May 31, 2015
7:02 am cdt | link
Owing to a
delightful set of circumstances I have a crafty-type toy, not really a toy but a spinning loom, in front of me. The spinning
loom, used for making bracelets and accessories according to the box, comes with 18 skeins of different colored embroidery
thread. The box also says it has been rated as a platinum toy and that it is for ages 8 and up. I qualify.
I have a past that includes
making bracelets. My medium, gimp. I don’t remember learning to make these bracelets as it seemed to be a skill I was
born with. As a Camp Manitou camper, I spent all my ‘store money’ on the flat plastic braiding material called
gimp. Square stitch, barrel stitch, lanyard stitch. I had them down. It was a happy day for me when the camp store started
stocking metallic colored gimp because a great looking bracelet could be made combining, say, yellow and the new metallic
With my past bracelet making experience and the LOOP DE DOO instructions in front of me, I’m
going to give it a go. I am a little disappointed though, as there is nothing in the assortment of embroidery floss in the
way of metallic thread.
May 30, 2015
6:15 am cdt | link
Last night it rained. Not a thunder and lightning
event but an off and on again heavy rain. Watching the rain fall into the pond, the wind blowing sheets of water against
the grasses, made me think of something I read, years ago, about being a parent and about parents loving their children equally.
The writer said this. You love each child for their individuality so you love each child equally. But the child you always
love the most is the one who is away from home when it’s raining.
May 29, 2015
6:19 am cdt | link
seven children under five at the picnic table. One of them, probably not yet a walker, sits at the end of the table in a stroller.
The children’s names could be Kerrie, Meg, Emmy, Leslie, Paige, Tom, Shirley, Sam, Steven, Chris, Julie, David, Rick.
The mothers of the children, there are three of them, one very clearly pregnant, work at planting vegetables in the community
gardens. The mothers could be Barbara or Judy or Wendy or Marian. One of the mothers is me.
It is a sunny morning, a
beautiful day, and the voices of the children, who eat snacks, color and play with toys at the table, drift over to where
I am working. It is the most ordinary of scenes, nothing about it is unusual. It is a perfect picture beginning then and reaching
into the future. Something, the high voices of the children, the color of their T shirts, the camaraderie of the women, have
the strength to pull me back.
May 28, 2015
6:05 am cdt | link
A recent facebook
I was sent posting memories of college food, had me laughing out loud. It got me thinking about my college food and what I
remembered of it, which was very little. Swedish meatballs, rye bread and red jello, served in a parfait glass, topped with
whipped cream are the foods I can recall.. That and gaining the 'freshman 15.' Asking others I got these responses. “Pancakes,
we had great pancakes and I’ve always been partial to breakfasts.” “Mystery meat.” “A flaming
pudding at Christmas.” “A salad of pineapple rings, bananas and maraschino cherries.” “Lamb
with mint jelly.” “A good meat loaf and excellent ice cream because the college owned a dairy farm.”
“Cake donuts and coffee in the dorm breakfast bar.” “Meal tickets."
I also heard about dining
halls where coats and ties and dresses were required, dining halls where sexes were separated, cafeterias where waiting lines
were forever, a weekly night when students could ask a professor to dine with them, linen tablecloths, round tables where
food was served family style, a dining hall called a refectory, holding up fingers to indicate how many glasses of milk you
wanted and a grace that was sung. And this irreverent blessing. “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub. Yeah, God.”
May 27, 2015
6:55 am cdt | link
Make way for ducklings. Or goslings. I know,
I know. Geese are aggressive, dirty, annoying. They can be too many in numbers and out of control. They can overrun a habitat.
But wait a minute. The two adults here, walking tall, proudly parade their brood of 11 downy babies on the grassy boulevard
of a busy street. Walking in a straight line as cars stream by, they follow their inner GPS and go where they feel they must
go. Geese. Noisy, messy, invasive. And breath-catching beautiful debuting, on a misty morning, their young progeny.
May 26, 2015
6:00 am cdt | link
recently loaned me a book entitled “Masters, major works by leading artists.” The book is an expansive survey
of art quilts from forty international quilters. I pick this book up and study it for a few minutes, then put it down. I have
to think about what I am looking at before I can return to it again. I have several favorite artists in the book, Fenella
Davies from Bath, England, one of them. Davies’ work is contemporary, painterly and utilizes old and worn fabrics
which connote time.
