I Duel Five-Year Olds Before Breakfast

   I wake to the sound of excited voices and happy laughter.  I smile. It's pleasant to wake to the fact that faraway cousins have gotten up at an unearthly hour for a Saturday, drove a long time, and are at this moment downstairs eating pancakes. 
   After getting ready to face the day, I meander downstairs to greet them, and to claim my share of the coffee before it's slurked down by everyone else. (Only one person out of the thirteen of our combined families doesn't like coffee. This means one has to be Prompt.)   At the foot of the staircase I say hello to the littlest one, a brown-eyed boy of five. 
  "Hey," he says back, in his high, little-kid voice.  He is holding a sword my brother whittled out of wood.  I watch him swing it around. "Shing!" he cries, drawing it from an imaginary scabbard.  He draws another one. "Shiiiiing!"   
  "Those are pretty cool," I grin at him. 
  "Here," he says, and hands me one.   He put one hand up in the air, "En garde!"  
  I raise my sword, and he whacks away, simultaneously supplying the sound effects of clashing metal. Meanwhile, I'm not keeping the properly straight face that befits a serious sword fighter.
  I go offensive, and force him backward away from his mom. (So that he doesn't accidentally hit her.) He breaks away and runs through the living room in fine style. I run the other way and cut him off. 
  "Hah!" I cry, "Gotcha!"  
  "Huh-uh!" he grunts, eyes twinkling defiantly. 
  We fight all around the living room, even a little on the stairs. Eventually I am getting the worst of it *ahem*, so we stop and I finally get my coffee. I stand in the kitchen, chatting with my aunt and my mom. Suddenly he pops through the door, brandishing his weapon.  
  I put my hands in the air (yes, very carefully, so as not to spill the coffee) and say in mock terror, "Oh no! It's a stick-up!"  
  We resume our clashing. 
  Because really, how many chances does one get in a lifetime to have an indoor duel before breakfast?

Dishwashing Duty

 The things one does to pass the time while washing dishes can be at times amusing or absurd. Although most often, it happens to be both.
  For instance, my youngest (12) brother and I had this conversation while washing up after supper.  All I can say is: he started it.

N: Tiddely-pom.

D: (Is thinking about something or another, and doesn't pay any attention)

N: Are we soon DONE?  Tiddely-pom. 
    'Cus this is BOOOOORING.  Tiddely-pom.

D: (Still ignoring him)

N: (says several more inane things, always ending, of course in Tiddely-pom, throwing a couple extra "Tiddely-poms" in, whenever he feels so led, for good measure)

N: When are we DONE?  Tiddely-pom. 

D: (awakens to the fact that her brother is quoting A.A. Milne)  I don't KNOW. Tiddely-pom.

N: Well I wish you DIIID. Tiddely-pom.

D: Pretty SOON. Tiddely-pom.

N: I'm just doing this to make it more INTERESTING: Tiddely-pom.
     'Cus frankly, this is BORING, Tiddely-pom.
     And so far it's been SUCCESSFUL, Tiddely-pom.

D: (Is trying not to grin)  Oh, REALLY?  Tiddely-pom.

N: Tiddely-pom. 

D: Tiddely-pom.

(They both proceed to try to sing a harmonic duet of tiddely-poms, which proved to be unsuccessful.)


