Coo-Ooo-coo

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Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Coo-Ooo-coo,

I stop my typing,

               look up from the computer,

                            try to determine the source of the haunting sound.

Coo-Ooo-coo,

            TV muted,

                      I step to the door,

                              venture outside scanning the limbs of the barren trees.

Evergreen wall encloses the yard,

Coo-Ooo-coo,

Low hanging clouds stifle the call,

Coo-Ooo-coo,

Cardinal perched high in the maple tree,

Cocks his head to the sound,

Coo-Ooo-coo,

Everyday the mourning dove sings

                                            Its haunting tune

                                                                 Outside my window.

Two morning doves resting in the maple tree.

Two morning doves resting in the maple tree.

 

Email Gifts

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Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Every morning in March, I have many gifts waiting for me in my email inbox. Without fail these same gifts are there every Tuesday. But those are not the only days I am gifted. Almost every day of the week, there is a message in my email that connects me to one of my blogging friends.

Sometimes it is related to a meme such as It’s Monday What Are You Reading? or Poetry Friday. Sometimes it’s just because a blogging friend has something to share with the world. I look for the potential of the gift whenever I find a new blog and I want to be a regular reader of this blog. It brings the blog to me. I don’t have to make the rounds in the blogosphere to see what’s happening in the lives of my blogging friends.

IMG_1949What is this bit of magic that brings posts directly to your in box? Here are three examples you might find on a side bar of a blog.

These are referred to as widgets. WordPress defines a widget as a small block that performs a specific function. It allows you to add content and features in the widgetized ares of your theme. They were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control to the user. I love finding the subscribe button!

When I subscribe to a blog, I get the latest post delivered. The one downfall is that occasionally the content is not delivered in a timely matter. Some are delivered hours or even a day after the post went live, but the good thing is it arrives.

Do you have a subscribe button? If not, look through your widget selection and consider adding that button. Just think of all the gifts you might send out into the world.

 

Something to Celebrate

celebrate new

Monday my mom calls, “Can you take me to the doctor this week?”

“I’m working Wednesday and Thursday,” I replied. “What’s the matter?” She had not complained of any ailments the last time I talked to her, so I am puzzled about needing to go to the doctor.

“I fell at church. I don’t know what happened. I didn’t trip or slip. I just went down. Jackie (a neighbor) thinks maybe it has to do with an inner ear thing,” she responds.

She calls the doctor and gets an appointment for Tuesday. We go to the appointment. She brings a cane for extra support. The doctor listens. I listen and learn this fall did not happen on Sunday, but on the previous Thursday. What?! Why didn’t you tell me before today? The doctor instructs her to perform a variety of actions. He is not concerned, she has passed the neural systems test. Perhaps she has a bit of  vertigo. Perhaps it could be some fluid in her inner ear. We will monitor her and see if there is improvement within ten days.

This photo was taken on her 85th birthday in February.

This photo was taken on her 85th birthday in February.

I celebrate how quickly she was able to get into her doctor. I celebrate that the doctor is not very concerned. I celebrate that I was able to take my mom to the doctor. I celebrate that I still have my mom and she is only twelve minutes away.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Soundtrack of a Place

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Thumbing through Kate Messner’s book, 59 Reasons to Write, I discovered her lesson titled, Soundtrack of a Place (p. 108). This lesson encourages the writer to write a paragraph (or two) of sounds from your place. (This place might just be in your memory)

My place is the patio. Rarely do I get to spend time in my place in the winter, but occasionally there are days when the sun’s rays and the wind’s breath allows me to spend a bit of time enjoying the patio.

It was on such a rare day that I was able to sit and collect the sounds that surround me. Sounds that I don’t hear, not because they are not present, but because they are part of the sound landscape that blends into the normal so they are no longer unique, requiring attention.

At first, gentle, quiet sounds meet my ears. Leafed bushes rustle in the breeze.

A robin adds to the soundtrack

A robin adds to the soundtrack

Birds twitter. In the distance, a crow’s caw, caw floats across the field to my yard, more gentle than harsh by the time it reaches me.