All of the quilts featured in the book take the revered art of quilting into a new era. These are
not your grandmother’s quilts. But I am quite certain your grandmother would like them.
May 26, 2015
6:40 am cdt | link
To cheers and applause, the Minnesota Golden Gophers
bound on to the court, skate on to the ice, run on to the field. A Minnesota golden gopher, or thirteen-lined ground squirrel,
can also be seen, on a daily basis, scrounging for seed under the bird feeders here. The animal occasionally rummages in the
pots that contain the morning glory seedlings.
The University of Minnesota mascot is a creature that looks much like the more-familiar-
to-me, chipmunk. It is small, tan and has a four inch tail. It has a cute face and an even cuter way of rearing up and sitting
tall. Striking the pose of the gopher that it is.
I like the name gopher for a sports team. And to a Minnesota fan, it is a good day
when a gopher, a tiny thirteen-lined ground squirrel, can best a Badger or a Wolverine, a Wildcat or a Nittany lion.
May 24, 2015
7:17 am cdt | link
the uniformed man selling poppies in front of Econo Foods called out. I was rushing, had my arms around two bags of groceries
and was already late for where I was supposed to be. But I went back and grinning, the veteran placed a poppy on top of the
potato chips in one of my bags. “Don’t bother paying for it,” he said, “just take it."
he know that I was connected to that red paper poppy by a warrior father, not a code talker but a scout. A scout who drew
maps of France and Belgium in advance of Allied troops, a man who stealthy moved by foot and bicycle through enemy terrain
daily risking his life.
War is as old as time and I have no understanding of it. None. War is responsible for breaking
bodies, minds and hearts. The red poppy I now have wrapped around a button on my jacket is, for me, a reminder of war, its
horror and its unspeakable sadness. But it is also a reminder of my dad, the soldier that I loved. I wear the poppy proudly.
May 23, 2015
7:55 am cdt | link
I write things
down on scraps of paper. Things that are important, things that I want to look up and find out more about, things just because
I like the arrangement of words. At one time I had recorded these two words on the back of an envelope for a reason now unclear
to me. “Recognizing reality."
Yesterday was an ordinary day in the way that no day is really ordinary. Early in the
morning I saw a woman wearing pajamas and walking her dog. I saw a huge snapping turtle in the pond idling, until Dude swam
close by at which point the turtle dove and Dude, recognizing danger, quickly lifted up and off. I saw four women running
together as they pushed their babies in three wheeled baby joggers, I saw two grown women dressed as twins. I saw Bells of
Ireland seedlings pushing through the soil where I had planted cosmos.
Recognizing reality. I saw all these things,
every one of them. Maybe I saw them on Mulberry Street.
May 22, 2015
6:16 am cdt | link
It is spring in Minnesota and everything’s
arrived on time: the swallows who skim across the pond, the rhubarb in showy leaf and early this morning an overwintering
Mourning Cloak warming himself on the edge of a raised flower bed. It’s a new season and nature a pretty girl posing
in her prom dress. Showing us, what she’s become.
May 21, 2015
6:46 am cdt | link
my husband received an email from his alma mater. An email with a very poignant message The university was looking for the
family of my husband’s football teammate, a teammate whose plane was shot down in Viet Nam shortly after his college
graduation. The remains of this pilot had been found in the early nineties but now, twenty plus years later and with his parents
dead, the air force was trying to locate, through this man’s university, any remaining family with the reason being
this. In the last few weeks a watch and knife had been found in Viet Nam bearing this young pilot’s name. A very common
name. The air force wanted these items in the hands of a relative, someone for whom found items would have meaning.
A few days
ago I copied these few words down from something I was reading. I did not note it so do not remember the source. “After
a while the story becomes bigger than the person the story is about."
I think of these words in the context of the
recently received email. The futility of war, the theft of so many lives, the weaving far into the future the reminders of
our bad decisions. This story of a war is so much larger than the story of a single person, larger than the person whom the
story is about.
