Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where I Believe I Belong

Looking at the marina is not as calming as looking out to sea;
I still miss my marsh, but this beats being inland for me.
There is always the circle of life for me to observe
In the sea and the sky and the fish feeding the birds.
I am not always frightened as I was in the woods
Where the shadows seemed to hold much that wasn't good.
Is it in my Cajun blood that I see water as life giving;
Or were my early ancestors actually American Indian?

I'm looking out now as the pelicans float on the waves
A while ago I saw a blue egret, so regal and so grave.
The fresh trout that we ate last night was a treat;
How easy it is on the water to find something to eat.
It is so peaceful too, with no guns and no noise;
It seems more soothing to the savage beasts in boys
Than hunting and trapping and chanting warrior songs
Yes, on the water is where I believe I belong.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Smile for a While

Thanksgiving was a time to beam over the families we begot.
My grandchildren think it's weird that I laugh a lot;
But I can't help celebrating the blessings that I've got.
Cousins arguing over who is my favorite grandchild,
Knowing full well, when asked, I will simply smile.
And them hold them both tightly for a little while.

The food, the friends, the family are all part of our bounty;
I'm so glad that when they invite parents, they always include me.
This way I can witness for myself what great families they now be.
It's true that it's chaotic and we don't say a group prayer;
With the love and laughter in the home, The Spirit must be there.
These are the most special values in The Family Life we all share.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pond Scum and Then Some

Isn't it funny how favorite foods evoke memories? I wonder how many wars are actually about what we eat and what scents waft across the breezeways than about the religious rules that so few really seem to know about their own faiths.

This Thanksgiving, I've been asked to make a cornbread dressing by my daughter-in-law's mother's recipe, as my daughter-in-law's dad has just had some surgery and his wife will be unable to provide this favored delicacy. My daughter has requested that I stuff celery with a cream cheese, olive, and pecan stuffing.

Our family tree is more like a tangled vine, so the kids are always looking for ways to celebrate peace between their long-divorced parental units, especially at holiday time. My children think I believe that they've requested their dad's favorite oyster dressing for them, when I'm pretty sure nobody but their dad actually eats it, mainly because it looks just like pond scum. I guess food is as good a way as any to show good faith, so how could I say no?

The father of my children came from Slavic people, a German mother and a father from Louisiana oyster fishing folks. I guess this marriage of the German who grew up on potatoes and the Louisianan who grew up with oysters plucked directly from the bayou led to this concoction that I was lucky enough to learn before my mother-in-law's early death from cancer.

Not that I think any of you would want to make this, but here's the old family recipe:

Pond Scum and Then Some, aka, Oyster and Potato Dressing

½ cup canola oil
1 bunch celery, diced
1 bunch Italian parsley, minced
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
4 cups (approximately 3 large) diced onions
2 cups (approximately 2 large) diced green peppers
½ gallon fresh oysters (preferable unwashed) drained – Reserve liquid
5 pounds red potatoes
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 large eggs, beaten (optional)

In large, heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, sauté vegetables in canola oil until soft. Boil potatoes in oyster liquid. Drain well and roughly mash. Cut oysters into one-inch pieces. Add to sautéed vegetables. Heat until oysters curl. Add potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees for thirty minutes, or until heated through. If a firmer stuffing is desired, stir eggs into stuffing before baking.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Things

My daughter's family arrives today
Because Thanksgiving is on its way.
Fruitcake is baked and stuffing's are begun;
We surely can't do with only one.
For one loves the oyster potato dressing,
And one thinks cornbread is a blessing.
The spiced cranberry sauce needs only a dish
And for some the orange-cran relish is delish.
There's pumpkin pie yet to bake,
And two green bean casseroles, for heaven's sake.
A pan of brownies has been requested
I'm already feeling rather "in-digested."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Extraordinary Interviews

A most wonderful thing happens when one listens to people of positive passion; they seem to draw others of equal passion to themselves. I have been fortunate to meet many extraordinary individuals simply by being around other extraordinary folks.

While Richard went up to the offices at the World War II Museum, I took the opportunity to bring one of our oldest boat builders, who was a coxswain on Higgins boats during the war, some of me and Mamie's homemade jams. A very attractive woman was interviewing him at length about the details of his service. I'm always fascinated to hear Captain Don speak about his adventures, so I simply stood and listened.

Upon Richard's arrival on the scene, Captain Don and he began to catch up on their long-standing relationship, so I was free to ask the woman where she was from and broach other usual small-talk topics. I really hit the jackpot. Come to find out this woman was not only an officer and engineer in our United States Navy, she was in the first class of women to graduate from the naval academy.

She shared with me that she had grown up in a military family and had enjoyed the adventures that their constant moves afforded her. When it came time to decide on a college, she figured that she should go ahead and start her military service since this is what she wanted to do with her life. She and her fellow Annapolis graduate husband now have three children serving our country in the military and she continues her life of service teaching underprivileged children the joys of science and math. What a woman!

To top it all off, Sharon Hanley Disher is a published author, having written a book, First Class, about her Annapolis adventures. I can't wait to read it and share it with my granddaughter who is getting ready to go to college to become an engineer.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Alright to Be Ordinary

A friend who was public relations director for a major medical institution once said to me that the problem with his job was the danger that the people he wrote about would begin to believe what he said in press releases. My father used to say that even the pope put his pants on one leg at a time, just like my dear old dad. (Not that I've ever seen any proof that the pope wears pants under those robes, but still...)

It could have been upsetting to ascertain that I was meant to be ordinary
Until it occurred that I was meant to befriend those who were not thus meant to be.
Those who are really great keep on doing what they're meant to and not
Worrying about the cost or counting how many friends they have got.
I am in awe that there are some who care not what others may think;
They simply do what they feel led to do, and feelings aren't given a blink.
I, who am led by my feelings and by what others about me surmise,
Find the ability to be true to oneself quite the ultimate prize.

I feel so honored to be in such personal value-driven company,
And I feel inspired and sanctified by their applied morality.
The challenge in this world of humans, no matter their greatness,
Is to hold them to modeling the values which each of them profess.
This is the challenge of serving those who are our leaders:
To keep them from joining the ranks of those who seek to deceive us.
I am often like the child who called, "The emperor has no clothes."
I would rather be out of favor than their pretenses to them not disclose.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fraternizing and Friendship

What a joy it was for me to be
In the work world of my "Little Dickie."
This is the pet name that he was called
Before he became a doctor and friendships stalled.
The tedious task that he asked me to share
Was truly mind-deadening beyond compare,
But we manged to have a great many laughs
Without committing too many gaffes.
He doesn't think of his fellow workers as friends
Because he into the woodwork blends.
But they all seem to come around
To seek help and advice, which is always sound.

While it is true that he's wound too tight,
When you get him laughing, he's pure delight.
It simply seems difficult for them to see
That he's just as playful as you and me.
The job is complete; I've met some of the guys,
Who on his attention to detail daily relay.
I wish there was a way to help them relax,
Knowing he's weird, but he's got their backs.
Maybe then they would ask him out for a brew,
And to share stories of what they do.
Or maybe they could go out to a movie or two
And become more to each other than a work crew.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Varying Veterans Day Observation

We were able to observe Veterans Day a little early this year.
Tuesday we gave a presentation at our granddaughter's school
About the Higgins Boats that Richard holds most dear.
Yesterday we met this class at the World war II Museum;
They were interested in the boats that "won the war."
A Higgins Boat Vet was on hand to greet them.
Captain Don was a coxswain on Higgins landing boats;
He served our country fighting in the Philippines,
Where the Navy taught him how to drive whatever floats.

I spent the day listening to him tell his many tales
He's a mechanic, musician, teacher, and boat pilot;
He doesn't seem to know the meaning of "fail."
He lost his beloved wife to cancer many years ago
But he continues to give his talents to others;
He puts on an interesting and informative show.
Hearing of his life in Missouri with his mother and dad
And of his adventures out at sea in the World War II;
It was the most memorable museum visit I've had.

He is a bit of our country's living history;
I can only imagine him as a school teacher --
How exciting and engaging his classes must be.
Passion put into what we teach is so contagious
The teaching by rote of subjects we don't know
Seems to me to be simply outrageous.
We can learn so much by simply sitting at the feet
Of those who are willing to share their life stories
With everyone they happen to meet.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cooking, Cookies, and Comfort

Our niece and her wonderful baby boys
Came to visit us at our sons
And play with Uncle and his toys.
One brother who contemplates
All things in his little life;
What a world his fantasy creates!
The other whose joyful abandon
Is an infectious, wild delight --
They're the same parents' sons!

Their mother is extremely careful
To treat them quite differently,
Dealing with their individual bull.
In school, working, and separated
She struggles but continues on.
Her dedication is to be celebrated.
Thankfully, their cousin has much energy
To chase and play with the children
As they run through the house so free.

Granddaughter and I, with one of her friends,
Created the snicker-doodle cookies
On which her older brother depends.
We'd prepared breakfast for his visitors,
Practiced Poppie's presentation,
And Richard had been to the store.
We'd made lasagna for a supper to share;
I wanted nothing more than to observe
From a soft comfortable chair.

Lovely, Loving Little Girl

It's pretty amazing to me how doggedly children insist on spreading their innocent love around. We went to my son's house to be with the pre-teen and teen children of their blended family of our son's family and the family of their best friends while the adults went to a Saints game. As Richard sat at the computer working on a presentation on his work with the Higgins boats for our ten-year-old granddaughter's gifted class, our granddaughter came over and started finger-combing the back of his rather sparse hair.