Worlds Shaken


  I am happy. I have stopped in at the office for my check, and now I am going to the bank. I will be heading home after that, and ahead of me lies the weekend with promises of family time and christmas cheer. I turn on the radio, to my favorite classical station. Immediately, I know something is wrong. 
 The news guy is on, his voice sounding tight and worried for a smooth-talking news guy. The story is slow in coming, even with updates like, every minute, it seems. There's been a school shooting. Oh NO, I think, not AGAIN...  
  Crazy numbers swirl around. Eighteen, twenty people killed.  Horrors, I think.  Then I hear it, the fact that most of the victims (such an impersonal word) were kids. children. Six. Seven-year olds.  NO. nonononono. Nooooooooooo.   Tears fill my eyes and I blink furiously, willing the road to clear of the deluge it's momentarily engulfed in. I exit the highway, wondering why the flags aren't lowered at the township building. I turn off the president's voice, I can not listen any longer. No. 
  I want to tell everyone, ask the tellers at the bank, have you heard?  there's been kids killed today.   I go home and turn on my mp3, and listen to every dirge and requiem and song of lament that I can find, and I sing them to heaven.  Later, I read their names, and think of their families. I am sad.
  At the supper table I look at my complete family around the table, and I am so grateful for this moment. Right now, with them. Right here, I am happy. 
  But still, somewhere, I am sad.


Contagious, Cont.

  I was in the library the other day, (again, I know) selecting books for my two younger brother's schoolwork.  Hence, I was in the kid's wing, therefore: I talked to Miss Nancy again. And guess what?  She sent me her poem!  I thought I'd share it, since it nearly drives me wild with curiosity when I'm reading a book and the characters are discussing a book or poem they read, AND THEY NEVER SAY WHAT IT WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
  Come on people, I understand that it's a convenient writer trick, but I would like to be in on the joke too...  so I won't put you all through the same mental torture.
  The poem is untitled.

The python rests
upon himself
completely self-contained
Bejeweled in colored scales
Brilliant green
Golden yellow
Earthy brown
Opening himself wide
Only for what
Sustains him
He makes us shudder
His eyes so cold, uncaring
Beautiful predator
Completely self-contained.

-Nancy Antram

  After promising to email me the poem, she told me what a strange coincidence it was that I'd checked out 'The Importance of Being Earnest',  because she'd just been reminiscing with an old theater friend about the time (times?) they'd performed it. She confided that she'd played the character 'Gwendolyn', and said how much fun it'd been.  Wish I could've seen it...



Enthusiasm is contagious,

did you know that?   

  I was giggling quietly to myself as I left the library this morning, and continued to giggle through most of downtown. I love my local library, where most of the librarians know me, and sometimes comment on the books I get ("Oh, you're reading Oscar Wilde's works.." the older gentleman librarian said, in that peculiar soft voice of his, the already long laugh lines at the corners of his eyes lengthening even further into an approving smile.  I wasn't really, I mean it was the first Wilde book I've listened to. You should too. 'The Importance of Being Earnest' is incredibly humorous, and now my sister and I quote it back and forth. 
  "My dear Algy, you talk exactly as if you were a dentist. It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist if one isn't a dentist. It produces a false impression.")  and sometimes recommend books too me, or point out new arrivals, and tell me to tell my mother hi, from Marilyn. 
 The reason I was amused?  Picture this if you will:

