. However, the backside is another story. It is dead and each year more branches in the back turn brown, become brittle, then break off.

IMG_0949These trees are slated to be removed, but now we have a problem. A robin discovered an abandoned nest. It was just what she would have built herself, but she was running short on time. She moved in and immediately laid three eggs.

Daily, I check the progress of the eggs. Will this brood be hatched and raised before the tree removal crew arrives? Hopefully the rain has put the tree company behind in their work.

This mama robin has claimed her nest. If she only knew this tree is living on borrowed time.

This mama robin has claimed her nest. If she only knew this tree is living on borrowed time.

Creating

My friend arrived for dinner one evening with sly smile and a mischievous glint in her eye. As she is reaching into her purse, she is saying, “I have a present for you and a job.” It is with great apprehension that I take the small brown paper bag from her hands. My mind is swirling, wondering how the gift and the task are related.

I peek into the bag and relief floods through my veins. This is a job I will enjoy. I pull out four strands of beads. She continues to explain how on a recent trip she went to a turquoise mine in Albuquerque. At the end of the tour she was in a room full of beads and the ladies of the tour were snatching up strand after strand of the beads. She goes on to tell me, “I bought you and me a strand, because I knew you could do something with them.”

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I love to play with beads, so this was a challenge I relished, if there were no time constraints put upon me. “No rush,” she tells me. Good, I think because soon my work in schools will be finished and I will have time to play with the style of the necklace.

The next week, the bead store puts out their newsletter with classes listed. My eyes light upon the wire wrapped Tree of Life. That might make the perfect pendant for the turquoise necklace. I did this class several years ago, but cannot remember the process, so this would be a perfect refresher course.

Saturday morning I have my stone and wire ready. There are only two of us in the class, I rejoice in that (lots of personal attention at my point of difficulty). Slowly we create a tree from wire. I brought my iPad to record steps in the process for reference later. Two hours fly by and I have a little bit of work left to finish at home.

Start and end of the project with a few steps along the way.

Start and end of the project with a few steps along the way.

Once the tree is complete, I need to figure out how to arrange the turquoise stones to create the necklace. I string a few beads, add some seed beads. It becomes a dance of the beads as I string, remove, restring, remove, until I am satisfied with the results. I bring my nearly completed necklace to my friend for a length check and approval. She loves the pendant and we decide to lengthen it just a bit.

This necklace has been completed.

This necklace has been completed.

It’s back to the playground of beads for me as I try to find complementing beads to create the next necklace.

Thump, Thud

Darkness surrounds me, my body snuggles a bit deeper into the mattress, as I pull the covers a little closer. Sounds from the kitchen tell me my husband is up and preparing for his day of work. I’m not working today, which allows me the luxury of drifting in and out of sleep for a bit longer.

Just as I begin the slide back into the dreaming world, there is a thud followed by a thump. Instantly, my eyes pop open to determine what had so rudely brought me to a conscious state. My husband rushes into the room, worried that I have fallen, his words escaping before his eyes take in the scene, “Are you all right?” he queries with concern.

In the dim light of the early morning, I notice the closet door, previously closed, now ajar. The overhead light reveals a vase that had been standing on the floor of the closet decided to recline rather than remain upright. As it fell over, a domino effect was in play. The vase hit the closet door causing a thump as it pushed the door open, which was followed by a thud when landing on the floor.

Sleep is no longer an option. It is time to greet the day. The offending vase is now placed upon a shelf, hopefully a more stable footing, so there will be no repeat of the morning thump, thud.

 

Reverso Poem

At the beginning of the month, this is a poem that filled my mind.

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Now we have reached the final day of March, the challenge has been met. I can reverse the poem and celebrate.
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My poems are examples of a reverso poem developed by Marilyn Singer. In her book Mirror, Mirror she wrote:

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“We read most poems down a page. But what if we read them up? That the question I asked myself when I created the reverso. When you read a reverso down, it is one poem. when you read it up, with changes allowed only in punctuation and capitalization it is a different poem.”

At the beginning of March, I am always tentative. What will I write? Will I have time to read and comment? On the last day of March, I breathe a sigh of relief. I traveled through the month and met the challenge. I celebrate!

I can answer the question of the second poem, What will I do? I will continue to write and post on Tuesdays. I hope you will join in and continue to share a slice of your life.