When Richard commented that fixing his appearance was impossible, she shifted to tweaking his rather prominent earlobes. As Richard is a very staid New Englander, not given to any outward signs of emotion unless you watch his twinkly Irish eyes, he was greatly confused by this behavior. I had to explain to him that this is typical female behavior toward the people we love. We groom them. Several times that day she spontaneously threw her arms around his waist and gave him her skinny little body's equivalent of a big bear hug and then insisted that he build blocks around her friend and herself as he had when she was very small.

As we drove home, I explained to him that he is a part of her safe male group and that she is looking for ways to connect to him. Why else would she have told her teacher about her "Poppie" being involved in the Higgins boat builders and have him invited to come talk to her class? This is also why her big brother helped in formatting the slide show for the presentation and why all the children listened and gave feedback on the practice run.

A friend once told me that her preacher said to his congregation on Father's Day, "Dads, go home and hold your daughters. If you don't, they'll find a man who will." It does seem that we never outgrow the need to connect physically with those we love. I feel so fortunate to be married to a man that is so grounded in his values and boundaries, and is yet so willing to serve the needs of those he loves.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall and What We May Have Missed

The fall light on the water has an extra special clarity;
In the autumn it seems that we can much farther see.
The water seems a darker blue and the sky a shade lighter,
As if before the dark of winter we need it to be brighter,
To save up all the memories of nothing but future promise,
Without all the worry about the things we may have missed.

Perhaps clearing out the old in our lives is the reason
That we, as humans, should celebrate the winter season.
It gives us time to look at things in a different light,
And a time to meditate on how to make our wrongs right.
It would be so nice to think that new relationship beginnings
Would happen with the the renewal of the flowers every spring.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fast Friends

The three amigas have met again, and how the fur did fly!
We're all fiery, passionate women who let no sleeping dogs lie.
We discuss how our values apply to our family and personal lives,
We don't mind pointing out our own and others' lies.

I don't know how the waiter didn't get scorched by our sizzle,
With such passionate opinions from three women of such strong will.
Perhaps we should have tipped him more than his twenty percent;
He may now be requiring therapy to get his psyche unbent.

We are now conspiring to have a working partnership;
When we work together, it's always quite a trip.
We have such different levels and kinds of energy,
But, it does seem that we balance each other perfectly.

At times I've disagreed strongly with a boss;
This has led often to a boss who stays cross.
I hope that coming at this as life-long friends,
Any of our anger with each other would soon end.

If we had a working relationship, it would facilitate
More frequent communication, and at a greater rate.
We've accomplished so much together, working for free;
What joy it would be to get paid for being who we're meant to be.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Looking Less Lady-Like

My physical therapist is teaching me to
Do many things I thought I knew how to do:
Sit, stand, and walk in a less "lady-like" way.
"Lady-like?" Me? I don't know what to say.
It seems that I need a more athletic stance,
Not a pose like I'm preparing to dance.
I was taught to hold up my shoulders and head
But my swayed back gives me the pain that I dread.

The athletic stance may look more aggressive;
This is a trait in me that was never recessive.
So I've tried to appear more delicate
Because I seem to scare some folks a bit.
Those I don't scare seem to want to fight,
So I've tried to stay out of their sight.
Rather than fight 'em, I'll feed 'em again,
As soon as I can manage to stand without pain.

Monday, October 31, 2011

On the Periphery of Passion

What a wonderful thing passion can be; it truly makes life worth living.
My son's passion is his football team to whom lots of love is given.
This same passion he extends to his parents, children, friends, and wife;
He lives his life drawing others into his aura of unbridled delight.
His children, too, are passionate about their family and their friends;
I love to be around them and am saddened when it ends.

This week-end not only had a televised Saints game;
My son's Halloween birthday was celebrated again and again.
He made chicken and sausage gumbo with a side of rice
We: carrot cake and bread pudding with bourbon sauce for each slice.
If I lived near my children, I fear my heart would explode;
All their love of life sometimes seems a heavy load.

The neighborhood thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday Saints game;
Richard and I don't watch football, but enjoyed them all the same,
Playing Rummikub with our granddaughter by the swimming pool.
And visiting with our teen grandson, who with us doesn't play it cool.
Our grandson stopped by several times with hugs and sweet words
Kind words of love from teens are some of the sweetest words heard.

After a week-end of celebration, they must return to work and school;
We will return to our routines with bodies that are over-full.
I will take the memories and tuck them into my heart,
Being ever so grateful that, in their passions, we play a part.
Next week-end we will have more offered opportunity
To take part in these celebrations of life that we love to see.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

More Memories Than Mortals Can Conceive

The sailors in windbreakers heading out to the sea
Bring back memories of our boating, my captain and me.
The cool fall breezes are a sirens' song to sailors,
Whether with vessels in the harbor or boats on trailers.

We had cushions in the v-berth that served as our bed,
And in the starboard bunks where guests laid their heads.
There were nights that we anchored in a quite river inlet
And other nights at harbors that we had only just met.

The cruises that we took with friends and family --
Feasting, swimming, fishing -- We felt worry free.
We had sleep-overs at the dock; we didn't need to leave;
There were more memories made than mortals can conceive.

Fall light is extra luminous as it dances on the waves;
The cloudless sky promises many memories to be saved.
My wish for every sailor embarking from this harbor:
Many blissful moments to share with their sons and daughters.

Friday, October 28, 2011

People From Our Past

People from our past keep popping up; they heard that we returned "home."
I always thought we'd keep in contact, no matter where we roamed.
But, it seems that face-to-face time is what most people feel comfortable with,
No matter how much the written word is that for which I wish.
We are being called upon to come out and catch up with our friends --
It's so much safer to communicate when I can edit before hitting "send."

I guess most people are more comfortable with the fleeting nature of life,
Where I don't trust that the good memories will be there in times of strife.
I want to take out stories of love and personal triumph that were written to me
Whenever I become overwhelmed by the unpleasant things I hear and see.
I can curl up under the covers or hide in my own house,
Savoring the kind words of friends and being quiet as a mouse.

This way misunderstandings may be fewer and farther between;
I was taught to stay out of trouble by being neither heard nor seen.
I was never good at obeying these social nicety directives;
There's something in my lady-like gene that obviously is defective.
I must remember that these folks are citizens of New Orleans
Where loud and proud women are simply part of the local scene.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rewards of Retirement

A big reward of retirement is that we are now free
To explore whatever it is that we "always wanted to be."
This can be quite daunting because, as Richard said to me,
Their is nothing quite as scary as to be completely free.
When we have jobs and children, someone else dictates what we do;
But most of us nurse fantasies that number more than a few.
One of my nieces attending college said recently
She thinks growing up is harder in the land of the free.
She said in many countries each is simply placed in a job, and
In many families it is the case, that parents are job snobs.
I know that unsolicited opinions are worth what is paid for them,
But you know that I still had to put my own two cents in.
I'd like her to consider teaching physical therapy;
It seems a natural grown up progression for a gymnast, to me.
I parlayed my love of giving parties into a catering career;
Now I spend my time writing about the memories I hold most dear.
My body can't stand the strain of long hours on my feet,
But being a writer is another goal I've always wanted to meet.
How sad it would be if on the day of our births
Our dreams wings were clipped, and we were denied the search
For what is our best use in each stage of our lives.
Dreams seem to be the only way the human spirit thrives.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Physical Therapy Is a Miracle to Me

Everything I've ever been and everything I am,
I owe to the time of teachers, and a helping set of hands.
The laying on of hands in good physical therapy
Is the stuff of miraculous healing to me.
We seek swift answers from pills and surgery --
Not learning how to keep own bodies pain free.
The teachers I follow are the ones with mastery
Of their subject before they impart knowledge to me.
I could have sought out a personal trainer instead of PT,
But the knowledge of physiology is as important as can be.
Strength building exercises on muscles knotted over nerves
Will never be productive in putting pain in reverse.
When will we honor the individual time and attention
That trains us in our own power's attainment and retention?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aunt Ann's Pot Roast and Very Close to Berry Chantilly Cake

This is what we served our nieces for their birthday celebration.

My mother made some of the best pot roast I ever put in my mouth. Here's as close as I could come to her way of making it:

Aunt Ann's Pot Roast

3-4 pound of your favorite cut of beef for roasting
1 cup (approximately) all purpose flour
Salt to taste
Lots of black pepper
Lots of garlic powder
Lots of onion powder
1/2 cup canola oil (She used safflower oil)
1 cup water
1/2 pound carrots, cut in 2 inch pieces
8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1 pound mushrooms, cut in half
6 ribs celery, cut in 2 inch pieces

Sprinkle roast liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Coat with flour on all sides. Oil on all sides. Place fat side up in cover roasting pan. Roast at 300 degrees for 2 hours.

Pour in water. Add carrots and potatoes. Cover and return to oven 1/2 hour. Add mushrooms and celery. Cover and return to oven 1/2 hour. Remove roast from pan. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Very Close to Berry Chantilly Cake

1 box white cake mix, prepared according to package directions in 9-inch cake pans, using four pans to make very thin layers. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Berry Compote:
1/3 cup triple sec
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon orange extract

Whisk together and pour over the following fruit:
1 cup fresh strawberries, cut in half
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
Refrigerate for 1 hour.

