If eyes were made for seeing

On Being Asked Whence Is the Flower

~May 1834


 

It isn’t May, and these aren’t rhodies, but they are beautiful. I had to share. Enjoy!

The rest of the poem is at the end.

first lily

morning poppy

blooming rosemary

bachelor buttons

queen anne at dusk
Some call Queen Anne lace a weed; I think they are beautiful.
queen anne
The blossoms can grow the length of a hand. Those are BIG weeds (according to the husband).
queen anne purple center
Ever notice the centers? Tiny purple blossoms. 🙂
high above the cabbage
Oh, fine! It’s a weed. But, look at that moon and the colors of the sky! I had to include this one.
seeds grown from the green house
Grown from seed in my tiny greenhouse.
poppy in bloom
In full bloom.

volunteers in the garden

 

daisies from last year
Volunteers from last year take up a full bed.
IMG_20170709_123114206
This year’s hanging baskets brighten both porches.

This is where we sit each night, to regroup, share a meal, and always a few laughs. This is my haven, my preferred place in all the world. Right here. Outside. Breathing in the fresh air (when the farmer next door hasn’t just spread manure).

new deck and remodel of garden
Our newly, about 98% finished deck, surrounded by all of the above flowers.
garden remodel
Current project: to redo the back yard, in progress. I am supervisory personnel. 

Sometimes, when tractors have stilled and farmers have quit the day, we hear a different kind of music:

I hope you are lucky as well in that you have beauty in your life, each and every day.


The Rhodora

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you

Star Bright

STARS

by Sybil Leonard Armes

I saw a canopy of stars,

Splashed on a velvet sky,

Like crystal beads upon a dress,

In sparkling clusters lie.

I read this secret in the night,

Upon the moon’s pale face,

God uses stars as diamond pins,

To hold the sky in place.


Today marks the one year anniversary that our friends’ son took his life. While I hope to never experience the pain our friends have endured this past year, unbearably difficult is that our young friend passed away on his mother’s birthday.


grandmas-book_sept-2016-2
This book belonged to my grandma Margaret Adelaide Patterson Appell Mazzoncini

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❤ May you forever shine. ❤

Sass and Vinegar

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”     

~Mark Twain

Creative Writing Siphoning. I’ve given this a lot of thought lately, tried to find a creative outlet for my stories–because that thing that’s buried deep inside, the collection of thoughts and experiences, life itself and that which makes me me–is no longer simmering. I feel a low, rolling boil. I want to spill. Do you know what I mean?

It occurred to me recently that I’ve been writing all my life. I am the highly proficient nocturnal collector of words and phrases (and tell myself with one eye open that in the morning I’ll remember the astonishingly perceptive phrase I’d just come up with describing the significance of humankind. Uh, huh). Scribbles and squiggles appear all over my house, on scraps of paper, in journals. Check out my Drafts tab:

photo of my drafts_May 2016

When thinking about my interest in writing and how it began, this is who came to mind.

Hazel_May 2016Look at her! The lady knew bling before bling became bling. From head to toe she oozed class. I used to watch her meticulously apply black mascara and blue eye shadow, something my grandmother never touched. She wasn’t finished until the foundation, rouge, and lipstick had been applied. The perfume, the outfit; there was always a hat.

She stood 4′ 10″ and weighed 110 pounds. Born with one leg shorter than the other, it is believed the family created a story that, as a baby, she was “dropped” causing injury to her hip. Given the stigma, lack of information, and fear about genetic deformities, she chose to forego having children. More likely, I later learned, she was born with a dislocated hip in a time when surgical corrections were rare. The result: her entire life, she walked with a significant limp.

There was little she couldn’t do. Little she didn’t do. Hazel de Helen Butterfield Kasae was my father’s aunt, and long after I towered over her, in my eyes, she was gargantuan. Had she lived, she would now be 114.

When necessary, she could be hell on wheels (but usually wasn’t). I loved her with all my heart, probably because she was full of sass and vinegar.


Wordplay. I knew where it came from, but I had forgotten how pervasive it had been in the scads of letters we exchanged. This was also true of my grandma, Hazel’s older sister. My father had a master’s in Zing, that uncanny ability to nail someone verbally before they knew they’d been “hit.” They were witty and sarcasm was an art. They loved words and they knew how to use them.

About 15 minutes after I asked grandma to sign my autograph book, this is what I received. Her biggest wish was that we’d lived closer. I later ripped out the page (thankfully, because I no longer have the book). I was nine.