 

 

 

Text Messages Bring Smiles

The text tone on my phone is listed as glass. It sings a high pitched “Ding, ding” whenever a text comes in.

Previously, that sound did not raise my heartbeat or send me scurrying to locate my phone. But that’s all changed. Now, anticipation runs high whenever the high pitched ding plays. It could be a picture sent half way across the country bringing my granddaughter into the palm of my hand.

Clara was born January 3. We arrived to meet and greet her January 5. We spent the next four days holding her and savoring every moment with our family in California. Ever since then we have only had photos and videos sent via the phone. I am eternally grateful that we have the technology to bring family closer.

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Great grandfather meets his great granddaughter.

Great grandfather meets his great granddaughter.

 

 

 

Petri Dish Stump

In December, we had two river birch trees removed from our landscaping. They were beautiful trees and the decision to remove them was an emotional battle. Finally the orders were given for the trees to be removed. Their roots are very invasive (didn’t know this ten years ago when they were planted) and we wanted to avoid complications in the future to our house’s foundation. I wrote about the tree in the front of the house earlier this month. That tree was a focal point in the landscape and is dearly missed.

The other tree was in our back yard. It sat in the corner, shading the house, but not in view from any window. Its loss was not mourned nearly as much as the front tree.

Recently we noticed something happening with the stump left behind. All of a sudden, it’s wet. Flies and bees buzzed to investigate this wet stump. I told my husband the tree was weeping. He didn’t appreciate my humor.

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Within a day, the wet became filmy white. The liquid begian to ooze its way over the edge.

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I stepped in to take a photo, and bubbles erupted from the rocks.

Look at the bottom, in the rocks. See that bubbling mass?

Look at the bottom, in the rocks. See that bubbling mass?

I step back and a foamy hole is left. I step forward, back, forward, back to watch the bubbles.

The bubbles popped and leave a hole.

The bubbles popped and leave a hole.

Several days later, the insects no longer buzz about the stump. It is still filmy but now we are adding other fungi to the film.

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I don’t know when this show will end, but I’ll be checking every day to see the next development in stump slime. We have decided it is a Petri dish stump.

 

 

Christmas in March

My desk orientation in my office allows me to have a window on the world of our street. Truly, I am no Mrs. Kravitz. [Side note for you young writers who are scratching your head and muttering “Who’s Mrs. Kravitz?” She was a nosy neighbor character on the TV show Bewitched (show was on 1964-1972). Here is the Wikipedia link to read all about her. Now let me get back to my story.] Since we are on a cul-de-sac, there is not a lot of traffic, so movement on the street usually catches my eye, but not on this day.

I heard the truck stop. I looked up from my desk when I heard the truck stop. I looked up from my desk when I heard the truck stop in front of my house. The UPS man stepped out of his truck with a box. My heart raced a little faster as I hurried to the door to greet the bearer of the box.

A quick glance at the return address confirmed my suspicions. Eagerly I reached out to relieve him of my prize. I uttered a most heartfelt “Thank you!” He had no idea of joy he’d just delivered. Nestled in the box among filler paper were my eleven titles from Peachtree Publishers that I’d won. A treasure for sure!

Immediately, I began pulling them out, one at a time. Once they were all stacked on the counter, I wanted to sit down and savor the text of each, but I needed to begin my spaghetti sauce. Books were set aside, as my hands chopped onion and garlic, but my mind lingered on the covers I’d just unearthed. Quickly the chopped ingredients were dropped into the skillet of Italian sausage.

As the sausage browned, I read several books. The first book I picked up might not have been the best choice, Random Body Parts, Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion. Let me give you a little flavor of the poem “Lunchtime”

Flesh of fowl ground into hash,
Blood of berries bled from mash,
Wheat paste wet with human spit,
Plant parts mangled bit by bit.

See what I mean? (This poem is describing the stomach.) However, kids will LOVE these poems. Talk about a great opportunity for close reading!

I loved If You See a Kitten by John Butler.

If you see a cuddly kitten . . . say, “Ahhh!” If you see a pudgy pig . . . say, “Peee-ew!”

Love the alliteration! I can hear the kids guessing what word you should say. The details in the illustrations are fantastic.

Each book has such potential for reading and writing workshop. Thank you Peachtree Publishers for donating such an incredible prize! It was Christmas in March.

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