6 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
4 ounces sour cream

In top of double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and milk. Whisk over boiling water in bottom of double boiler, whisking continuously, until mixture coats spoon with thick sauce like warm pudding (about 15 minutes). Remove pan from heat to a cold water bath. Whisk for 2 minutes. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on surface of custard. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Whisk cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and sour cream into custard mixture.

Whipped cream icing:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff. Beat in softened cream cheese.

Pipe a border of whipped cream around edge of first layer to act as a “fence” for fruit. Place 1/3 fruit compote on cake layer. Top with 1/2 custard mixture, including juice. Repeat for layers 2 and 3. Top with layer 4. Ice cake with whipped cream and cream cheese mixture. Decorate with toasted almonds and fresh fruit.

Birthday Blunder

We had a birthday party for Waggy --Richard and me.
What she wanted to eat seemed simple as can be.
But I messed up with a comma where interpretation was free.
She said "I want a kitchen sink salad w/ all the
Veggies, meat, cheese, and pasta. And carb smart ice cream.
We set about creating what I thought was her dream.
One of Richard's salads that would be sure to delight,
And a pasta primavera should be just right.
I shopped for every veggie I could put in the pot
And Carb Smart spaghetti to fill the pasta slot.
Imagine her surprise when she thought pasta in salad,
And spaghetti for primavera was all that I had.
Richard's salad pleased her; she even took pictures.
She seemed to enjoy the pasta without her strictures.
Then her ice cream, we topped with fresh raspberries.
I hope she was happy with her birthday fairies.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great Gobs of Gratitude

Great gobs of gratitude is the way to start any day;
It's so easy to do when we've had so much love come our way.
The baby boys all over the condo, one end to the other,
Under the watchful eyes of their loving aunt and mother.
Uncle Richard as their playmate while we girls got to chat,
The boys climbing on us occasionally for a kiss or a pat.

One of "those" salads, pot roast with all the fixings,
Beans from a Coker Creek garden are still to our ribs sticking.
To celebrate the birthdays of the girls, the boys could hardly wait;
They had spied the fresh strawberries on the Chantilly cake.
We parted with great smiles and some with grocery sacks
Hoping the sharing of good memories will keep them coming back.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grabbing Grandchild Time

Our youngest granddaughter is now ten. It seems like we'll blink and lose her to her own explorations of the wide world. I'm so thrilled that she still openly admits to longing for time with us. I feel that I must take every opportunity to spend time with her before she outgrows her granny.

Richard and I have been invited by her gifted program teacher to assist with a class field trip to the World War II Museum. How sweet is that when your grandchildren are so proud of what you do that they want you to teach their class something about your work? Now her big brother, who really enjoys time with his "Poppie" has asked if he can tag along. I hope it all works out. I'd be on cloud nine, or is it cloud ten?

Me and my youngest grandgirl had a sleep-over last night and enjoyed each other immensely, but the time was too short. She's in so many activities that it's really cutting into our time together. I'm not really complaining, though, because the class that kept her late was sewing. I'm hoping she can teach me a few new tricks.

The time waiting for my granddaughter also gave me the opportunity to take our only grandson to his favorite shopping place, Gamestop, where he purchased a Batman game with his own money. What an easy way to be a hero; all I had to provide was the ride. He's thirteen, so every minute with him before he takes the wheel is a gift.

After the grandchildren were whisked away, our daughter-in-law and I curled up on the couch, still in our jammies and watched a not-suitable-for-children movie as my son bopped in and out in his own inimitable style. What a perfect way to spend a day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Louisiana Lost and Found

It is lovely living with a Italian/seafood restaurant on the harbor. Even though we both enjoy cooking, sometimes it's simply more convenient to take visitors out to eat. Our friends, Susan and Mark, who have settled in Louisville, Kentucky after being washed out by Hurricane Katrina and then a several year stint living in Florida, pass within a quarter mile of our condo on their way to visit their son and other sundry relatives and friends in New Orleans. This almost guarantees that we will get to see them as they pass by, especially since they usually arrive at lunch time. As Sam Walter Foss said, "Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man."

In order not to put pressure on them about their arrival time, we opted to meet them at the harbor side restaurant. They had a sailboat slipped here many years ago and reminisced about the wonderful times they had sailing and swimming with their young children. The memory machine, I'm sure, was well oiled by the sumptuous seafood dishes on all of our plates. We ended the meal with a walk to our condo (Richard got a one-block ride in Mark's two-seater red sports car, in which I can't even imagine folding myself up sufficiently to enter and exit). At home, we ate oatmeal/cranberry cookies from the cookie dough I had on hand from the visit by the baby boys and sipped cafe au lait.

Susan and Mark are now sandwiched between Susan's aging parents and their daughter's family, complete with their first grandchild. I think they're in Louisville to stay, but it sure was wonderful to relive their memories of how our Louisiana lives were before our losses.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and eggs until light and fluffy. Add flour, salt, and soda. Mix well. Mix in oatmeal. Stir well. Drop by tablespoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Yields about 5 dozen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beutiful Baby Boys

Our niece and her boys came yesterday;
She had homework, and they wanted to play.
What a delight it was to recapture our past
When Richard and the children would have a blast,
Building towers with homemade wood blocks
That come crashing down with gentle knocks.

The two boys also played boat in a box;
This served to really turn back the clock
To our first grandchild who could make boats
Out of things that were never meant to float.
We read stories, played cars, and laughed a lot.
They're not our grandchildren, but it matters not.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Simple Savory Supper

What we enjoyed with last night with friends:

Cream Cheese and Chutney with Whole Wheat Crackers
Richard's Sumptuous Salad
French Bread and Butter
Pepper Dijon Pork Cutlets
Kale with Portobello Mushrooms
Bowtie Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic
Irish Coffee

Pepper Dijon Pork Cutlets
1 1/2 pound boneless pork loin, cut 1/4 inch thick
Nonstick spray
Seasoned salt
1 cup sauvignon blanc
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon crushed green peppercorns

Season pork with seasoned salt. In large heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, brown pork on both sides. Remove pork from skillet. Keep warm in 200 degree oven while making sauce. Deglaze skillet with wine. Whisk in Dijon mustard and crushed peppercorns. Heat to boiling. Pour over pork. Serve with potatoes or pasta.

Kale with Portobello Mushrooms

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 pound sliced portobellos
1 cup red wine
1 pound kale, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts
Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute

Heat olive oil in large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Cover and fry, stirring occasionally until brown and tender. Deglaze skillet with wine. Add all other ingredients. Cover skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until kale is tender, 20-30 minutes. This can be tossed with bowtie pasta or served alone as a side dish.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Foggy Feelings

Fog over the water is eerie to me;
The sea has become the sky,
And the sky has become the sea.
Many lured by the sirens' songs
Realize too late that
Their direction is wrong.

We're back home after years away.
There is no way to predict
How long, this time, we'll stay.
Our life's seas have been rough,
Our ride has been quite wild
For me, being partners is enough.

The captain of my ship is off;
May his journey be safe,
And his landing be soft,
His mission be noble, his path true.
May his reward be the pleasure
In the work that he'll do.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back on the Banks of Lake Pontchartrain

We're back on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain,
My Richard, Waggy, her puppies, and me.
The leaves in the mountains on the way down
Were such a sight for us all to see.
It was quite a sight for others,
Passing by Waggy's loaded truck;
We had everything but the kitchen sink
And a many pointed handsome buck.
We had not enough room for a postage stamp
Under Waggy's big blue FEMA tarp,
And Waggy had to content herself
With a space not big enough for a dog's bark.

Six hundred miles Richard drove us
As we chatted about our sixty years
He never once complained
Probably glad there were no tears.
That's one thing about my friend Waggy
She and I always find a way to laugh
Even when she takes upon herself
What seem to others impossible tasks.
After all she's done to help us
In our overwhelming partial move
She says it was the kind of vacation
Of which she and her puppies approve.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Wonderful Whirlwind Waggy

Wow! What a whirlwind we've brought to our house in the holler. My friend since I was five came with us for a visit as we prepare to put our mountain home on the vacation rental market. She said that she needed a vacation from her duties taking care of her eighty-five-year-old father in Louisiana. Never have I seen a vacation quite like the way Waggy does it.

As soon as we arrived, Waggy announced that she wanted to attend Deborah's twice-a-week exercise classes. These aren't senior citizen stretches; this is a wonder woman workout. Like this isn't enough bending and stretching for anybody, Waggy also accompanied Judi to a two-hour Yoga lesson on an off day for exercise class. This is Waggy's idea of relaxation. Now for what she does for fun...

Thus far, she's cleaned cobwebs, washed windows, prettied up the porch, done loads of laundry, bailed and scrubbed buckets that had collected stagnant water, and painted the back door, swept, mopped, dusted, and generally kept things clean while I pack. She's also willing to help tote boxes to the heap of things coming south with us. This is all worked around her at-home exercises and caring for her two active house dogs.

My recently deceased eighty-four year old mother, who lived next door to Waggy's dad for over fifty years, used to say, as she watched Waggy work on her dad's house, that everybody needed a Waggy. Now I know what she meant. Wonder woman has nothing on our wonderful Waggy.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Losses and Life

There are many people in my life who aren't afraid of death;
It hurts my feelings because they put me in a mess.
If they are not grieving because they're sure of eternity,
It wouldn't be right for me to cry while they hold me.

