Apr 20 2013


so what
if the world
moves on
without you

are you
so certain
there’s a
better place
to begin?





A poem a day for 30 days, in honor of National Poetry Month.
This post is part of NaPoWriMo. see more here.

Apr 18 2012


on this day when
is as it should be
i sit beneath
…….this tree
…….watching pinecones fall
…….and birdsong bury

it’s all too pretty
…….too perfect
…….too much
…….i dig my hands
…….into earth
…….filled with root
…….and worm

…….to remind myself
……………this tree
……………this bird

…….of the accidental
…….vagaries of truth
……………that lie just
……………beneath the surface




A poem a day for 30 days.
In honor of National Poetry Month
this post is part of NaPoWriMo. see more here.

Jan 26 2012

lessons i’ve learned from
{trees} about life

stand tall and be proud of your roots.

everyone can use a hug once in awhile.

it’s nice to feel the breeze in your hair.

even after the worst of storms,
the sun will warm your face again.

offer shelter to those who need it.

with age comes character.

there is strength in numbers.

sometimes you have to bend
to keep from breaking.

branching out keeps things balanced.

when times are tough, dig down deep.

inhale the bad, exhale the good.

there are times to be dormant,
and there are times for growth.

mark each passing year in your heart.

we all have scars.

the moon will listen to your whispers.

if the path you are on gets blocked,
just grow in another direction.


Jun 19 2011

lessons i’ve learned from
{my dad} about life

put your heart into everything you do.

there are times when it’s okay to stay quiet.

give of yourself and your time, freely.

if you can’t fall asleep sitting up,
well, you’re just not tired enough.

take care of what you have.

comfort comes before fashion.

kindness is the cornerstone of love.

if you have the right tools,
you can fix almost anything.

giving up is not an option.

your family is who you are.

integrity helps balance out mistakes.

whistling while you work is the
best way to make the time fly by.

patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a way of life.

the bigger your heart, the bigger your life.

showing up counts for more than you think.

a sense of humor, and learning to laugh
at yourself, will get you through.


thanks, dad



This image is part of Texture Tuesday over at Kim Klassen’s Cafe.
Click here to check it out or join in the fun!

May 7 2011

lessons i’ve learned from
{my mom} about life

dance whenever the mood strikes you.

giving is the best thing there is.

take pride in the things you accomplish.

always wear your best underwear
when you go out in public, just in case.

hugs are free and also invaluable.

be good to your neighbors.

ironing is good for your soul.

you’re never too old
to learn something new.

it’s okay to be a crazy cat lady.

hard work never hurt anybody.

remembering your roots will help you grow.

once you become an adult, it’s okay, and
even a good idea, to talk to strangers.

make time for the people you love.

stand up for what you believe in.

music is a necessity.

and, of course,
never run with scissors.


thanks, mom

Jan 15 2011

lessons i’ve learned from
{knitting} about life

everybody comes unraveled occasionally.

it’s good to be able to follow instructions.

sometimes you get all tied up in knots.

with enough patience, you can almost
always get things straightened out.

relaxation comes in many forms.

handmade and old-fashioned are still the best.

it’s possible to create order from chaos.

the math you learned in 10th grade
really does come in handy.

wool socks are still the warmest.

pattern and repetition soothe the soul.

some days are red, some days are blue.

in winter, it’s good to do something
that keeps you warm.

tying up loose ends is a good idea.

sometimes you increase, sometimes you decrease.

having the proper tools makes any job easier.

often, what looks like a big jumbled mess,
comes together quite nicely in the end.

Nov 19 2010

lessons i’ve learned from
{dogs} about life

always tell people how you really feel. they’ll respect you more,
and they’ll love you for it.

in the end, it’s all about food.

unconditional love and wet sloppy kisses are the best.

a nice long walk can change your outlook on life.

it’s normal to feel jealous sometimes, but you have to learn
how to control it.

you should greet the ones you love at the door, tail a’wagging.

your first instincts are usually correct.

it’s good to get excited about the little things.

sometimes all you have to do is bark, but every once in a while,
you have to bite.

loyalty is the foundation of the best relationships.

upside down naps are one of life’s great pleasures.

bacon is the best.

every so often, you should run around at full speed
and with complete abandon, for no reason whatsoever.

it’s your job to protect the people you love.

sometimes, to be the best kind of friend, you just have to sit there.

always make your bed and fluff your pillows before lying down.

and if you ever want to make your mom laugh really, really hard,
just show up at the back door with a slug on your forehead.

Oct 7 2010

lessons i’ve learned from
{marriage} about life

it really does take two to tango.

compromise is hard, but it’s almost always worth it.

a warm hug can instantly change your outlook.

a heart can forgive more than it can forget,
but it can forget more than it can live without.

sharing is a necessary part of life.

no one likes being taken for granted.

it’s nice to be taken care of you when you’re sick.

true love is made up of millions of boring, everyday
moments: it is your job to see their magic.

history repeats itself. it also keeps you grounded.

being polite is very, very important.

love is a covenant based on hope.

holding hands by the fire beneath the moon
is the perfect way to spend an evening.

you can never have too many smiles.

sometimes you both win. sometimes no one wins.

it’s possible to grow in more than one direction.

diamonds might be a girl’s best friend,
but clean dishes are her soulmate.

it’s always a good time for flowers.

love actually will keep you together.

a look can say so much more than words.

in the middle of the night, the touch of a toe
can be just exactly all you need.