 I wander into the library, say hello to the downstairs librarian and grab 'The Essential Calvin and Hobbes' for my brothers (and me, when I have time) from the Graphic Novels. I run upstairs, choose two 'Nate, the Great' books, make some impulse picks, find something for me to listen to, and proceed to the checkout or whatever you like to call the librarian's desk.  (I can't think right now.)  
  Miss Nancy, the black-haired children's librarian, is busy at the moment, gossiping quietly with Marilyn, a downstairs librarian who has white hair and looks like she would play the piano quite well and artistically.  She comes over to me, still talking with Marilyn, who is apparently leaving.
  I think to myself that I've never seen Miss Nancy look so happy, and it soon becomes apparent to me as to why she looks so radiant. 
  She is scanning my card when, kind of out of the wild blue, she says, "I wrote a poem today! It just... CAME!" 
  Both Marilyn and I laugh, and Marilyn looks at me to say:  "She's good at that. You should hear her limericks." 
  "No, really!" bubbles Miss Nancy, "It only took me, like, three minutes! I saw that picture of the python and there it was!"   
  We talk a little about poetry writing, how it's hard to rhyme, how she mostly writes free verse, how she can't make it happen, it only happens when the inspiration comes, etc. 
   "Here! I'll just read it to you."  She smiles and rushes over to her computer, grabs a piece of paper off the top of the Stacks on her desk, and clears her throat.  
  She begins, slightly self-conscious, and Marilyn and I listen, smiling absently at the ceiling as we do so.  
  The poem is about a python, self-contained, a predator, jeweled scales the colors of earth, and it's cold eyes.  I hate snakes, but the poem is enough to make me see (for a little) the menacing beauty of  monster like a python.  She ends, looking up with a happy little laugh, and Marilyn and I laugh back and talk all at once, to tell her our reactions. 
   "Ooooo," I say, "It's like, step away from the poem, there's a snake in there!!!" 
   They laugh at me, and Miss Nancy thinks it would be a good title for the poem and shows us the bookcover on which the bejeweled python stares out at us with cold, predatory eyes, just like she said.      
  "Wow, what a morning..." I think to myself, as I trot down the steps with my armload of books and dodge between the brick pillars towards my vehicle.
  "A poet and a python."   
  Then I felt an urge to write it all down, so I have, on here.  I tell you, enthusiasm is contagious!  Go tell someone what you're excited about. It will inspire them.


...In Honor of All My Friends Who Are Not Here With Me To Try Out My New Teacups

  I found these Artsy (rainey, seee???)  teacups at the thriftstore on Saturday.  I couldn't just leave them there, so they came home with me, and now I am using them with Great Satisfaction.  Wish you were here...

 "You can never get a cup of tea large enough, or a book long enough, to suit me."  -C.S. Lewis

Smart man.


Relaxed Monday Evening

My youngest brother is lying on the sofa across the room from me, reading a Redwall book, and giggling periodically. Which makes me smile. I like laugh-out-loud books.


It needs some milk, maybe? or sugar.......

I'm editing photos, (rainey!!!!!)  burning a candle, and listening to Tenth Avenue North. 
  I'm also drinking chamomile tea and sympathizing with poor Peter Rabbit.  I'd much rather have blackberries and cream.  The tea's ok, but only just so.   "One tablespoonful to be taken at bedtime", as it were.


10 Things Irreplaceable (About Summer)

    It's already fall.  (bliss)
    But even though I love fall, there are a few redeeming features of summer that I will miss.

So here's a list of them.

  1. Fireflies.  The first one I see usually sends me nearly crazy with happiness.
  2. Shade.  To balance out a downside of summer, the heat.
  3. Heat. Even though yes, it's a downside, it does mean you can go barefoot. (Which is definitely redeeming.)
  4. Canoeing. It's more comfy if the water's warm.
  5. Pasta salad.  Nuff said.
  6. Picnics.  I go on winter ones too, but I can get more people to go with me if it's summertime. Dunno why.
  7. MUSIC CAMP!!!!
  8. The ready abundance of flowers.
  9. Happier people.  I think it's the sun.
  10. Iced Coffee.  (It's cold.)
I'm thankful for summer, the seasons, the sway and dance of them.  (Wasn't it creative of God?)  

Yes, I like summer.
 But here's to Fall!!!!!!!!!!


Why Poetry Shows Up on My Blog Oftener Than I Thought It Would

  Well, actually, I don't know why it does.  Except that capturing moments does seem to be an intrinsic way of poetry.  
   Except for Monday night. Monday night, it really didn't tye into the moment at all. Also, I have to usually try to remember a poem that would fit suitably for whatever occasion I'm trying to fit to poetry, (or go look it up on google. handy invention, the internet. makes me lazy.).  This time it came of it's own volition, and I have no idea why.  I was sleeping, poetry was probably the last thing on my mind.  
  'K. So.  Monday night I could.not.sleep.well.    Toss turn, too hot too cold, the beds too short the blanket's twisted (and in between drift in and out of sleep).  I must've fallen asleep finally, 'cus I remember waking up enough to know I was awake and that I would be asleep again soon, and then "out of the black night" as it were, this poem.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

"That's weird," I thought. And then, "This is going to be funny tomorrow."  And then I went back to sleep.   I was right. It was funny Tuesday morning, when I remembered. I had to laugh.  Such a random thing to think at three o'clock of a morning. 
 I don't think I remembered the whole thing, because all I remember is so much depending on the red wheelbarrow.
  But still. 

