Monday, June 24, 2013

Poetry Recommendations?

I'm in the mood for poetry. I've been writing a little of my own over the past few months and I'm feeling the urge to read some.

I just finished reading the young adult Matched trilogy in which poetry is a prevalent theme. As if I wasn't already in a poetic frame of mind, now I'm utterly craving it.

I need your help. In my collection already are Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, Shel Silverstein, and A.A. Milne.

What other poets or books should I check out? They can be classic or modern, for children or adults. Who are your favorites?

Leave your recommendations in the comments. Thank you!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What The ...?

You know how there's this tendency to put on our best face when we come to the internet. We don't want anyone to see the imperfect moments of our lives, so we stick to shiny moments.

This is not that post.

If you're looking for shiny, you'll have to look elsewhere today because I have a story that I feel the need to share.

It came at the end of a long day. My husband had spent the morning helping his parents pack up their shop to move to a new location. Then he spent the afternoon working baseball fields to prepare them for a tournament. He didn't get home until 8:30 p.m. and then he had to go back to help at his parents' shop.

I hadn't seen him all day, so I packed our two-year-old up in the truck and we rode over with him. None of us had eaten dinner yet and shortly after getting to the shop, my son's little voice came from the backseat.

"Yogurt, mommy?"

My heart broke. I hadn't thought to grab a snack on the way out. Instead we got out of the truck to play.

At 9:30 we were all back in the truck. My husband was exhausted. He said, "I can't believe how much I've done today. I'm tired. And I haven't had dinner yet."

From the backseat, that little voice piped in again.

"No dinner yet? What the f---?"

Yes, I'm serious. And yes, I'll wait while you go read that again.

We couldn't help it. We laughed. It was a long day. We were all hungry. And our sweet little boy just cursed.


On our (thankfully very short) drive home, we talked about what was left at the shop. My husband relayed a series of objects still to be moved: supplies, framed pictures, a harp...

"Wait," I said. "A harp? Like a big thing you stand on the floor and pluck? That kind of harp?"

My husband: "Yes. Like a big harp in an even bigger case."

Two-year-old: "A f---ing harp!"

Horror. That's the only way to describe it. My husband and I looked at each other in that did-he-just-say-what-I-think-he-just-said way.

Because we like to think we're good, attentive parents. Well, decent anyway.

And now our two-year-old knows how to use the F word. Flawlessly. In two conjugations.

I warned you this wasn't a shiny story. And yet, I had to tell it. Because I know I'm not the only one who has found themselves in a scenario like this.

And maybe we should share these moments. Even though I'm scared my grandmother or my uncle or my dad will read this and question my judgment. Even if the people at church might be appalled.

Because it happened. This is life. It's imperfect and messy at times. Sometimes we say the wrong words and our children store them in the back of their brain for another time. And sometimes we laugh when we shouldn't.

So, let's get messy. What was your child's first bad word?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nourishing the Creative Within: A Wishcasting Post

wishcastingIt's another dreamy Wishcasting Wednesday with the ever-inspiring Jamie Ridler. Today she asks, "How do you wish to nourish the creative within?"

The timing on this is absolutely perfect because yesterday I unblocked my creativity with Jamie and some other wonderful women.

Periodically, Jamie hosts Creativity Coffee. It is an hour in which she gets on live video and leads creative play for whomever wants to come. Each person brings whatever supplies they want to create anything they want.

During that hour, participants can chat with Jamie (by typing) and Jamie responds to those comments.

It was my first time there and I LOVED it.

I don't do much drawing or... um... art-ing, but I enjoy it. On the rare occasions I draw, I wonder why I don't do it more often.

Anyhow, I set myself up with a notepad, colored pencils, and soft pastels.

Photo Jun 18, 3 53 21 PM

Listening to Jamie, I set out to work. I had an idea of drawing myself looking at a night sky speckled with stars.

