Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Calendar News

Hello everyone. I've been lax in posting on this blog, but I am still around. I've been spending the holidays with my two sons and husband (in picture above) and with my extended families.

I do have news. Some of you may remember that one of my poems appeared on the September page in the Writer's Rising Up Digging to the Roots Calendar in 2014. The new calendar for 2015 is now available for free download for those who are interested, and two of my poems are in it. If you click here, then look for the months of June and November, you can read my poems that are included in the new calendar.

Speaking of calendars, I wish all my readers a Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is full of love, laughter, happiness, and blessings for all of you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dressed For It

Dressed For It

Before I go out, on the gear goes,
layers and layers and layers of clothes,
trying to keep warm from my toes to my nose.

First come the long johns, thermal and clean,
(an important layer, although it’s unseen).
Thick wool socks are pulled up to my knees.
So much to wear to make sure I don’t freeze.

Warm heavy jeans and a homemade sweater,
a bulky knit scarf and boots made of leather,
a coat filled with down, light as a feather,
hat and gloves on last--look out winter weather!
January comes, and it hits ten below.
I get sick of shoveling that cold, wet snow.
“Moving south is looking better,” I say,
but spring brings forgiveness…
and amnesia,
and …sigh…here I stay.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Step, Another Stage

Another Step, Another Stage

As long as there are those who love me,
and the sun still shines above me,
I won't worry about my age.
It's just another step, another stage.
Quite clearly, this is how it's supposed to be.

My knees can no longer be trusted.
My dreams? They need to be dusted.
My joints are achy.
My hands are shaky.
Like the Tin Man, I fear I have rusted.

Still, I have a stack of books to read,
and there's hot tea in my cup--what more do I need?
There's music to listen to and art to create,
so what do I care if the hour grows late?

I miss the days of feeling bold and sure.
My insignificance grows the more I mature.
swear I am still young inside,
and I do try to take aging in stride,
but being a grownup has lost its allure.

As long as there are those who love me,
and the sun still shines above me,
I won't worry about my age.
It's just another step, another stage.
Quite clearly, this is how it's supposed to be.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Closer Look

A Closer Look

I walked along the flower trail,
finding joy in each detail.
I was the only one around,
(I thought),
but then I heard a buzzing sound.
After taking a closer look,
let me tell you what I found!

Two bees danced around the morning glories

and another around the daisies.

Black-eyed Susans were quite an attraction
to lightning bug ...

and spider action...

and to an inchworm measuring, measuring 
fraction by fraction.

A wee, green bug perched on a purple petal...

while a beetle with spots 
chose orange 
as the place to settle.

A green and black 
dragonfly fellow
stood out clear and bold 
against his choice of yellow,

but his brother nearby 
could barely be seen
hiding in plain sight 
against the green.

A Mourning Cloak 
with ragged wings 
lit on a plain leaf nearby

while against the glory of a lily 
lounged a common housefly.

All of them among the flowers:
 butterfly, beetle, and bee
add to the details that delight me
 and make for good company.

Friday, September 12, 2014

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Stephen T. McCarthy! He was chosen as the winner of our Old Broad Blogfest contest. He wrote two stories about his favorite old broad, his mother, in the comments at Susan's blog. You can read his winning entries here. You can also stop by to visit Stephen's blog and congratulate him, if you would like. Stephen won a paperback copy of Old Broads Waxing Poetic.

For those who are interested in purchasing a paperback copy of Old Broads, it is on sale at Amazon at this link. For the Kindle edition, please click here. Remember all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to Care International, so it all goes for a good cause!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Old Broad Blogfest contest. I appreciate all of your wonderful comments. Thank you, too, for sharing with others and telling your friends about our book. Christmas is not too far off. If you have any old broads on your list, I am sure they would love a copy too!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic - Book Launch

She's an Old Broad

She's an old broad. 
 I want to be just like her.

She's an old broad.
She takes no guff.
Her heart is soft,
but she's strong and tough.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

She doesn't hesitate
to speak her mind,
but when she has a choice,
she chooses to be kind.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

She loves to laugh
and do things that are silly
like wearing big sunglasses
and hats that are frilly.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

If there's a need,
she's the first to volunteer.
She'll pitch right in to lend a hand, 
a shoulder, or an ear.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

She's the first to forgive
and the last to judge.
If you're lucky,
she'll cook for you:
homemade potato soup, 
banana bread, 
and peanut butter fudge.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

She's no muss, no fuss
with comfortable shoes on her feet.
Want to stop by and see her?
You are always welcome,
as long as you don't mind
if her house isn't neat.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

She's had her share of troubles.
Bad days? More than a few.
And if you're having a bad day,
she will sympathize with you.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

Her hair is unruly.
Her eyes are twinkly.
Her chin is strong.
Her smile is crinkly.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

Over the years, she's been known 
to shed a tear or two,
but mostly she's a happy soul,
and she's saving a hug for you.