 I think it I must be subconsciously wanting a wheelbarrow. Or needing one.  Maybe chickens? 

p.s. the poem's by William Carlos Williams, if anyone is wondering.


*Insert Delighted Chuckle*

  Only I don't know if I chuckle? or if I laugh.   Anyway, I'm delighted at the moment. It's a grey day!!!
 I thoroughly enjoy rainy days. That is, if there's not too many of them consecutively.  But we haven't had one for a little and it's dry around here and time for rain and classical music and coffee.  The last rainy day (with coffee) that I remember, was at a friend's house and we listened to 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and laughed a great deal. 

(This is not her house. Is it QJ? :)  But it seemed to fit with the coffee and classical music.)
 (The perfect music for a rainy day.)


A Tour of My Handbag

  Rainey, this post is for you.  To prove that I do, sometimes, have a neat (well, ok, that's open to interpretation) handbag.  
  Ok. So.  Saturday afternoon I decided to clean Everything out of my handbag because the handbag itself was in need of a good scrubbing, and therefore the following photo.  Yup, Everything.*

 I also decided to catalogue the detritus. Be warned; it's boring and gruesome. Also tedious. You may want to leave and find a different blog to peruse. 

 Here goes.  
Alright folks, moving from left to right, and starting from the handbag's strap which is poking into the left-hand side of the frame.  Directly beneath it, you will notice two small round objects.
  The first being a button which popped off the cuff of a very pretty white jacket, and which I stuck into an inward pocket for safe-keeping until I finally get around to mending. Please note the thread still attached and the very pretty rhinestone.  Thank you.  
  The next 'small round object' is of a peculiar orangey-brown hue with veins of dark brown, and was picked up by yours truly on the bank of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. It is a rock. ('Pebble' would possibly be a more accurate word.) It is very smooth and I carried it around for a while just to feel it. It's a very nice rock.  I'm not sure what Sort of rock it is. (Besides being smooth and nice.)
  To the right of the button and pebble are my keys and two packs of gum. Spearmint and Polar Ice, in fact.  I won't get to chew all of it, as my siblings always occasionally raid my purse for gum.
  Above the keys there is a stack of assorted papers which are as follows:
  • a scrap containing computer screen info, in my brother's handwriting, because my daddy's monitor quit and we two were researching what Walmart had in stock. Well, he was, and I provided the paper and pen.
  • Bible verses I was memorizing.Luke 10:25-37
  • my daily planner. Which I don't use on a daily basis.
  • my "To Read" booklist, which I keep on hand in case I happen to be going through a library.  I think there's about 70 books on it.  
  • quote from a poem entitled "Shipwrecked", which I didn't really like as a whole, just this phrase. "Here lie the bones of twenty trees,"
  •  a plastic sandwich bag containing more bible verses, poem or two, and my personal pics.
  • two different lists of stuff that I either needed to accomplish, or purchase, before I left for a girl's seminar weekend.
And there you have the first photo explained. The black cord belongs in the next section.