Listening more intently brings the hollow echo of a hammer. Each blow of the hammer constructing a skeleton, eventually becoming a house, a home. Sometimes I hear tap, tap, tap. Sometimes I hear thup, thup, thup. Sometimes birds chirp in response to the sounds of the hammer.

Engines invade my sanctuary. Airplanes drone above, fading as it nears the airport. Leaving me to sigh a wish for a new travel adventure. A new engine has entered into the sound landscape. Dump trucks rumble past our subdivision. They turn off the main road (half a mile away), but are immediately met by a hill. They gargle as they downshift, engine protesting until they make it to the top.

Dump trucks grumble and roar down the road near me.

Dump trucks grumble and roar down the road near me.

Sounds travel faster than the trucks. They rrruuummmbbblle down the street a few yards away from my place.

Many of these sounds are temporary. Homes will be constructed, families will occupy the homes, creating a new soundtrack. Dump trucks will complete their current job and move on to new roads. Then I will be left with the gentle sounds of nature.

What’s the soundtrack of your place?

Dear Trader Joe’s

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Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Dear Trader Joe’s,

Oh, how I love to wander the aisles of your store! I always find something new to try. Do you know that I have to travel at least two hundred miles to shop? That limits the type products I can purchase to cans, jars, or bags. No frozen items for me. If I have a cooler with a cold pack, I can bring home a few refrigerated items. It is a sad fact of life that there is no Trader Joe store in my town. We did have a great location for a store, but you passed us by and now there is a sporting goods store in the location that I thought would be perfect for you. But that is not really the point of this letter.

I have enjoyed several of your products but then you discontinue them. Argggh! This is devastating! You used to stock Van Houten cocoa every Christmas. What happened? I always bought several cans to carry me through the year. Currently, I have to use Hershey. Definitely not the same!

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My last bag of tangy chips. What a sad day!

On the last visit to your store, I discovered you have discontinued the Cheddar & Horseradish Potato Chips. Why, oh why? I loved those crunchy chips with the spicy tang of the horseradish that makes my tongue burn just a bit. The Siraracha chips just won’t replace the Cheddar & Horseradish. Please reconsider and bring these chips back!

pub cheeseWhat will you discontinue next? The Pub Cheese? If you continue to delete my favorites from your store, there won’t be any joy in shopping. So please, bring back the Cheddar & Horseradish Chips, and see what you can do about getting the Van Houten cocoa reinstated in the stores too. Okay?

A disappointed chip lover,

elsie

 

 

Hope Lies in a Bud

 

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Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

I have a peach tree.peach tree

I have a peach tree that has not had a peach for two years.

I have a peach tree that has not had a peach for two years because cold weather blew in.

I watch my peach tree.

I watch my peach tree for signs of buds.

I watch my peach tree for signs of buds hoping that winter IMG_5030is over because I see buds and a few have blossomed.

I wait for the other buds.

I wait for the other buds to open and invite the bees to pollinate.

I wait for for the other buds to open and invite the bees to pollinate so I can savor the sweet taste of sunshine that is a perfect peach.IMG_1945

 

Dinner Rebooted

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Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

The hands of the clock move closer and closer to five. I know it’s time for me to head into the kitchen to begin the process known as dinner. I usually have a plan, so I can move straight to the refrigerator to pull out the necessary ingredients for the evening cuisine.

Tonight, it is Healthy Orange Chicken. I chop the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. I zest the rind of the orange and squeeze the fresh juice to make the sauce. Boxed fried rice is simmering in the skillet. The chicken has cooked, I’m adding the sauce. It seems there won’t be time to cook a few of the pot stickers I have in the freezer. Salads are ready. All that’s left is to thicken the chicken in the orange sauce.

Ding-dong!

The neighbor across the street has a foil pan with a smoked pork butt that he has just pulled from his Big Green Egg. He delivers this with thanks to my husband for helping him with cabinets he was installing in his garage. I think it is also thanks for clearing his driveway when we had our one slightly measurable snow this year. (Side note: we have a snowblower, my husband travels the street clearing all the driveways just because he can.)

The smoked smell fills the kitchen. I lift the lid to sample a bite. Mmmmm, pure heaven! I look at my nearly finished dinner. I look at the pan of pulled pork. I think, the pork would be better tonight, I can reheat the orange chicken tomorrow (and maybe get my pot stickers too). I wonder aloud, “What else could we have with the pork? I have some green beans I could cook.” My husband volunteers to peel potatoes for fried potatoes.