I know that they feel they are just passing over
To a place where they can sit on their god's shoulders,
But it would be nice to have a tearful goodbye
Before they leave me alone to cry.

I will miss their physical selves in my life
Their smiles, words, and laughter that soothe my strife.
How can dying people be so blissfully blind
To the holes in the hearts of those left behind?

How can I be so foolish as to continue making friends,
Knowing the grief I'll feel when their lives end?
My broken heart, I don't have time to mend it
Before another loss appears to rend it.

Yesterday was two of my oldest and dearest
And another with whom I feel a kindred spirit.
I'm hard pressed to say which is most inviting
Shared history is comforting; discovery is exciting.

Still I force myself to open my heart and celebrate
With family, old friends, and new, and my mate
Then I review the memories on these pages
For reliving during our last life stages.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Midtown Magic

I experienced midtown magic in my trip to New Orleans,
Where the people are so real and the trees are evergreen.
This is the essence of New Orleans that I so dearly love,
The one of my childhood, before the working class got shoved:
Moved into to the suburbs and the city's periphery,
With the promise of housing that would be rent free.
They moved to secure their piece of the American dream,
Never realizing this was a political and corporate scheme.

With the advent of a new city caused by a hurricane,
The essence of the working class, in midtown remains.
There are divas dressed to die for still meeting for lunch,
With shoe polish black hair and hair as pink as punch.
There are old time politicos whose children now rule,
Hoping for anonymity as they set on their bar stools.
The smell of sweet olive trees may not permeate,
But the shade of the lives oaks is still something to celebrate.

The friend that I met for lunch certainly spoke to my soul
When she shared that in the Bible Belt she didn't feel quite whole.
She shared that her child had asked her about the people who were left out
Of the fundamentalist beliefs that Bible preachers love to shout.
She said that she and her husband, a moral Jewish man,
Were seen as not equal parts of the Christian salvation plan.
New Orleans has always been a center of spiritual openness
And the mistakes in relationships, the people are quick to confess.

I cannot think of a better way to live until I die
Than celebrating we're all human, as long as we continue to try.
We are very outspoken about where our boundaries really are,
So that those at our same parties won't rain on our cigars.
We understand that those around us may be on different paths,
And we have the choice to wait for them or to take a pass.
All I ask is that those who say they love me work with who I am
Instead of trying to convince me I was a mistake in their god's plan.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pets and Safe Bets

I sit and watch out my window how people treat their pets;
This vicarious viewing of other people's lives gives me no regrets.
I think it is good training to have pets before you have kids
This probably would have been better than the way my first husband and I did.
I had always thought that pets could take care of themselves,
Like the stuffed animals that many kept upon their shelves.
The father of my children thought pets should be kept outside
To only be paid any attention if something made them cry.
We were quite the pair to bring children into the world:
A boisterous little boy and a sweet, sensitive baby girl.

It is a source of constant amazement that humans continue to survive
With all the efforts we make sabotaging that for which we say we strive.
Chickens, cows, and horses have more attention paid to breeding
Than those in whom we are, our own genetics, repeating.
There is an accepted adage in lesser animal husbandry
That the offspring will only thrive if the mother is stress free.
Yet we continue to allow breeding women to be abused by their mates
As if this has no effect on their gestating children's fates.
If people can't be bothered to train and care for their helpless pets,
Their children becoming something other than wild animals is not a safe bet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goodness Gracious Grandmas

Nobody ever asked in our family, "What do you want to be?"
But as an adult I knew what I wanted was to be a granny.
We sat at the feet and worshiped our grandma in her chair,
And talking back was something that I would never dare.
My daddy, her husband, and my uncle made great fun of her emotions,
But she enjoyed the luxury of my mother's complete devotion.

We had another grandma who came over to help with us kids,
But she was treated as "domestic help" for all the work she did.
This was not a place of honor in our completely chaotic home;
I was able to understand why this widow chose to live alone.
I've spent my granny years vacillating between the two;
I wasn't sure which of their shows of love was more true.

My deceased sister said it was the love of the grandma who came to us,
But our other grandma, over her grand kids, made a bigger fuss.
I do know that as a youngster, I drove them both quite wild
I was never a "sit silently worshiping" kind of child.
It is so strange to me to now come to realize
How much I do like these two women by whom I thought I was despised.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Granny Games

Wow! What a weekend I had at my son's home!
I'd like to never again spend a weekend alone.
I showed my granddaughter and one of her friends,
A favorite game of my sister's twins.
Then granddaughter and I taught her friend a board game;
Rummikub will probably never be the same.
There's no such thing as peace and quiet;
When these two girls are together, it sounds like a riot.

My daughter-in-law joined us in playing games,
And my son, as usual, kept us quite entertained.
My grandson came home with a lacrosse team mate,
And into his boy cave they went to hibernate.
When my son got skunked in trawling for shrimp
Down to the street shrimp vendor he went.
Oh, the pure bliss of a gulf shrimp boil!
Eating like this has me quite spoiled.

On our song book we began the printing process
With our favorite songs we sing before we rest.
"The Lord is My True Shepherd" is something I sing
For the comfort to the children it seems to bring.
We went to bed and snuggled and read a silly book
About six fishermen with no good sense or good looks.
And then I scratched her back so very softly
And crooned to her til she was feeling sleepy.

Sunday came with joyful anticipation
Of Richard joining our family celebration.
My son and his wife went to the Saints game,
So to their house, kids, and kitchen I laid claim.
The boys asked for pancakes, eggs, and bacon;
We had all the kitchen counters shaking.
I made them sit at the counter so I could see them
I won't feed anybody who won't give my labors attention.

As Richard made his arrival, so did our niece
With her two baby boys, so my joy was increased.
My granddaughter's chocolate cookie cake
Was out of the oven for all to partake.
Richard had the counters almost rocking
With all his precise seasoning chopping.
Richard taught meatball rolling to our little cook;
Then she made the baby boys their own coloring book.

By this time we had four teenage athletes in the kitchen,
Coming through and on each trip snitching
A bit of chocolate cookie or a meatball or two.
Our meatballs were diminished by more than a few.
By the time the weekend warriors returned from their games
The pot of sauce was ready with the meatballs that remained.
More board games, some TV, and singing of our bedtime songs,
This is the kind of family life where this granny belongs.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Granddaughter Day

I'm going to see my granddaughter;
I'm so excited I can hardly say.
This is one of my favorite
Ways to spend a Saturday.
This one loves to be snuggled,
With covers "strapping" her up.

She also likes to cook with me
To create that on which we'll sup.
Her neighborhood friends may join us
In our little cooking school.
I'd love for her brother to join us,
But he doesn't, as a rule.

We plan to make a book
Of all my favorite songs
Then, when I sing to her,
She can joyfully sing along.
I don't know what she's planning
For tonight's entree.

She loves to make lasagna,
But for something else I pray.
We plan to bake a cookie cake,
Chocolate, this time, she says.
And when she goes to sleep tonight,
I'll scratch her back and sing our prayers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Watching Others Work

It is such a luxury to watch others work;
In rental condo living, it's a definite perk
Richard comes home; we relax and play games;
He doesn't face problems with nobody to blame.
Our dog lived outside; so did our cat.
He didn't blame me; don't worry about that.
But the stress when one has nobody to kick,
And the tension at home can get a bit thick.

He's at the point in life where he deserves some leisure,
And extremes of temperature almost give him a seizure.
He works in a museum all day, in climate control,
Where camaraderie and service are his primary goals.
It's nice that he has no household responsibilities
When he has the leisure time to spend with me.
He still likes to think that he's a pioneer man,
So we'll let him upkeep our mountain cabin as long as he can.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lasagna on the Loose

I would know that I was rich enough if when I create a catastrophe,
The person left to clean it up would not be little old me.
The grown daughter of a best friend came over for her favorite food
I baked chocolate cookies and lasagna, being sure they were extra good.
Because she was in a hurry, in the excitement of seeing her after so long
I forgot to support the lasagna pan, boy did this turn out wrong!
The beautiful baked lasagna wound up in a puddle on the oven floor
We had to scrape it together and serve it; there was no time to bake more.
It tasted really delicious but its good looks were omitted
Now the bottom of my oven looks like someone vomited.
Where is a cleaning fairy when a bomb goes off in the oven?
And my Richard is not here, his helping hands to lend.
It's time to stop putting it off and roll up my sleeves to clean;
I'll reward myself with lunch out with a homemaking queen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I Think About My Shrink

If I'm not the one who is crazy, why am I seeing a shrink?
Is it because I want someone to affirm what I already think?
If when we talk to our friends and relations, and they get an itch
The usual solution is to sign us up for a hitch
In a convenient psychiatric facility of their choice
Where they can pay people to put up with the sound of our voice.
Lots of life just doesn't make sense when you stop to think about it,
But unless you want to be crucified, you shouldn't, out loud, shout it.
Take slavery in a country of equal rights and women with no power;
They got the people who objected scorned, in not our country's finest hours.
But we have so many who are afraid for society to change
That they proclaim the revolutionaries to be deranged.
The sixties were about seeking justice, we should all face that fact;
I'll go to the nut house or prison, but I'm not going back.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Courage to Create

I finally found the courage to run down the street with no clothes;
My greatest fear in life is that I would be completely exposed.
Exposed as the scared fraud that I know I've always been;
I've been faking my way through life following other women and men.