May 20, 2015
6:16 am cdt | link
As I write the egret and the great blue heron are
looking for breakfast. With my field glasses I can see that the white egret is snagging many little fish and that the great
blue shakes, for several minutes, a still wiggling frog. The pond is a poem of their colors, their activity. The pond is a
poem I could never write.
Dude, I am happy to report, is healing. He daily swims with the flotilla of mallards and on occasion
I have seen him with Ruby. Feathers are missing on his breast but the wound looks good.
Near here an old man tends
a bed of tulips. Tulips need no tending but this doesn’t matter. Driving by daily and seeing him bent over arranging
chips, watering his flowers with a sprinkling can, pulling up an errant weed, makes me happy.
May 19, 2015
6:11 am cdt | link
The temperatures last night were to plummet, by early
morning, to 35 degrees. To a gardener with raised beds and several rows in the field recently planted with annual flower seedlings,
this temperature is too close for comfort. So we cover. But the weather forecast was also for cloudy skies and a brisk wind
which are both helpful for keeping frost at bay. Contrary information confusing the situation. All in all thirty degree temperatures
are iffy compounded by the fact that the wind is fickle, the frost is fickle. It can touch and destroy certain plants in the
same garden leaving others untouched.
Now every gardener and farmer knows the rule. You are not safe from frost until Memorial
Day. Memorial Day is six day away.
May 18, 2015
5:56 am cdt | link
Lance and Alicia starring in, “Happily
Ever After.” Cheers, Lance and Alicia.
May 17, 2015
7:19 am cdt | link
Dude is hurting. An encounter of some sort wounded
his breast, left his feathers parted to expose a ragged hole, has him moving in a painful way. Dude is a male mallard duck,
partner of Ruby and a regular to the seeds that fall to the ground from the bird feeder, a daily peeper through the patio
door. The ducks are a part of life here and I have made a connection to their existence on and around the pond. A beautiful
existence until Dude’s encounter with a fox, a dog, a car, comes as a reminder that the story is the story and we cannot
May 16, 2015
6:47 am cdt | link
I write these words when the still pond reflects the possibility of everything
I am unable to see. What I can see is more than beautiful.
May 15, 2015
7:04 am cdt | link
people, I speak only one language. I have a little Spanish, a little French but have command only of English. Wanting
to be fluent in another tongue, I have regard for those who are. I especially enjoyed the words of a Dane explaining, in Wallace
Stegner’s book, Spectator Bird, his fellow countryman’s ability to speak languages other than Danish.
a Dane fell into the sea and washed up to the south, he would have to know German. If he fell into the sea and washed up to
the west, he would have to know English or French. If he fell into the sea and washed up to the North or East, he would have
to know Norwegian or Swedish, Finnish or Russian. So every Dane was compelled to prepare for the day he fell into the sea."
I must be
very careful near the shore, when visiting Denmark.
May 14, 2015
5:54 am cdt | link
week has been Minnesota Nurses Week. Nurses, particularly school nurses, are my heroes. One of my closest college friends
went into nursing and spent her long career as a school nurse. We kept in touch over the years and when her Christmas cards
arrived each year I always pictured her in a cute little elementary school taking temperatures and checking out sore throats.
When we got
together again, after I returned to Minnesota, I told her about my idyllic, long-held mental picture. Laughing, she looked
at me and said this. “I spent my career in city elementary schools, city middle schools and city high schools. I did
take temperatures and check out sore throats but I was the first responder for head injuries and seizures, broken limbs, peanut
allergies, drug problems, pregnancy situations, sick kids with multiple handicaps, behavioral problems, severe nose bleeds,
asthma attacks and everything else. I also listened to and dealt with the problems of the school’s staff!"
the kids took math tests in the computer lab. During the testing one of the little girls looked up from the computer beseechingly
and promptly threw up. “Would someone please, go get the nurse?”
May 13, 2015
6:16 am cdt | link
includes lilacs. There were three lilac bushes of the pale lavender variety in the backyard of my childhood home. There were
lilacs, white ones, in the yard of the Connecticut home where my children grew up. At the house by the brook, we had French
lilacs of a darker, magenta color.