Happy 15th, Mr. M.

Aug 18 2010

lessons I’ve learned from {running} about life

one step at a time is the only way to get anywhere.

good shoes really do make a difference.

don’t sweat the small stuff, just sweat.

you don’t always need a destination
to get where you’re going.

you should say hello to everyone you meet.

there is no winning or losing, there is only doing.

things that are good for you really hurt sometimes.

there will always be someone who can run further
and faster than you, and that is okay.

running in circles can take you to amazing places.

being outdoors is vital, in every season.

whatever path you are on, make it the right one.

watch where you’re going, but don’t forget
to look up every now and then.

you can go farther than you ever thought possible.

you won’t melt if you get rained on.

your toughest competitor will always be you.

climbing hills might be rough, but
the view from the top is always worth it.

some days are better than others.

breathing is the most important thing in life.

blisters eventually become callouses.

when you think you can’t possibly go on,
you can always take one more step.

Aug 8 2010

bread and butter

And so, pickles.

Lots of pickles have been made, 74 jars total, bread and butter last Saturday, dill yesterday. Jars and jars of pickles that aren’t even pickles yet, because you have to wait for pickles to pickle.

With pickles, you learn patience. I like things that teach me patience, I don’t come by it naturally.

Gardening taught me a lot about patience. The cycle of life, the growth and the bloom and the setting of seeds, prepraring for the next generation. This is the life of a flower.

My friend Katie, who is really more than a friend, will be 84 in just a couple of weeks. My mom calls Katie “Blossom.”

84 years is a long time. Long enough to learn about patience. Long enough to come to terms with the cycle of life. Long enough to have lived through the worst thing that can happen, and survive. Long enough to do more than just survive, long enough to relearn how to live. To giggle and to carry on, through endless years of pain, both physical and emotional. To find joy once again.

Katie was born with both hips dislocated, 84 years ago, before they knew how to fix such things. Her son, who is just shy of fifty, was born the same way. But by that time, his time, doctors knew to pop his hips back into place just after he was born. Problem solved.

And that son, the one just shy of fifty, was Katie’s second son. Her first son, if he were alive, would have been 58 this year. She mentioned this while we made pickles. But her first son is not alive, he died when he was six, in the kind of freak accident that could happen to anyone, at anytime, these things just happen.

Only it happened to Katie, who had already, at that point in her life, gone through dozens and dozens of painful surgeries, spent her whole childhood having surgery, her whole life in casts and crutches and wheelchairs. After one of these surgeries, when she was quite young, she was left in a room under lights to dry the cast she was enclosed in from the waist down. But as it turned out, the lights were too hot and the cast started on fire.

Katie, at all of four feet, nine inches tall, has the spirit of a giant.

Many years ago, when I was sixteen, I dated her son, briefly. That didn’t work out, but my friendship with Katie remained. And then it expanded to include my whole family, until essentially, we adopted her as a grandmother. My parents and Katie and her husband spent a lot of time together years ago, before her husband died. Since then, my parents have taken care of Katie in a million small ways. They are like that. Good people. Her son lives out of state now, my parents and myself are her emergency contacts.

But this wasn’t supposed to be a story about Katie, it was supposed to be a story about making pickles. It is hard to tell one without the other. But okay, pickles. My mom and I went to Katie’s and we sliced and we sliced and we sliced some more. Cucumbers, onions, peppers. We put the cucumbers on ice and then we waited three hours for them to crisp. And then later, we simmered but never boiled, and we filled 22 jars, hot jars, hot lids, we wiped their mouths and we tightened down the tops and then, pickles.

During those three hours of waiting, we talked and we laughed and we listened and we admired Katie’s latest doily, which is amazing. She sits there while she watches baseball (Yankees) and crochets these intricate doilies or she knits mittens, dozens of sets each year, just to give them away.

And my mom talked, about her mom and her father, how they used have a huge garden, how they would can everything, even venison. How the smell of the pickles was taking her back to her childhood, which wasn’t the best of times for her, either.

And there we were, three women, 84, 68, 47. Almost two hundred years of living between us. But compared to these two women, my life has been simple, easy, a blessing.

Through all of this slicing and waiting and simmering and chatting, we giggled.

And then I vacuumed Katie’s house and emptied her garbage while she made us egg salad sandwiches for lunch and we ate and talked a little more. The house is getting too hard for her to handle, alone. She is in pain, constant pain, her hip and her spine are literally crumbling. My parent’s house is getting hard for them to navigate, so many stairs. My mom is worried about my dad, her sister, life.

And even through all of that, still, we giggled. Katie, who has a million reasons not to giggle, ever, giggles quite a lot. And it makes me smile and laugh, and at the very same time, it breaks my heart, just a little.

In the end, when we had finished, there were 22 jars of bread and butter pickles sitting on Katie’s counter.

Jars filled with spices, cucumbers, onions and peppers,

love and tears and memories and friendship,

and one whole day’s worth of giggles.

The best pickle recipe, ever.

::  ::

p.s. I will tell you about the 52 jars of dill pickles another day. And if you want the bread and butter pickle recipe, I have posted it here.