I've lived through many life's adventures, some more painful than others;
I have finally accepted myself through the love of adopted mothers.
The book about my mountain home tells many of my love stories.
I've saved the sad ones for another book, so you don't have to worry.

Many will see themselves pressed like flowers between the pages,
But I've changed the names to avoid any person's potential rages.
You just never know who may be in the witness protection program,
And exposing their identities is certainly not part of my plan.

I feel as if I've been in labor for the last five years,
A time filled with a lifetime of blood sweat and tears.
We look forward to seeing all our mountain friends very soon
And listening to the forest creatures howl at the moon.

I lied about the forest creatures; most of you know they scare me,
But when something makes for good rhyme, I just can't let it be.
Thanks to all of you who have loved me into not becoming too discouraged
I couldn't have done it without borrowing some of each of your courage.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Family Fire

There's a young man who lives across the way
I don't know if he has a wife.
Every day he takes his lab for a walk
He seems to really enjoy this life.

He brings his well-behaved dog home,
Comes back with his fishing pole.
Yesterday he caught a flounder
Will today's catch be mackerel?

I've often thought it would be nice to fish
But it takes a patient and steady hand.
When The Creator handed out these attributes
I must not have been part of that plan.

How life must have been for early humans
Who gave thanks for whatever they caught;
I guess even then I'd have been the cook
Of whatever the hunters and gatherers brought.

I would sit by the campfire and listen
To the exciting stories they would tell;
I'd supervise older children watching babies
In the community where I'd dwell.

The really old folks, wrapped in blankets,
Would be welcome around the campfire.
They would have open laps for the babies
Until the day comes that they expire.

We'd sing joyful songs together,
Welcoming each new day and each meal
We'd sing soothing songs until the babies,
Into peaceful slumber would steal.

And when all the children were
Safely tucked into their beds
The adults would share stories
About that which they dread.

We'd have a council of elders
Who'd share the wisdom of the ages
And we'd listen to the active adults
Who would also act as sages.

Perhaps we'd have a talking stick
To each, it would be passed around.
This would insure that the campfire
Would be respected as holy ground.

After all the family folks retired,
The wild ones could remain by the fire
They could regal each other with their lies
A fall sleep with adventure-glazed eyes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Matriarchal Mama

When I was in the seventh grade,
My teacher was a formidable woman.
She had a presence that I craved;
I felt like her favored one.

When my little sister would come knocking
On this teacher's classroom door,
She'd gently call for "Little Mother,"
When she could have been angry, I'm sure.

My sister had a stomach ache
Because she was always scared;
Her big brown eyes could never fake
The terror that was in her head.

My teacher would allow me to
Calm my sister and go call our home,
But then I'd have to leave her
In the office all alone.

I never forgot this teacher's kindness,
Or the fact that she was so brave
In standing up to my bullying brother,
Which put my mother in a rage.

When I went for my first job
As a recently divorced mom,
She was secretary to my boss,
And managed to keep me calm.

So many times she's been there for me,
Like a angel with her flaming sword.
I knew that I only got the job
On this woman's positive word.

Now she is recently widowed,
And her son has passed away.
Her daughter is a full time nurse,
But I have time to play.

She fixed for me a luscious lunch,
And gave me leftovers to take away.
She sets a lovely table,
In a proper New England way.

I know I should be cooking for her
After all she's done for me.
But she so loves doing for others,
I had to let this be.

Her words of wisdom and her wit
Are such a welcome gift to me,
When I get to be eighty-six,
She's who I want to be.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My friend's requeted last verse re: Dogs, Don't Walk on White Sand

Mississippi beaches sure missed out
Because me and my friend
Picked up other people's trash,
Leaving the beach clean from beginning to end.

Dogs, Don't Walk on the White Sand

My girlfriend wanted to take her pups
For their first-ever romp on the beach.
I was thrilled to be included
Because so much beach is in reach.

I took a ride down the Mississippi coast
Only to find, to my chagrin
That now they've cleaned their beaches
Dogs are no longer welcomed in.

The neighborhood where we lived
Before Katrina stole our home
Has a small beach on the lake
Where dogs are free to roam.

It was delightful watching her poodle
Challenging the waves.
I only wish I could have taken them
To the miles of white sand about which I'd raved.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Peaceful Pastimes

A day of mourning for many in our country,
Was a day of great peace for Richard and me.
We stopped by the home of dearest friends
She and I needed to, a wound made with words, mend.
I needed to hear her gentle voice and see her smiling face,
To make sure our deep love was still in place.
Then our son and his wife welcomed us with open arms;
Their loving home is a shelter in many storms.

At this refuge which produces daily celebration,
My niece and her family came by with libations.
My niece and I had had an argument;
I was so glad to see that her anger was spent.
Watching her children was a pure delight;
Her husband's fried chicken was the hit of the night.
I cried all the way home from the pure beauty of life,
Offered to me as a mother, grandmother, and wife.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It Ain't About Tea; It's About Defining Free

We seem to confuse what it means to be free
With a belief in absolute anarchy.
To be free to do what, to only one, makes sense,
Comes with terrible consequence.

And the creation of leaders who claim divine rights
Has brought our republic to a terrible plight.
We elect heroes who don't play by our rules,
And make the hardest workers look like fools.

We don't need those who were born to privilege,
Their good luck in their births being their edge.
They may think they're modern day Robin Hoods,
Braking laws, believing it's for the public good.

Maybe it's time for true democracy
Where each of our actions is our responsibility;
Where we're held accountable for following common rules,
Beginning with regaining control of our schools.

The language of commerce is, by default, English;
Common language to communicate is a must.
And order is not only an English concept;
It is the way that we show each other respect.

We will always need common laborers;
Those who fail in the classroom can join this corps,
But we must stop being fooled by the wealthy
Who in, robbing hard workers, are very stealthy.

It is we who pay taxes who are paying for them
To lord their status over honest women and men.
The rich and powerful are not our friends;
Our fear is that on which their power depends.

In the land of the free and the home of the brave
We are not put here to be our leaders' slaves.
We don't need blustering hypocrites
Who lie to us as if we're all half-wits.

They threaten if we don't do what they say;
With their money and power, they'll move away.
I say let them go and don't let them come back.
We have hard working citizens to take up their slack.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Nation and Salvation

We must set up a new definition and following of patriotism,
Where we shun anyone who believes the law of the land is not for her or him.
I have no use for movie stars or other clowns of our nation;
I don't think that the most entertaining will affect our salvation.

I vote for those who encourage free will and free thought,
Which are the principles for which we were told our wars were fought.
When loyalty to one person or party is seen as necessity,
It goes against all the ideals that make our country free.

We approve only abstinence education mandated by adulterous hypocrites
Who lead our sovereign nation and give me moral fits.
I don't like abortion any more than fertility treatments;
Hypocrisy in our laws is what makes me come unbent.

There are many in the religious right who hire illegal immigrants,
And pay no social security. Our money, on their help, is spent.
They seem to live by the law that what is secret is right,
Forcing law abiding citizens to subsidize their employees' plights.

We can continue to pretend that we are a Judeo-Christian nation,
But we are allowing those who follow no rules of faith to control creation.
I have one constant question in our strong religion-based rhetoric,
Are our leaders actually people of faith, or is their religion a parlor trick?

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Mamas

I spoke to both my mamas; they say they miss me every day.
I have waited for sixty years to have a mama with that to say.
I suspect it's because I have a habit of writing what looks like eulogies
For people who are still living, not waiting till they're deceased.
I write much about these women; what they say should be holy scriptures,
But we have all these rules which, on scripture, put strictures.

Unfortunately, for me, this causes some to become quite cocky,
And our relationships are bound to become rather rocky.
I never know if their reaction is because I embarrass them
By being so forthcoming with how I feel about my friends.
These two women are from the old school and spend their lives in service.
I find them so uplifting that, their presence, I often miss.

They have learned to laugh and to cry with their trusted friends,
Knowing that, as long as we care, our grief in being human never ends.
I so admire these women for their wit and their wisdom
It is a great honor that they count me as their valued friend.
I admire so many people for how they avoid false pride,
But admiration for each other is something that should not be denied.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Soft, Sweet Sunrise

Something special about sipping coffee at sunrise,
Especially when the air is fall cool and crisp,
Pink wisps passing over the sailboats,
And golden rays give the world a soft kiss.

The water shimmering as a breeze on it plays,
The birds fairly tremble with the joy of waking
Gifts of Creation on which I'm blessed to gaze;
This is certainly not of man's making.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Memories of the Mountains

The air is clear and cool today at our condo on the lake,
But the fall-feeling nip in the air, make no mistake,
Has me missing our fireplace at our home in the woods
Richard keeping it stoked on autumn days has always felt so good.

It's a rather luscious longing as I anticipate our next visit;
We have many varied chores that need doing, and yet
I think that we will take the time to luxuriate
In the warmth of the wood fire behind the fireplace grate.

Perhaps friends will come to talk and enjoy a meal or two;
Maybe some will even come to be part of our work crew.
And the times around our table eating meals and playing games
Making marvelous memories, that for all of us long remain.