Right now, this very minute, we are approaching the peak of lilac season. Cutting lilacs to bring
inside must be done carefully. Lilacs can be iffy. Lilacs, I have found, should be well open when cut. If they have
too many flowerets that have not opened, they will quickly droop. Cut them when they are mature. And cut them early in the
morning, at an angle, with a sharp knife. Do not smash the ends of the branches, just cut them at a sharp angle so they can
absorb a great deal of water.
After cutting, put the lilacs in warm water to which a flower preservative has been add ed. Make
sure the vase you use is very clean and that there are no leaves beneath the water. Then, cross your fingers and hope that
the lilacs hold up for a few days so you can enjoy their fragrance.
May 12, 2015
6:10 am cdt | link
Our post Mother’s
Day assignment is to write a seven word biography of our mother.
How does one find the right seven words to tell the story of
Marion…Swedish woman who loves children, dies young.
worrier, good friend of many.
Marion…Loved her family, also loved her hats.
Marion…The mother wearing
business suit, is mine.
Marion…Bookkeeping lady, who loves the newest clothes.
May 11, 2015
6:03 am cdt | link
The eaglets now spend much time perched, looking
out, on the edge of the nest. Periodically they walk within their aerie, flap their wings, crane their necks. On occasion
a parent eagle appears with food but lately when I check in, the two are alone. Wind ruffles their feathers which are now
pretty much the color of their parents’ feathers, though their heads are not yet white. I am struck, watching them,
how they are poised on the edge of their nest world, the only world they have ever known, looking out into the world where
they will spend their lives. There is, in the picture of them there, inevitability, promise, the freedom of flight. There
is what will be the story, of an eagle life.
May 10, 2015
7:01 am cdt | link
Remembering on Mother’s Day with love,
Marion, Edith and Trudy.
May 9, 2015
6:41 am cdt | link
fills with life. The calendula, larkspur, statice and stock seedlings are large enough to sell, to plant. But beware of rushing
a Minnesota garden. Frost can still happen even when the lilacs are in bloom.
Some evenings are good, some evenings
quite wonderful. And some evenings are close to perfect. A night at the museum was just that. Perfect.
May 8, 2015
6:11 am cdt | link
Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, is where I encountered the painting, "Europe After the Rain II", by Max
Ernst. A painting that depicts not rain, but the horrors of war. I remember, upon seeing it, being startled. Studying art
a few years later, I learned more about surrealism and the Dada movement. Education brought appreciation. But today,
in spite of insight into the painting and why it was done, it is the title, not the painting, that holds me,
we had rain. It came in a rush and stayed only for a moment. But even as brief as it was, the landscape had to take a breath
and admire what she had become. The field, the pond, the stretch of woods to the south had been washed with life. After the
May 7, 2015
5:55 am cdt | link
Becky broke her arm falling off the jungle gym. A
compound fracture requiring surgery. I broke my arm, actually my wrist, when I was eleven. I was climbing a wall. I told Becky
I remember how awful I felt when I made contact with the ground, and I remember how nice everyone was to me at the hospital.
We compared stories.
What I didn’t tell Becky was that somehow during the healing process I was able to wiggle
my arm out of the rigid plaster cast so I could go into the water those summer afternoons that I spent with my friends at
Half Moon Beach. A fact I also neglected to tell my parents and the doctor. How when it came time to change my cast, which
was sawed off with a circular type saw in the cast room at the hospital so another could be put on, the Dr. remarked how healthy
my skin looked under the old cast. Nor did I mention to Becky about the painful arthritis I now have in the wrist I broke
due, of course, to my past cast behavior.
Becky’s cast is beautiful and pink and made from some space age material. She
will not have to polish it with white shoe polish when she goes to a birthday party nor will she have to have it sawed apart
with a scary looking saw. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”
May 6, 2015
6:41 am cdt | link
is rich in stories. Every day I listen and I watch.
Earlier this morning, on the shore opposite me, a red fox of good size moved along
the small pond’s muddy edge. Out in the water the mallard drakes paddled five across. Two geese, leaning forward as
they do, swam with their eyes on the fox walking with intention. The fox watched the birds, the birds watched the fox. As
I observed the watching, I held my breath. When the fox reached the tall grass area, the seven birds swam, together, close
to the shore, the geese rising up out of the water and violently flapping their wings, the ducks swimming in circles around
them. The fox then slipped into the marshy area near an end of the pond and out of my line of sight.