Before I'd even finished drawing the background, I decided to instead draw my toddler looking at the sky. Then I didn't want him to be lonely so I added a duck (because that's what I do).

Photo Jun 18, 3 53 37 PM

Because I don't have a lot of art experience, I ran into two snafus. The first is that the last time I played with art supplies (more than a year ago), I had written some of my core values in watercolor pencils. Those pencils on the previous page of the notepad left indentations on the next page (the page I was drawing on this time around), so as I ran the pastels across the page, those words seeped through like a leaf rubbing. (Remember those? I think almost everyone does leaf rubbings in elementary school.)

I could have flipped the page and started again on a fresh page, but as the words appeared, I liked the way they floated in my sky like magic.

The second snafu was that I couldn't make stars. I tried a white colored pencil which I thought might look crisp against the pastels. That didn't quite show up, so I tried a white pastel. That didn't show up very well and was much more spread out than I wanted. (If you look close at the upper left corner, you may see some of my star attempts.)

At the end I decided to forego stars. After all, I have those magic words.

I'm really happy with the result.

By the time my drawing was finished, the Creativity Coffee hour was over. I, however, wasn't done. I went on to create a dreamboard that is full of energy and symbolizes to me that I still have a lot of creative work to do, as well as connecting to creatures great and small.

Photo Jun 18, 5 46 10 PM

And then I went on to have a dance party in the kitchen with my toddler.

Jamie has a way of getting me through blocks. There is just something about her gentle, nudging nature.

Now, back to Jamie's question. I wish to nourish my creative within through more art play. I wish to pull out art supplies more often, to sketch, and play with color. I wish to give myself a chance to create something. To allow myself to... you know... art... (why can't I think of a better word than that?) more often than once a year.

How do you wish to nourish the creative within?

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On a different note, I have a post up at Searching for Superwomen about my first experience at Comic-Con (with pictures!). Please visit me here:

Searching for Superwomen is a great site celebrating geek women, fictional superheroes, and real-life ones, too. Good, good stuff.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Doing Good

Shhh. Do you hear that?

Do you hear the quiet emanating from me?

I'm feeling contemplative lately. I've turned inward to assess my goodness. Am I doing good in this world? Am I making something better for someone? Am I pitching in? Am I using my powers for good? Do I even have powers?

That's what I'm pondering. That's where I'm working on myself right now. I don't have much to say about it, but I thought I'd mention it.  Because I'm wondering.

Are you doing good in this world?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Update Post: Lost Pigeon, Sweetness, and Veggie Garden

Update on the Lost Pigeon

Remember the pigeon who visited us last week? He moved on. After about 28 hours of rest, bird seed, and water at our house, he departed quietly.

My husband and I went out to check on the pigeon and see if we needed to house him in the dog crate for another night. After perusing our yard for the day, he had returned to the roof of the arbor to rest. He didn't want to come down, so we left him alone while taking care of other yard tasks.

After I fed the ducks, I turned around and our little pigeon friend was gone. He snuck off while we weren't looking. I guess he's not much for goodbyes. Hopefully he is back home by now (or perhaps off on another exploration adventure).

Update on Wishing for Sweetness

A few weeks ago in a wishcasting with Jamie post, I wished for the sweetness of fruit fresh from the garden. Over the past week I have picked about three pints of strawberries from my own small patch. The blueberries are still growing and so are the fruit trees.

I also visited a neighboring farm and picked seven pounds of strawberries. Sweetness overflows!

Update on Vegetable Garden

I'm slowly catching up on planting my vegetable garden. The rain has made things a bit tricky.

After buying some plants last Thursday, I spent Thursday evening leveling out the garden and marking off beds. Then it rained Friday and the ground was still a muddy mess on Saturday. So, Sunday I spent the day shoveling, raking, tilling. I planted my tomatoes, summer squash, watermelon, honeydew, cucumbers, peppers, and sunflowers. Phew!