It is always a great pleasure to work with our hands,
Maintaining and improving our forested plot of land.
It seems that it has been too long since we've seen our mountain friends
Maybe there will come a time when our two lives truly blend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Smiling Through the Storm

The storm has passed leaving behind some damage, but also some healing;
It has finally extinguished the marsh fire that had asthmatics reeling.
The lesson I have learned from loss is that nothing on earth is permanent,
And we usually don't know all the answers for why the scary is sent.
I have never understood why people pray for certain weather conditions;
What may be a blessing to me, may destroy the dreams of a friend.

I do know that if I look hard enough, I'll find something to celebrate;
The rain has moved to our Tennessee home, giving that drought a break.
There was nothing to be done by us in our rental condo unit;
Watching the wonders of nature, cooking, and games was how our weekend was spent.
The most important lessons I've learned are that life is give and take,
And learning when all we can do is to hunker down and wait.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Silencing the Storms

Whitecaps on the water are a joy for me to behold
They lead me to think about stirring up the old,
Making way for new water and new water life
That seem to appear after the terrible strife.

I don't like to ride these waves;
Of capsizing and drowning I'm afraid.
But I can, in my perch above the fray,
Feel like a captain most brave.

I greatly admire those who can
Bravely ride out the storm,
With visions of a future that's worth
Subjecting themselves to harm.

I think I may have been one of them,
In a long-past time in my life,
But I can now relax a little bit
As a moral and brave man's wife.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Males and Moms

I've spent much of my life riding shotgun on other people's lives,
Thinking that mothers with small children needed help to survive.
But it has come to my attention that in this modern world,
Daddies are as capable of child care as any of us girls.
They're expected to change diapers and come running when baby calls,
Not simply to take them out for the occasional game of ball.
Those who bemoan that there are so many outside-the-home employed moms
Don't want to admit how many of us, as full time mothers, bombed.
There are those who have a talent for understanding baby talk,
And others who, at the constant crises of children, balk.
If we can now have male nurses in the hospital wards attending,
Certainly men are capable, of children's boo-boos, mending.
The trick is in defining who possesses which skill sets;
On moms being the better stay-home parents, I'm not taking any bests.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Flash Flooding and Flashbacks

The storm is bringing back memories all across town
Of Hurricane Katrina, in which our pasts were drowned.
Everywhere we go, people are reliving the terrors
That, in many cases, were caused by human errors.
Levees were built poorly and not properly maintained;
The pump operators were sent home, so the city wasn't drained.
There were lives lost; amounts of property lost is untold.
Those brave enough to come back aren't feeling very bold.
These winds, thankfully, won't become hurricane speeds,
And, to quench a marsh fire, this deluge is what we need.
But, we know that, in a blink, it could happen again,
As we count the inches of the pounding rain.
We feel a bit safer perched on the second floor;
The furniture isn't ours, so we'd leave and lock the door.

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Fine Little Family

I'm in love with the little family
That lives across the way,
Even though we have never
Had any words to say.

The tall, pencil-thin mama,
The barrel-shaped grandma,
Supported by the short stout daddy.
Is that his mother-in law?

They so obviously love their children
And enjoy them immensely
I guess they would think it creepy
That they share it, unseen, with me.

Most days they are in the pool
Outside my living room window,
But this morning in the teaming rain
Mama and daughter had places to go.

The tiny girl in a pink tutu,
Perched on her mother's hip,
Protected by her mother's arms
With their strong, sheltering grip.

I guess that grandma was inside
Sitting with the precious baby boy.
Watching all this love in action
Gives me untold, silent joy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Being Nice and Real Life

I had lunch with a close friend last week
Who shared a quote she had heard on life.
She said, "Home is where we go
When we're tired of being nice."

I guess I must have skipped this lesson
In the things one learns before marriage.
I have been thinking all along
This would be married love's miscarriage.

I thought if there was no peace at home,
The marriage was doomed to end.
At sixty, I'm learning life's lessons
From some of my oldest friends.

My seventh grade teacher visited;
She was married sixty-four years.
She's widowed now, and shared with me
Her family's laughter and their tears.

She told me that she left him once,
But he followed her to win her back;
Never in their marriage was there
A spirited discussion lack.

My other mother gave me a quote
As we were a bit of wine drinking,
"If a couple never fights,
Someone isn't thinking."

She allowed that she and her husband
Were the thinkingest couple she knew.
And in their long life together
Their friends numbered more than a few.

They brought up two children who
Both spent their lives as nurses.
Clearly dynamic tension in marriage
Isn't the worst stress there is.

Both of these women are
Strong in their own rights.
I think this is the secret to
Having productive fights.

We all need to hone our strengths,
And learn how to work hard,
Learn what's important to fight for;
Moral children may be our reward.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Divine Disaster

When my mother died I claimed her mixer,
But it was missing a large bowl,
So I bought a set of several sizes,
Thinking this would make it whole.

I was making a carrot cake for
The birthday of my "other mother,"
When the batter slung all over the kitchen
Like sweet, orange melted butter.

The mixer twirled that bowl around
At such a fantastic speed
I wished I had a sister here;
We'd have had quite a laugh, indeed.

It seems that my mom's mixer is
Much more powerful than mine,
Or is this a little prank they played,
My mom and her Divine?

Stupid Substitutions

When dealing with any form of technology
I always assume the jokes will be on me.
I found an easy way to substitute words,
But it led to words that I've never heard.
I thought I was changing a name from Ann
To May; at least that had been my plan,
But, lo and behold, the program when in doubt,
Sought the centers of words and cast them out.
All my many references to canning food
Were changed to cMaying; that wasn't good.
In my book about farm life this word appeared
Several hundred times. Oh Dear!
I'm going through the work to change them all back;
Technology may give me a heart attack.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OCD in Action

Richard is now a tour guide, even though he will not boast.
People come to see the PT Boat and he becomes their host.
They probably get more information than they ever thought they needed
Like how many nuts and bolts are on board and what horsepower is exceeded.
He is so proud of this project that he often is elected
To do many detailed and risky jobs that, by others, are rejected.
Like crawling around in the rotting hull, taking photos of the structure
Risking life and limb if the planks choose this time to rupture.
He then painstakingly catalogs the pictures and the plans;
These picky jobs have been his specialty since the museum began.
Whoever says that OCD doesn't have a positive side
Has never had Richard as part of their team or their historical tour guide.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Refashioning Families

A big problem with families is the passing of the buck,
Blaming those who are close to us for our bad luck.
It is also convenient to have a several to blame
For decisions of our own that turned out to be lame.

There are many joys in having second chosen mothers,
And siblings by choice, be they sisters or brothers.
We start out with no baggage and no competition
For which one of us has the greatest erudition.

We can bring small gifts that really mean nothing,
But are simply a little "remember me" offering.
We can also limit the time we spend together
To opportunities to help each other feel better.

This isn't an option in families, of course
Unless the family members are willing to divorce.
Then all can be rosy, and sweet, and kind
"In love," not love, is that which is blind.

So what does one do to take care of the pain
That we bring home with us time and again?
Some have a cocktail; some say a prayer;
Some go into hiding; wishing no one was there.

One joy of retirement when the children have gone
Is that we can set the moods in our own homes.
No more are there pressures outside of ourselves
On which either of us is forced to dwell.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Being at the Beginning

A best friend came to visit, one who knows me well;
We reminisced about our lives, our heavens and our hells.
We took very different paths through family, faith, and fame
But, in the end, what we longed for was to be back home again.
There are so few friends who can look deep into our souls,
And aren't afraid to expose the things that keep us from being whole.
These friends are treasures because we have such long history
Where, in new relationships, who we are is a mystery.
It takes too much energy to begin at the beginning,
Continuing explanations for why we can't keep from sinning.
These friends already have deep understanding in their eyes;
Their compassion for us, once again, pulls the truth out of our lies.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Computer Crash

My computer isn't budging, even a little bit;
That bad case of worms is giving it a fit.
I don't know if the patient can be resuscitated;
Having a back-up machine can't be overrated.
How else would I keep in touch with Jack's new editor?
And work on my own book wouldn't get very far.
Richard took my computer to a friend to see if it's alive
But I suspect, it's permanently gone to the great bye and bye.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Star Status

I don't know how other parents live in their grown children's homes;
I guess it's sometimes the only alternative to living all alone.
I love to be treated as visiting royalty when I arrive
But if they saw me every day, I'm sure this wouldn't survive.
My granddaughter and I play games and snuggle in the bed;
She reads to me from books which I'm certain she's already read.
My grandson shows off his talents and his many friends,
And I don't want that magic to ever come to an end.
I love my son's sense of humor, but he sometimes gets carried away;
Because I'm in his house, there are many things I don't feel free to say.
His wife and he have discussions in which I'm not invited to take part;
This is just as well; it's hard to stop once my mouth gets a start.
Kisses and hugs all around when I come and when I go again;
Coming home to our own routines helps my star status to remain.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Baby Brother

Yesterday was my brother's birthday;
What he meant to me
Was a precious baby brother;
That's not all he was meant to be.

He was a world-class hugger;
This turned out to be a shame,
Because so many women
Treated it as a game.

My beautiful brother was betrayed by friends,
Women and men alike.
He took to hiding in drugs;
His misery continued to spike.

My brother's faith in relationships
Had been so diverted
By the hypocrisy of authority,
Which, the powerful, had perverted.

He looked for mentors in older men,
But they led him further astray.
I wish these people were still around
To accept the hurt they lay.

My brother is long since dead,
But his memory lives on in me.
When I look into my husband's face,
My brother's love is some of what I see.