Nests, eggs, ducklings, gooselings.
I’m unsure how this story ended.
May 5, 2015
6:21 am cdt | link
Sports stadiums in the twin cities. Like most everyone,
I have a take. I am not a football fan, have no interest in the “Vikes.” But, I think that a professional
football team of long standing should have a crowd-drawing place in which to play. I do enjoy the game of soccer and feel
that a venue for soccer games should also be on the table. In fact, I would give a soccer facility priority over a football
stadium anytime and for these reasons.
Soccer is the up and coming American game. As I look out my window a child, waiting
for the school bus, is dribbling a soccer ball. Last night many teams practiced on the fields near here. With immigrants continually
being absorbed into American culture, they bring with them their skill and love for the game of soccer. Also as we learn more
and more about football injuries and their life-long effects, the game is losing its appeal. Football may soon become, as
other sports rise in popularity, a game of the past. And this. Soccer, the game without expensive equipment which can be played
just about anywhere anytime, where a team can be comprised of two or ten players, is far more universal, It can include the
other half of the population.. It can be played by women and girls.
May 4, 2015
11:01 am cdt | link
My poet friend just sent me a poem entitled "Mending."
She said, in her mail, that she thought I would like it. And I do. Fabric, thread, thimbles and scissors, words, and things,
I like. I love to sew, I even like to mend.
My mother had a wooden tool called a darning egg. She stuck it in a sock when a hole
needed to be darned. I’m quite sure she didn’t do this often, my mother worked outside the home and preferred
bookkeeping to mending, but seeing her do this even once was memorable. The image of her using a darning egg remains in my
I don’t own a darning egg and I have never, that I recall, darned a sock. But I do own a sewing tool
I would be uneasy without. My necessary tool is a pair of embroidery scissors. Gold, the scissors are shaped like a long-billed
bird, the bird’s beak being the scissor’s blades. These embroidery scissors are common enough in design, nothing,
really that special, but I found them years ago on a city street. On my fingers, they feel just right.
May 3, 2015
8:38 am cdt | link
A few years ago six-word stories and biographies were
popular. NPR prompted their writing and aired the best; writing groups everywhere encouraged the penning of them. Yesterday
I was purchasing scones when I heard these twelve, picture producing words.
“We just heard your wonderful
“Found out news is double good!”
May 2, 2015
6:28 am cdt | link
of May has appeared without the prelude of April showers. In spite of little rain, we do have the flowers. the bulbs and the
blooming shrubs, the blue booms of vinca minor. Childhood Mays were ushered in with baskets of candy hung on the door handle
of our screened in front porch. Thinking back, I am not certain where those baskets came from. Possibly our neighbor Mrs.
Kotz down the street, my mother’s friend Madge or, my godmother Vi Tillison.
In the spring a song was sung at
Boyd Elementary School called, “It is the Month of May-ing. ”Though I recall only a few of the song’s words.
I do remember that my friend Helen and I sang mating, instead of Maying. Delighting in our naughty change of words.
I have been
listening to the amorous frogs, watching the male mallards vie for a female duck’s attention. Love is in the air and
Helen and I were right on. It is the month of mating.
May 1, 2015
6:54 am cdt | link
was plentiful, fat and pink, and I had eggs in the refrigerator. I also had a cup of cream, left over from another baking
endeavor, waiting to be put to use. So with time on my hands in late afternoon, I made a pie. Rhubarb custard pie. Flavored
with nutmeg and sweetened with a few strawberries, also left over, it was delicious.
When newly married I made my first
rhubarb custard pie. We had two couples for dinner and the pie was what I served for dessert. I remember very clearly one
of the guests, the husband of a woman I played bridge with, raving about the pie. The best pie he had ever tasted he told
me. I basked in his compliment. But as I got to know this man over time I came to like him less and less. He was arrogant,
hard driving and career wise, no one stood in his way. My friend divorced him after a couple of years and I saw him rarely
after that. But I remember his praise of my rhubarb custard pie and choose not to think he was lying.
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