   Proceeding from left to right, as usual.  The aforementioned gum, and papers.
  Next is a plastic sandwich bag of tealights and matches. I keep them for emergencies. Such as a picnic with no candles. (You know what I mean. Atmosphere-less picnincs? How dreadful.)  It has come to my attention however, that the matchbox's strike area has become wax-covered, so I may have to rethink the matches bit. A lighter, perhaps?
  Hm. To the right of the candles is a small mountain of used tissues and empty gum wrappers. I think I need a trashcan in my handbag.
  Below that is an empty plastic sandwich bag which usually contains my tech accessories. They are tangled en masse to the left of the bag.  It appears that the black cord from the previous frame would be my mp3 charger but I'm not certain about that, since there is also my cellphone charger and earbuds in that maze somewhere.
  In the bottom righthand corner of the photo, you will see my sunglasses, chapstick, and two handy dandy little notebooks. I use them for:
  • a journal
  • a collection of observations
  • thoughts
  • opinions
  • leaves
  • and sometimes they even come in useful for holding the attention of small children. 
  • (Drawing material.)
  Last but not least, a small bottle of hand lotion. Japanese Cherry Blossom.  Oooo, I like. :)
 Moving on.   Recognize those books? 
  The yellow bottle is sunscreen. I'm fair-skinned and sensitive to the sun's radiance. However, I detest sunscreen. That means the yellow bottle is still full.
  The blue bottle is bubbles.  Great fun. :) 
  The small brown bottle is hand sanitizer. Brown Sugar and Vanilla-scented.  Usually I forget I have it.
  The white bottle is tylenol. For the amount I use I really wouldn't have to carry it around in my purse, but if you don't have it and you Need it, then it's not good. See?
  The purple cylindrical shape is a moody flashlight.
  The green cylindrical shape is a pen. Thank goodness it's not moody. 

If you don't know what a penny is...

   The hot pink piece of paper must've escaped the sandwich bag. It's the holiday hours of our public library from last Christmas, and it's holding a pin captive, otherwise I would've thrown it away by now.
   And last BUT NOT LEAST!  a mint tea bag.  For whenever.   There used to be an English Breakfast tea bag in there (for at least a month), but I just drank it on a certain stormy Thursday. (happiness)

  Oh, and those are my keys. Guess which one is my favorite?

Aaaaaand there you have it. Of course, the contents vary from time to time, but these are the general essentials.  I don't have a pic of the cleaned-out, neatly arranged, finished product, but that's because it doesn't exist yet. The handbag is waiting to be washed. Still.

*well, not quite everything. I realized later that my wallet (the size of those handy dandy little notebooks) wasn't in the pile and a black plastic comb, and a long scissors, and the only reason there wasn't a pinecone too, was that I was wearing a sweatshirt with big pockets at the time.


"Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock, and the Golden Rule!"

  That's what my brother said at breakfast this morning.  It made me laugh.  (Which is a good thing, because although I'm not usually exactly "grouchy" in the morning I'm not really a morning person.)
  I don't know what context he said it in, but he was quoting from the classic musical 'The Music Man'.   It's one of my favorite lines from the movie.   I'm not sure exactly WHY it tickles my funny bone. Maybe it's the way the actor sings it, while hanging off a very serious looking statue???

*edited to say that this incident is now ancient history. I'm not even sure when it happened. The paragraph's been sitting around as a draft and I'm finally publishing it. :)  Because it makes me smile every time I see it.


Discovering A Poet

I'd never read very many poems by Carl Sandburg before last Saturday. Oh, the usual ones of course. The one about cat-footed fog and the one about the plough-boy against the sunset. But not very many more.
 But last Saturday, I was at a homeschooler convention and bought some books from a used-book stand. Of the six books I purchased, one was titled "Wind Song".  It's a compilation of Sandburg poems, and I stuck it in my rather large handbag to read later, after I became tired of exploring curriculums and walking through booths. That time soon came, and I sat down in the high-ceilinged, many-beamed cafeteria to rest my aching feet. It was sunny and warm and on the 29th page is a poem that very nearly put me to sleep.  I've nearly memorized it since then, it is so soothing.