She's an old broad.
I want to be just like her.

When writing the above poem, I had several women in my mind; my grandmothers, my mother, and some friends of mine. I wrote about my favorite "old broads" because I have an announcement to make. I have some very exciting news! I was invited to join seven other women to collaborate on a book of poetry, and that book has now been released! 

We had additional help from two gentlemen: from Francesco Romoli, a photographer and artist who created the image called Forever Young that was used for the book cover, and from blogger/book cover designer, Michael Di Gesu, who designed the cover for the book around that image. Many thanks also go to Joanne Faries, who formatted the book for us and to Susan Swiderski and Julie Kemp Pickfor compiling the poems.

The title of the book is Old Broads Waxing Poetic, and it is available now in paperback form from Amazon. Click on the book title to follow the link to Amazon if you are interested in ordering it. For those who prefer the e-book format, it should also be available through Amazon in the near future. A
ll proceeds from the sales of this book will be going to CARE International.  

I have not yet read the poems contributed by the other old broads for this volume, but I know that some of the poems are amusing, some are touching, and some will strike a chord with the reader.  I do know that I am in very good company with the others who contributed to this book as they are all talented writers.

One member of our group, Susan Swiderski, generously wrote and shared the passage below for all of us old broads to use on our blogs for this Old Broad Blogfest. We are having a contest for the launch of the book which she explains below. 

*   *   *   * 

The following is from Susan:  "To celebrate its release, each old broad featured in this book is blogging about her favorite old broad today, and we invite each of you to tell us a little something about your favorite old broad in the comments. Oh, and if you're still offended by the term broad, I apologize. If you'd prefer, you can tell us about your favorite older woman... how's that? Oh yeah, and one of you who comments about your fave broad will be winning a free copy of our book. Cool, huh? (It really IS a cool book... not only is it filled with some fun poetry, but all proceeds from its sale are going to CARE International.)

Now then, let me introduce you to the other broads, so you can follow their blogs, too. (Like I said, they're ALL terrific.)

NOTE: Technically, Michael isn't a broad. He's a guy. A very nice guy who used that lovely image from Francesco Romoli to create our cover for us, so you could say, as an important member of our team, he's an honorary broad. With hairy legs.

The winner will be announced next Friday, September 12th.

Thanks for helping make this a very broad celebration!"

*   *   *   *

So there you have it! Tell me in the comments about your favorite old broad for your chance to win a copy of Old Broads Waxing Poetic, and be sure to come back next week when the winner is announced. Please stop by and visit the other old broads in the list above too if you have the time. I'm sure you will enjoy their blogs as much as I do. If you are so inclined to tell your friends about our book or to share the Amazon link on Facebook or Twitter or on your own blog, we would be very grateful. Remember the proceeds go to a good cause.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Shining Out From Within

Shining Out From Within

Morning Glories,
bright jewels of sunrise,
delight in reaching, reaching for the Light.

Climbing higher,
desiring, following, seeking it;
escaping from the night.

Catching the rays, soaking them up;
filled to overflowing.

Stars shining out from within;
basking, illuminating, glowing.

Round and round in a spin.

Sharing the peace, trumpeting the joy,
shining the Light of the All-knowing.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

This Call May Be Recorded for Quality Assurance

This Call May Be Recorded for Quality Assurance

"Hello. Thank you for calling the Mail Order Pharmacy.
Someone will be with you shortly, if you wait patiently.
If you want someone who speaks Spanish, please press two.
Or stay on the line, if an English operator will do."

I miss the days when a real person answered the phone.
Now it's always a machine... I feel so alone.
I just want to refill my prescription. It's NOT complicated.
My blood pressure is high. I must be medicated.

"First we need the numbers for your ten-digit member ID."
I scramble to find the numbers then say slowly "5..5..2..3..."
"I'm sorry I didn't get that," the machine interrupts me.
"Please try again. Speak slowly and clearly."

I try again. Saying the numbers, getting it right.
"Thank you," the machine answers--oh so polite.
"Now I need your birthday. Month first, then date, then year."
The machine goes on and on with more questions and options for me to hear.