I am blessed to share life with a man
As huggable as my baby brother;
I only wish that more people
Didn't, their affections, cover.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Morning Man

I love waiting for my husband to rise
To see the joy of living in his eyes.
I'm honored that this joy includes me,
And that he shares with me what he will see.

We'll sit and have coffee together;
We will comment on the weather.
Then we may go on to discuss
Whatever else occurs to us.

On these mornings, he loves breakfast
Eggs and pastries are a must.
Then a day of working with near other
All the fires of our lives to smother.

Tomorrow we'll trade our morning chat
For tales of his work when he gets back.
Today, there will be no tales
With which on workdays he, me regales.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Temptations of Technology

Now my computer tells me we have worms
That seem to spread like viruses and germs.
Technology is so darn unpredictable;
Why does it have such a powerful pull?
For me it is my infinite university
Where I can study anything for free.
I've made friends that I may never meet,
But they still make my life more complete.

I have been able to help publish a book
Without having to leave my writer's nook.
I can email friends at two in the morning,
And enjoy their replies as day is dawning.
I get a bit spoiled not having to dress,
Or worry when my house or hair is a mess.
I can sit by my keyboard and feel connected
Without the worry of being rejected.

I could have our groceries delivered,
And never have to speak a word.
With writing, nobody can misunderstand
And ascribe evil to the message I'd planned.
The big, wide world comes to me;
Through the computer, everything I see.
But the pleasures of a friendly voice and face,
The wonders of technology will never replace.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Looking Forward to Life

The new computer monitor is in;
Let the publishing games begin.
My surgeon has released me;
I'm now free to simply be.
Today is a day to grab life by the tail,
And, once again, let my spirits sail.
Thankfully I'm grounded once again
By the people who insist on my acting sane.

Otherwise, I float too high, too fast;
This kind of energy simply cannot last.
While it's exciting to soar and dip,
The downward spiral is a scary trip.
So I'll continue taking time to observe
Before I make myself a scourge.
I'm looking forward to this shared life,
And happily continuing to be a wife.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Surrender to the Seasons

What a storm we had yesterday; the sky was torn asunder.
We threw open all the windows on the world
To see, smell, hear the lightening and thunder.
This morning, the air is cool, clean, and fresh;
I think I can smell fall on the gentle breeze.
This is the fine fantasy with which I am blessed.
This month actually is the worst of hurricane season;
We all know our world could suddenly be washed away.
Meanwhile, I'll enjoy these lovely days that defy all reason.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friends and Failure

I had a sister who thought her only friends
Were those who followed her to her bitter end.
I am more inclined to celebrate
Those who help me be first rate.
Sob sisters seem to come by the scores,
Knocking down each others doors.

I like people who seek my best,
And put my strengths to the test.
Those who cheer for me when I win,
And when I fail, help me begin again.
These are the people who set me free,
From my past fears and self-pity.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Possible Possession

I believe my ambitions may be possessed
Or is it the technology with which we are "blessed?"
Three times I have made an attempt to format my book;
Twice, the software gave it a new look.
I finally think I figured out the format problem
But, through hardware glitches, I'm stymied again.
Will the computer problems ever relent?
Will I ever see my work in print?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Savoring the Soup of Living

Living large is more enjoyable when done in a group
Life doesn't all have to be steak dinners with wine;
Sometimes we like a bowl of soothing, homemade soup.
The soup that I like the most is a shared project;
Even the most humble meal is a celebration
When made by friends with no egos to protect.

We don't want constant complainers or team work saboteurs
We want only those who are committed to the team;
There's enough injustice we are forced to endure.
We want only those willing to share their strengths,
Those who are ready to do whatever is their part
Without each team member's buy-in to the whole soup,
The project is off to a disastrous start.

I know this isn't political or very nice to say,
But we really don't need any team members
Who will simply sit by themselves and pray.
Babies need tending while the parents stir the pot;
We need no preachers, comedians, or entertainers
If that's all the talent you've got.

I like working on teams where everyone is heard,
Where we must all wait our turns to speak
So we don't miss out on each other's words.
Today you may be required as the officer in charge,
If this particular plan needs your expertise,
This is your place in today's living large.

We also need people who are willing to sweep the floors;
We need people who will wash dishes well,
And those who will stand guard and lock the doors.
The people who run the errands are no less valuable
Than the people who write up the plans;
We all have our own weight we must pull.

It is always my hope that when the soup is done
The whole team will sit down to supper,
Nobody will feel the need, or have to, run.
We praise each other, give thanks for our gifts,
Savor soup, and bask in shared glory;
A job well done together is my pure bliss.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sights of Summer

My little family is back at the pool;
Granny in her pink hat, looking cool.
The baby boy jumping into her arms,
Knowing she'll allow him to come to no harm.
The young mother teaching her daughter flips,
Not once does her ability slip.
Then she throws her daughter as far as she can,
The child squealing with laughter since it began.
Another mother shows up with camera in tow,
Her pre-teen daughter has a summer tan's glow.
I will miss the people having such fun
When the winter doldrums have begun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rhetoric and Retirement

There is a saying that talk is cheap;
That's because most talk isn't very deep.
The talk about our neighbors and the weather
Is about as valuable to me as a feather.
I prefer talk in which I learn something
And talk that, to my fears, give wing.

I have never been good at small talk,
And from angry words I tend to walk.
Are bits of truth hidden within
Casual words of women, and of men?
Or are words simply a way to kill time
Free of the need for reason or rhyme?

I so look forward to time with dear friends
Where words are usually a means to an end
Of seeing each other all the way to our souls;
When with these friends, I feel more whole.
This cannot be done well in a social setting
Something, we who do lunch, keep forgetting.

Over salads, it's hard to suppress the urge,
Our deepest feelings and thoughts to purge.
When the door has been opened, how do we end,
And once again, into the outside world, blend?
I'm trying to remember that retired friends and I
Now have time together to laugh and to cry.

We no longer have to hold in our true selves
That, for years, we had no time on which to dwell
Months don't have to pass while we live away
Wishing for more time together to have our say.
Now we can parcel out our triumphs and travails,
I hope my sense of urgency will soon pale.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Cajun Cure

I've been feeling a bit disconnected;
This has caused me to feel dejected.
We finally hit upon something, I was sure,
Would, once again, make my soul seem pure.

Yesterday, we returned to my roots,
On the bayou with my Aunt Toots
Also in his eighties, Uncle Roman,
Laughing at surprises for which they can't plan.

The greatest gift they always give,
Is joy in having purpose for which we live.
Next time we take a trip to down below
My aunt's going to teach me Grandma's gumbo.

Grandma and her husband owned a general store,
But, for much of their lives, they were very poor.
They threw away nothing, every scrap was used;
The flavors of the meat scraps, Grandma's gumbos infused.

There was chicken, bologna, salami, and ham,
And always a roux, browned with loving hands.
The rest of her secrets, she never did say,
But the finishing touch was a spice called filé.

I will learn to make it, with Aunt Mabel's advice,
Then we'll sit down to a supper of gumbo with rice.
My cousins will come to share a few laughs,
The finishing touch on a Cajun repast.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hiding from Homicide

A lot of days, all I do is hide
So I'm not tempted to commit homicide
Against the many who get great joy
Bringing forth tears from small girls and boys,
Thinking they are preparing them
To hold their own as women and men.

Even on the sportsman's field
Their are rules, to which we yield.
Players are matched by size and age;
This, for the cowards, should set the stage.
It is easy to win when there are no rules
And the youngest and weakest play the fools.

Justice dictates that there be fair play,
Or the biggest bullies always win the day.
Many of us are simply overwhelmed by life;
Communities should share each others' strife.
We can act as referees and partners for each other
If we look upon all as sisters and brothers.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Babies as Bombs or Blessings

Watching out my window, I learn a lot about folks as they watch their kids at the pool and walk their dogs. It seems that the men are mostly on stand-by for emergencies, while the women want to bond with someone else, even if it's not with their children. Women also come to the pool with all kinds of equipment for hygiene, safety, and play.

When a woman walks her dog, she has on her exercise attire, something to drink in her hand or fanny pack, a poop bag, and her cell phone. The men wear whatever they are going to wear the rest of the day; if they're drinking anything, it's coffee or a beer; and they decided to walk the dog to get away from conversation. They know that the condo complex supplies poop bags every fifty feet along the water. If they happen to receive a surprise package from their dog, and they happen to be near a poop pick-up station, then they bend and retrieve the specimen. If not near a poop bag, they generally walk on and figure it's biodegradable, so what's the problem?

Wise women want to be prepared; most men think they are prepared. I think it's because many men love the rush it gives them to figure things out on the fly. That's what heroes are made of. Wise women are afraid of domino-effect consequences, so they over-prepare for every event. Men stay lost in their own thoughts until time to spring into heroic action, leading to a ticker tape parade in their honor. I think we could get more dads to change diapers if we presented dirty diapers as bombs needing to be defused before they detonate, catching them in terrible collateral damage.

Dads also seem to believe in the principle of survival of the fittest; whereas mothers tend to their children as if each is a precious and unique jewel. Dads walk and expect their charges to step in line behind them; mothers spend must energy gathering their chicks under their wings and checking to make sure that nothing is swooping down from the sky or sneaking up from the savannah to grab their baby birds in its sharp-taloned claws.