Into any little room
may come a tall steel bridge
and a long white fog,
changing lights and mist,
moving as if a great sea
and many mighty waters
had come into that room
easy with bundles of sleep,
bundles of sea-moss sheen,
shapes of sunset cunning,
shifts of moonrise gold--
    slow talk of low fog
    on your forehead,
    hands of cool fog
    on your eyes--
so let a sleep song be spoken--
let spoken fog sheets come
out of a long white harbor--
let a slow mist deliver
long bundles of sleep.
              -Carl Sandburg

Which is what I need now. Goodnight all. May you dream of tall steel bridges, changing lights and mist. 


Hurrah! for...

April Rain

It isn't raining rain to me,
   It's raining daffodils;
In every dimpled drop I see
   Wild flowers on the hills.
The clouds of gray engulf the day,
    And overwhelm the town;
It isn't raining rain to me,
    It's raining roses down.

It isn't raining rain to me,
   But fields of clover bloom,
Where any buccaneering bee,
  May find a bed and room.
A health unto the happy,
  A fig for him who frets--
It isn't raining rain to me,
   It's raining violets.
-Robert Loveman




Black-and-white photos have a special place in my heart, as do old automobiles.  So it goes without saying that I really like this picture. Hm, guess I just said it. Oh well. I'll say it again.  I like black and white cars!!!!  Oh yeah. 
 I took the photo during a parade this past fall.  There weren't many old cars, at least, not in comparison to old tractors, which are also cool, but I haven't had the experience with tractors that I've had with cars.  There were lots of tractors. Miles.  And I don't think I'm exaggerating.  
It was a freezing, blustery day.  Also muddy. 
It's worth braving the elements though, to hang out with cousins, and watch machinery chug past.  


The Second Saturday of February, 2012

  On that Momentous Day, it snowed.  *happy dance*  Of course, we were going to go on a winter picnic anyway, but snow makes it more "wintry", you know?     We got bundled up, stashed our food & candles & etc. into backpacks, shared out the hotdog forks/marshmallow sticks/meat roasters (sorry, private joke) among ourselves, and after picking up some friends, set off bravely into the wild.  Somehow, we must have gotten into Narnia, I'm pretty nearly positive.  We have pictures to prove it. See for yourself.

Ha. What'd I tell you?!

Hanging out on Beaversbridge... (and it was slippery!)

Cheering our hearts with hot cocoa, and the thought that Aslan is on the move.

The two Beavers setting out the tasties.

We all enjoyed ourselves hugely and it was unanimously voted to turn the Second Saturday of February into a Tradition, but I'm not sure if we'll be able to find the door again. 


of Books...

I finished The Pickwick Papers!!!  Finally!    It's quite a thick book.  I liked it, but I think next time I pick it up, I'll only read my favorite parts.  Most of which include Samivel and his father.  They're just too funny to skip over. 

Currently, I'm listening to The Hobbit on cassette.  The reader (I can't remember his name) (ha, isn't google handy? his name is Rob Inglis.), *ahem*  Rob Inglis does a magnificent job of giving the individual characters unique voices. Right now, the hobbit is wanting to go home after their quest is over.  Thing is, there are lots of loose ends that need to be tied up so it's taking awhile. I can't wait to get to the silverware part when he finally does get home.

Other books I've read lately have been Rose in Bloom (by Louisa May Alcott) and The Gammage Cup (by Carol Kendall) and Best Friends for Frances (by Russell Hoban). They are all such completely different books that they should probably not be written all in the same sentence.   
 Hmm. I think I've had more time to read lately than I thought.  That's a good thing to discover. :)


This is your random photo of the day. 
it was taken on a winter picnic three years ago.
it couldn't have been taken this year because we still have no snow.
(sad case.)


the storypeople

Once upon a time, long ago, I discovered in my wanderings on the 'net a website called the storypeople .  The quotes, or stories, are so much fun to read and imagine what the rest of the story was. Here's one of my favorites.

Favorite Things

My favorite thing is the wind, she said, & my second favorite is chocolate but I just do that so I don't get too skinny & blow away