I go through the motions, respond to each cue.
I'm losing my patience, but what else can I do?
Address, phone number, doctor's name; I provide them all.
All I want to do is finish, so I can end this call.

Suddenly the machine hangs up without saying goodbye.
"NO WAIT! We're not done!" I sputter and mutter, swear and sigh.
Resigned to my fate, I dial again...trying not to cry.
I know ONE reason why my blood pressure's so high!
I will hate making calls to customer service until the day I die!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Waiting on the Train

Waiting on the Train

Two gentlemen: 
one in tie and grey suspenders and crisp white hat;
the other in blue overalls and crumpled fishing hat 
and holding a smooth, wooden cane in his hand;
sit, laughing and happy, in the front porch swing.

They keep company with a gentle, white-haired lady,
prim and proper in her Sunday best,
relaxed in her rocking chair,
passing the time on the front porch,
while the scent of honeysuckle drifts on the breeze. 

All conversation comes to a stop 
when the 3:15 comes roaring by,
just a short distance away 
on the tracks at the edge of the lot.
They feel the vibrations through their feet
and up through their bones.
They wonder who is on the train,
where they are going, 
and how their lives are about to change.

She holds up her index finger in a "just one minute" wave.
The trio nod and smile at each other. 

When the caboose rattles by 
and carries the last of the roar away with it,
the exchange of words and stories continues.

Some of us wait for the trains to pass 
so we can tell our stories in the quiet.

Others of us are caught up in the rhythm of the noise,
embracing it and singing along with it, 
as we jump on the train and ride to the next station.

                                         *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I recently visited our local art museum where in one room they had a display of photos of trains. One particular photo caught my attention. It really appealed to me, and it inspired me to write the above poem.You can see the photo and read a little about it here. On the site, you can click on the photo to enlarge it and get a better view.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Big Zoo Dance

Big Zoo Dance

Have you ever been there?
Have you ever had a chance?
Have you ever seen the animals 
at the Big Zoo Dance?

The ring-tailed lemur
listens to the big jazz bands.
He does the swing step,
complete with jazz hands.

The jellyfish love 
as they gracefully float and turn.
 Do you want to waltz too? 
You can do it...
just watch the jellyfish and learn!

You wouldn't expect the grim turkey vulture
to dance around a lot,
but you ought to see him flap his wings and strut
when he does the Turkey Trot.

The orange fin clownfish, 
with its stripes of neon blue,
twists and turns along the coral reef,
while dancing the Electric Boogaloo.

The big old bear dances and prances
to a rocking Twist and Shout.
He puts himself in such a spin,
he has to sit the next dance out!

The penguin dances to Puttin' on the Ritz,
and maybe he looks a little funny,
but in his fancy tuxedo suit,
he gives Astaire a run for his money.

The Lion King says to his Mrs.
"I won't dance with you."
So, she refuses to talk to him
and mopes around, feeling blue.

Have you ever been there?
Have you ever had a chance?
Have you ever seen the animals 
at the Big Zoo Dance?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Snow Leopard's Lament

Snow Leopard's Lament

Most walk right past me
though I'm right here in plain sight.
They glance my way
and then look away.
Do you understand my plight?
No one speaks to me! 
No one! Not one word!
I'm never noticed, never seen,
never heard.
I'm here in the shadows
in the grey and the black and the white.
I'm not trying to hide,
and I promise I won't bite.

(Unless, of course, you are a bird
or some other tasty dish
like a rabbit or a goat 
or... perhaps a fish.)

This is a picture of a snow leopard that I saw at our local zoo. This is a color photo, although it looks like a black and white. I was impressed with how well this animal blended in with the rocks and landscape around it. At first glance, I thought there were no animals in this area of the display. Once I saw it, I thought it looked kind of lonely, so I tried to imagine what it might be thinking.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

You Can Call Me Cuddles

You Can Call Me Cuddles

My ears are small.
My nose is wide.
I have squinty eyes,
big webbed toes,
and wiry-bristled sides.

My cousin is a guinea pig,
but I'm MUCH bigger than he.
My body's like a barrel.
There's no bigger rodent than me!

I lay around on the ground
and eat lots of grass and fruit. 
and though YOU may not think I'm cute,
the Mrs. thinks I am.
In fact she's in love with me.
She calls me her Old Whiskery Ham,
and I call her my Dear Sweet Pea.