Reboot the dinner. Fried rice set aside. Orange chicken poured into a plastic container. Quick wash of the skillet for the potatoes. Clean and cut beans to cook. Twenty minutes later dinner is ready. Freshly smoked pulled pork wins over orange chicken. Now dinner is nearly ready for tomorrow. Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.

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The only part of dinner that stayed the same would be the cup of strawberries.

One Year Ago

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Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Exactly one year ago, I grabbed my camera and took a walk around my block to find my slice. This slice was full of natural noticings: interesting sky trails, limbs on trees, and nests that are usually hidden by foliage. Nothing stays the same, the neighborhood has changed considerably in one year. Let me show you, but first a little background information.

We moved into this subdivision twelve years ago. There were less than a dozen houses built on the four streets. During these years, the developer extended the subdivision by lengthening the main street and adding a couple more side streets. As lots were purchased, homes were built. Slowly the subdivision grew. House by house, families built and moved in. It was a gradual building of a neighborhood.

Then one day, we discovered  all  of the remaining lots were purchased by one developer. Houses have been popping up on each empty lot. As I walk around the block this year, I see houses in various states of construction. I think I’d rather be counting bird nests and noticing tree limbs.

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Two foundations, a framed house, and a house waiting for its brick.

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One house complete, many more in progress.

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The road is stained by the tracks from the trucks. At least on this walk there was a bluebird and one clump of daffodils. Lots of things “springing” up in the neighborhood. I wonder what the walk next year will reveal.

Orchids Here, Orchids There

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Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Tropical bird calls beckon

Step through the door

Discover

Lush greenery: moss, ferns, palms

Sparks of color everywhere

Compete

Paparazzi’s powerful lens

Capture

Zoom, focus, snap

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Tangerine, apricot, salmon

orange

Snowy, milky, pearly

white

Fuchsia, magenta, cerise

pinks

Lime, jade, chartreuse

green

Orchid cups

cup shape orchid

Colors pop

Colors blend

Each orchid

 Unique

Celebrate a Day

celebrate new

A day arrives where nothing is required. No chores to complete. No meals to prepare. Freedom to meander as one pleases. These days are rare, but Friday was such a day.

Destination of the day St. Louis. We did have an agenda of places to visit, but there was no rush to get to any single place. The pace was leisurely.

First on our list was the botanical gardens. An orchid show was the draw, but the mild temperatures took us on a stroll through the gardens first. Although it’s not quite blooming season, we were not disappointed.

Crocuses have popped through the grass.

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A few early blooming trees had bees buzzing in and out of the blossoms.

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Bare tree branches intrigue me with their complicated network of limbs.

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A few more glimpses of nature’s beauty on a lovely March day. The top two are a Star Magnolia. The bud of the Star Magnolia is fuzzy like a pussy willow. The second row has an early crab apple, a contorted Filburt, and Hellebore. Final row: Only a few daffodils were open, more will be blooming in a few weeks. The spiky yellow bloom is Witch Hazel.IMG_1925

After strolling around the outside gardens, we returned inside to view the orchids (that post will come tomorrow).

The next portion of our day involved shopping. I know that does not sound appealing to some, but the stores we visited are not in our city, so we take advantage every time we come to St. Louis. Costco was first on our list. They had several items on sale we needed. Of course we had to try a few of the samples offered. Chocolate gummy bears have never appealed to me, and they still don’t. Jelly bellys left an unpleasant taste which was removed by trying a giant green olive. Surprisingly, we walked out with only the items from our list. Trader Joe’s was next to be visited. Only a few items needed there too.

Finally, it was time for dinner. We had a gift card for a new-to-us restaurant. We had a delightful waiter, who shared his favorites from the menu. Fortunately we were early enough to take part in the price break from happy hour on a glass of wine and an appetizer. Every bite was delicious! I meant to take pictures, but I forgot until the food was mostly consumed. Sorry!

A fantastic Friday filled with flowers, food, and finds doesn’t come along every day, so I celebrate my good fortune on this day.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.