Then Monday it rained. Tuesday was a mud pit again. Wednesday (yesterday) I was able to get back out there. I planted cantaloupe, winter squash, zucchini, and some flowers. (Yes, this is my biggest garden ever... by far.)

Today it's supposed to rain again (sigh), which means I'll probably have to wait until this weekend to get the rest planted (onions, arugula, and corn).

So, one day on, two days off. That seems to be the way of it. Slow and steady.

I think that's all the updates I have for now. Is there anything else you'd like to hear more about? What's going on in your world?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wishcasting: Discover

wishcastingThis week the sparkly Jamie Ridler asks, "What do you wish to discover?"

This is a difficult question to answer because I don't know what I don't know. So, I wish simply to discover new things.

Wonderstruck experiences, loving moments, new places to go with my family, gardening tricks, the perfect camera settings, great books, the poetry I'm sure is inside me.

I wish that my eyes and heart may be open so that I do discover things when the opportunity arises.

What do you wish to discover?

Friday, June 7, 2013

What If I'm the Crazy Bird Lady?

Living where I do, we get a lot of wildlife in our yard: deer, groundhogs, rabbits, the occasional raccoon or opossum, and birds of all sizes- sparrow to hawk to turkey (no emus... yet anyway).

Yesterday I headed to my back yard to work in the garden and was greeted by a new visitor- an all white bird. He didn't fly away when he saw me. He cautiously kept a few feet of distance between us, but seemed unafraid.


As I got closer, I noticed bracelets on each ankle- one red and one gold. The most I could make out of the writing was "Bronx, N.Y." I think it's a homing pigeon and this little guy is a long way from home.


He was picking at bird seed that had scattered on the ground from the above hanging feeder, so I set out a small pile of seed just for him.


My husband found a website explaining what to do if you find a lost pigeon: (seriously, there is a website for everything). The site says that you can try to catch it in an old bird cage or a box. Supposedly after 24 to 48 hours rest with food and water, the bird will continue its flight home.

It was getting darker and we worried about this bird becoming prey to the wildlife. I don't happen to have any bird cages laying around, but I had an old small dog crate. So, I herded him into the crate and gave him another pile of bird seed and a bowl of water.


This morning we went out to check on our overnight visitor and found him seemingly content in his dog crate. Overnight rain left him standing in a small puddle, so, in hindsight, a dryer location might have been better.


Anyhow, this was the moment of truth. We opened the crate to see if our little pigeon friend might be ready to depart. He didn't.

So my husband gently helped him out of the crate.


Then he released the bird...


...and it flew...

DSC_0058 the roof of our arbor.


The FAQ on the lost pigeon site says that if the pigeon doesn't leave and you are unable to contact its owner, "by all means [keep it]. Pigeons make great pets."

As my husband packed up for work he asked, "Do we have a pigeon now?" Which is why I look like this...

Photo Jun 07, 8 37 46 AM

...because what if I'm becoming the crazy bird lady?

I'm beginning to think I need a category on my blog called, "Crazy Stuff That Probably Only Happens To Me."

Then again, maybe that's what it means to live wonderstruck.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wishcasting: Space

wishcastingI'm wishcasting again with the divine Jamie Ridler. This week Jamie asks, "What space do you wish to create?"

There is a little room off the back side of our bedroom. It sits on top of the garage with slanted ceilings that follow the roofline.

A few years ago, we set it up as a studio with my husband's drawing table, a window seat that he built, a futon from my single years, an old hutch that has followed me since my teen years, and some other odds and ends.

It's a stark little space with plain white walls and a bamboo floor which we laid. It's not the most temperature-controlled of spaces. It gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

I find that we just don't use it as much as we could.

I wish to make that space more usable. More loved. I wish for it to be a quiet retreat in which to create. Perhaps a place where I can sit with my computer and write. I wish for it to be a comfortable and welcoming space.

I'm not sure what it's missing or how to take it from "eh" to "ahh." I just know it needs love.

So, that's my wish. What's yours? What space do you wish to create?