When I saw this Capybara at the zoo, I recoiled a little, shuddering and thinking about how much it seemed like a giant rat. Right after I snapped the picture above, a little girl who was maybe four or five years old came up, saw the animal, and squealed, "Oh, he's sooo CUTE! I wish I could have him as a pet!"  Her mother and I exchanged amused glances. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fed-up Flamingo

Fed-up Flamingo

Distraught and beady-eyed,
the shy, fed-up flamingo
frowned at her image 
in the water down below.
"Why me?" she cried,
 as she peered and sighed
at her backward knees
and purple-webbed toes.
"I hate being a flamboyant,
fluorescent freak.
How I wish I could be sophisticated,
elegant, and sleek.
I just want to hide!
There's no chance of that, 
everyone knows,
not with these garish wings, 
pink feathers for clothes!
Oh, if only they could be shiny and black, 
refined and glistening,
like the ravens and crows!"

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Just Call Me "Miss September"

So this is something new. I'm a calendar girl now.  Yes, that's right. I'm Miss September 2014 (sort of). Believe me, I'm as surprised as you are!  Do you remember that song, "Calendar Girl" by Neil Sedaka? That song has been going through my head. Let me set your mind at ease.  There's no need to worry. I haven't turned into a pinup girl in the true sense of the word, and you aren't going to find a picture of me wearing a bathing suit hanging on the wall in some mechanic's garage. Everyone should be very thankful for that.

What you will find is a head shot of me above a poem I wrote accompanied by a lovely photo of a grasshopper sitting on a coleus plant.  My poem titled "Sir Hopper of Coleus" is featured for the month of September in the 2014 Digging to the Roots calendar created by the charitable organization called Writers Rising Up. If you are interested, here's a little bit about this organization from their website:

"We encourage a deeper understanding and participation in environmental stewardship. Through the literary arts at community events, contests, workshops, literary performances, interpretive installations and publications, our focus is on nature education and writing. We promote writers who associate their work to cultural, spiritual and social connections to place, the land, natural habitat, including flora, fauna and wetlands."

The calendar is a lovely collection of nature photos accompanied by poems inspired by the photos. If anyone is interested in seeing the photos and reading the poems and/or having a copy of the calendar for his or her very own, it is available to be downloaded and printed for free at this link:  2014 Digging to the Roots calendar.  Even if you don't want or need a calendar printed up, you might enjoy taking a look at these beautiful photos and reading the accompanying poems. I am very excited to have my poem in this calendar published by this worthy organization.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Perhaps, We Are Better Off

I felt like writing something whimsical today and came up with this children's poem.

Perhaps, We Are Better Off

Imagine if you were a giraffe,
so tall you couldn't see your own feet,
with your neck stuck up, way up, in the sky,
smacking your head on the lights by the street.

And what if you were an alligator
living in a muddy, old bog.
With your biggest fashion statement being,
that if you hold very still, you can look like a log.

Would you like to be a porcupine--
all sharp and pointy and prickled?
You'd never be loved, never be hugged,
and never be tickled.

How about the jellyfish?
Just a floppy, floating bubble of squish.
A ball of goo with nothing better to do
than to sting beach goers who swim with the fish.

What if you were a caterpillar?
Think how much it would cost to buy shoes!
Sneakers, pumps, boots, and slippers!
You'd be singing the too-many-shoes blues.

Given all of that, perhaps, we are better off
just being who we were meant to be.
Besides, longing to be something we're not,
we all know, is just an exercise in futility.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunday at Luigi's

I went to Luigi's, an Italian restaurant here, with my husband and in-laws last night.  They have great food, and we had a nice time visiting with family and making memories while there.  Montoni's, the pizza parlor featured in the comic strip, "Funky Winkerbean," is said to be based on Luigi's restaurant.  I wrote this poem trying to capture the evening.

Sunday at Luigi's

Sunday night finds me
in the spot made famous by Luigi.
Lush, green vineyards on rolling hillsides,
are painted on the walls all around me.

For one small instant in my mind,
I am in Sicily 
sitting with family 
at a picnic table next to an olive tree.
We are laughing and talking,
sharing a basket of garlic bread and dining on ravioli.

Then, a gust of cold air that is so wintry
invades the restaurant,
bursting through an open door to remind me
that my here and now is not a summer's day in Italy,
but cold Ohio in the middle of January, so blustery.

Luckily, the warmth of good food,
fellowship, and camaraderie
takes my mind from the cold temporarily
and fills my heart with gratitude summarily.

For the seasons will taunt us, (changing constantly)
and we ourselves may flit about here and there, 
(with so many sights to see)
but the love of family will be our most steadfast company,
and THAT will be what we treasure the most in our memory.