Dad's figure that you gotta let 'em learn the hard way; if they're scared of the water, throw 'em into the deep end. They'll either drown or swim. Because there are now laws against letting your child drown to teach him or her a lesson, once the emergency is dire enough, dad will save you. Then you have to sit out until you can stop crying like a big baby. What doesn't kill you, will make you strong.

Maybe we should have dads walk around with bowling ball-sized hand grenades strapped to their bellies until the babies they make are born. At the baby's birth, we pull the pin. Everything the dads do, they'll have to hold on tightly to the pin in their bowling ball or risk being blown sky-high. Do they want their progeny to be bombs or blessings?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Soaking In the Spirit and Sunshine

Yesterday, I went out and soaked up some sun;
Floating in an empty pool certainly was fun.
I took a book, Gandhi's autobiography,
And read of his search for religious veracity.

When I felt that I had filled my mind,
I'd close my eyes and float to unwind.
What better place to search for eternity
Than under the sky sheltering all we can see?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Slipping Away

Now that the children are returning to school,
Will I see nothing but an empty pool?
And what will I watch instead of young sailors?
The harbors too small for racing Boston Whalers.

Maybe the multi-generation family,
Whose babies look too young for academies,
Will still take their afternoon swim;
I get a lot of pleasure from watching them.

In the cooler early morning hours,
Long before the daily summer showers,
There are people jogging in the sea breeze
And many walking with dogs they pretend to lead.

There's always something to watch,
Looking out my window near the docks
Simply observing the ripples on the water
Often restores serenity to my thoughts' order.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vicarious Vacation

The children we have so loved
Have grown up to be good,
Better even than I let myself
Hope that they could or would.

If I never have a new adventure,
I'm ready to enjoy the afterglow.
Come sit by me and tell me
What you did and what you know.

Don't forget to include
All the fun we used to share,
Back in your younger days;
There's so much fun back there.

There is so much of my young life
I have no one with whom to remember,
But I would like to savor your joys
Until we've burned out every ember.

Nothing gives me greater joy
Than seeing your happiness today.
This is what I hoped for
And, for what, I still do pray.

When you come back from vacation,
Let's plan a show and tell.
This way I can feel that
I was on your vacation, as well.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take It Easy, Greasy

Take it easy, Greasy, we have a long way to slide.
I like to travel with those who enjoy the ride.
Anticipation of ecstasy and the afterglow
Make the joy of anything have a greater glow.
When we're in such a hurry getting to the finish,
There is so much detail in life that we miss.
The planning of a shared event is half the fun.
There's no point in playing catch-up once a project is begun.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making My Bed

Do you know the reason that people used to make their beds?
It was to keep out critters that we still have cause to dread.
My friend Jack in Appalachia says he once found a snake
Snuggling on a bed he, thankfully, did make.
And we don't want spiders crawling around,
Considering they'll bite us without making a sound.

Now we make beds because it makes them look nice,
But, still any critter would have to think twice
Before burrowing down between blanket and sheet
So, there's little chance that, our skin, they will meet.
It also makes it easier to pull the covers over us
Because when we're tired, we don't want much fuss.

So when you're tempted not to make your bed
If not one thing, it's another that can cause dread.
And if none of these things has convinced you to behave
Remember one more thought that is grave
You can't continue doing only what you want to do
Unless you want do decrease your friends by more than one or two.

When you go visiting, if your bed is made
Is matters not whether because its cute or your host is afraid
When you wake, place the pillows and smooth the covers
So you may be invited back by good manners lovers.
If you don't behave for goodness sake
They may, next time tell you to go jump in the lake.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Living Less Large

This is the big risk
That I took today:
I told my hubby we can't
Continue to play.
The cost of everything
Has gotten so high,
And our retirement fund
Makes us want to cry.

His ego may be hurt,
I am quite sure,
But this is something
We both have to endure.
We didn't think we
Would live this long,
But his heart transplant
Made all estimates wrong.

My daddy's mama lived
To be ninety-six and a half.
If we live this long,
We'll want to laugh.
We won't be laughing
If we run out of dough,
So this is somewhere
We don't want to go.

Cost cutting measures
May not be easy,
But the alternatives
Make us both queasy.
We're glad we enjoy
Each others company
This is a continued joy
That we get for free.

During the day he's busy
Building a PT boat
That in the fighting
Of World War II did float.
But my Vietnam veteran
Always returns to me,
Unlike many veterans
Lost on boats at sea.

In the evenings we play
Scrabble and Rummikub
Then he rubs my feet
While we watch some tube.
On Sundays, we go see
Family and friends.
May our joy in each other
Never come to an end.

Today They Look Like Ducklings

Today they look like ducklings, all swimming in a row;
They start out on their sailboats, then over they go.
This must be a part of their seamanship training;
Or, are they simply taking a swim before it starts raining?

This could be essential lessons in how to right their own mistakes,
Under the watchful eyes of teachers who will do whatever it takes
To make sure these young sailors do not drown in their endeavors
To win their crazy competitions over who can act most clever.

If only we had more teachers with a sense of safety and adventure,
Who would guide our young people as they, into the world, venture,
Who understand the chances that one will manage to survive
Are based on how much one is willing to learn and how hard one strives.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Setting Sail

Like baby butterflies, they float on the waves;
In the shadow of the rescue boat, they are so brave.
Bouncing, bobbing, running into one another,
It's clear they haven't mastered the use of a rudder.
It must be on purpose that they heel over so gleefully;
I suspect this isn't what their instructors want to see.
Round and round they sail about the practice bouys
Many days will pass before they're ready for open seas.

Learning to master the wind, a treat for these girls and boys,
That gives the old salts a way to relive their youthful joys.
Dreams of riding the waves on the open sea,
A fantasy of what it means to feel truly free.
But even this freedom requires many disciplines,
That must learn before our adventures begin.
Without it, we chase each other in an endless loop,
Yawing and broaching on our rudderless sloops.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rage-Filled Rhetoric

How much of thinking is shut down
By another's strong words?
If we want to get to the message,
We should examine the words we heard.

There are people of great passion
Who will burn with the hottest flame.
After the first fire burns down,
We must ask what message remains.

Are their words just kindling,
Simply a showy flash in the pan?
Or is their hottest passion a fuel
For pursuing a crafted plan?

We must look at their lives,
The examples they have set before,
Prior to allowing their impassioned
Speeches to enter our minds' doors.

We must remember that Herr Hitler
Was a man of impassioned speech.
His rage-filled rhetoric shut down the brain,
And it had a terribly far reach.

A screaming child is sent to the room
Until they collect their thoughts,
But we continue to ignore all the destruction
Adult bravado has wrought.

A snarling person, like a barking dog
Is something to be feared;
The real message their words carry
Is that we have come too near.

So often people snarl to ward us off
From discovering their truths,
But backing off is not the same
As rendering them moot.

All the passion pulls others in
To a mindless, soulless pack,
Until the numbers are sufficient
For them to feel strong enough to attack.

And there are so many others
Whose lives are lived in fear;
Their paranoia is activated by
The angry words they hear.

What can we do with excess passion
That flies in the face of reason?
By allowing the angry to lead the world,
We commit intellectual and emotional treason.

Why do we refuse to listen to
Those who speak soft and true?
When will we stop surrendering
To the loudest and most abusive few?

It is difficult to sit silently,
Listening and comprehending,
But until we learn respectful discourse,
The violence will have no ending.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Protecting Our Pack

Have you ever noticed how women like to
Publicly preen their men and their young?
Anyone else who tries to approach them
Is in grave danger of getting stung.

It is a woman's way of saying
This is mine; don't try to touch;
I'm the one who cares for
These people so very much.

Many men strut and flex,
As if they are the ones who are strong,
But, knowing that, if challenged,
Their strength wouldn't last very long.

I have willingly traded
Strength of body for strength of mind.
I feel protected by his quiet courage,
Preferring that my mate be smart and kind.

Many people travel in packs,
Rather than stay and protect their own.
It doesn't seem to me that
Their adolescence has been outgrown.

There are other men and women
Who seek a society of friends
That are pledged to protect each other
Until all of their lives end.

Because we have chosen new family,
We are blessed with such a society
Of faithful long-time friends,
Who know my man, my children, and me.

We rejoice with each others joys,
Share in each others' passion and pain.
And when we lose our way, they are there
To help us find our right path again.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Missing My Children

Oh, how I miss my children and their children, too;
The summers used to be filled with so many things to do.
But, now we're faced with the occasional short visit,
As the time allotted to each adult is so carefully split.

I'm tempted to take in children of some other folks,
But the truth is that so much parenting is now a joke.
Parents who want no responsibility seem to be
The first to blame the people who agree to set them free.

In order to secure our future finances, we must say no
To many who would like a place for their children to go.
We live in a society that wants everything with no price,
We can't afford to have only a few who are willing to sacrifice.

Those who want something for nothing are the first to bring
Lawsuits and slander that can ruin us while they sting.
"No good deed goes unpunished," is a saying that seems true.
It does put a damper on the deeds we'd like to do.

A "Granny Camp" would be a pleasure if children knew respect,
But authority is now something all children feel free to reject.
Being "the cool one" doesn't cut it in a life-threatening emergency
But it seems the only value that the young people are willing to see.

While I know of the many abuses of unquestioned authority,
There must be an alternative to all the children running free.
I would love to bring inner-city children to learn to farm and preserve
But I can't get past the sentence that any mistakes may cause us to serve.