First Prize poem_grandma Lalla_May 2016Grandma loved poetry, but it was Hazel who played. She would start on one page of a folded piece of stationary and move to the next without telling the recipient which page to read next. She kept us guessing. Her letters were so much fun to read it hardly mattered what she wrote. I loved her showy, floral script:

hazel and grandma letters_May 2016 (7)

hazel and grandma letters_May 2016 (1)Their personalities came through in their styles. Hazel’s flash and flare taught me to play with words, that the visual and how words appear on paper, makes a statement. Sometimes it was just a word, a name. Hazel called my father Slim. He wasn’t.

hazel and dad_May 2016Grandma’s artistry, her ability to put her heart into words and phrases, impacted me more than I realized. Grandma taught me how she put her heart into writing.

hazel and grandma letters_May 2016 (4)I received long, fun-filled letters from dad while I was in college. His style mirrored that of his predecessors. If you weren’t with someone, your words had to count. They were meant to sting or zing, cause a reaction, evoke laughter.

He would tell me about a weekend at the beach with mom, how they took long walks in the sand. Then he’d write, “I walked your mother’s ass off.” 


Grandma and Auntie Hazel left a legacy filled with sass, vinegar, love, and warmth. It’s all over the pages of their lives. Recent blood tests reveal high levels of sarcasm. It lives.


Whatever the story,

however expressed,

I rest in the knowledge

I learned from the best. 

hazeljune61_May 2016

A Horse of Another Color

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Maya Angelou

Think about that. Has there been a time in your life when something catastrophic happened forcing you to make a major life decision, and you found yourself in a new situation with new people, yet, you revealed nothing? On advice of others who were quick to say, “Just move on,” or “It’s an opportunity to start over,” or “Don’t let it get to you,” you bore it all, alone. Have you had a similar experience? Have you remained silent because you didn’t want to bother others or you didn’t think they’d want to HEAR it? 

Maya is right. Silence can be pure agony. Well. She doesn’t have to tell me twice.

Some of you may have seen the poem I posted yesterday. It is called I. Am. Go ahead. Give her a click; the poem’s not very long. OK, now that you’re back, can you tell to whom it may have been directed? Does it scream scorned lover? Brutal landlord? Overbearing parent? Give me your best guess: _______________________.

Blatantly letting it all hang out is extremely therapeutic for some, but I need to mosey. I need time and mystery. There needs to be some question as if something isn’t quite clear. You’ve heard the term ‘fuzzy thinking’? I need fuzzy writing. Then it occurred to me: What better forum to tell a story than poetry? I’ve been trying to suppress a giggle ever since.

I have expanded the blog once again by adding a new category: CREATIVE WRITING. Yesterday’s I. Am. was the first poem I’ve written in some time. After thinking about poetry in general, I realized I’ve been dabbling for years, that I’ve been hoarding. I believe I wrote the following when I was about 12.

“Love is nature’s way, so beautiful and free,

like flowers, trees, and mountains, like you and me.”

~karenlee

My first thought is “Oh, brother,” and I’m a little embarrassed, but it shows I was thinking about rhyming and how words fit together from a very young age. That is a horse of another color.

I dug up my Sanford Lyne book. Inspiring! He authored this book about using poetry as a creative outlet.

Sanford Lyne book_May 2016

This drew me in:

page from S Lyne book_May 2016Miss Maya is right; concealing pain is ugly. When we are ready, though, when we dare to reveal, I believe positive changes will occur.

I challenge you to join me in my personal challenge of working through life issues through creative writing. It doesn’t have to be through poetry. It can be any form of writing you choose.

Taken from my front porch hanging basket, maybe the following will inspire (because this is so pretty it hurts):

This-n-that, July 2011 187

I. Am.

I. Am.

you think i need you.

how dare i disagree.

your smugness permeates

the air when i speak.

such grand, faux hauteur!

you say i don’t matter;

you yearn to shut me up.

our eyes lock; my tenacity shatters

your self-imposed, superior vantage.

you squirm that i see beyond the facade

of your fragile, padded ego.

i meet your insolent glare and

you’re nervous because you know that i know.

you know how long i’ve known.

you think i need you.

you want to silence my soul?

you don’t have permission.

only me. because

i. am.

~karenlee

Giggle, Snicker, Snort…

Before I retired I found buckets of time for reading, one of my favorite pastimes. Since hanging up my scalers, there is insufficient time. For reading. And, I’m starved for it.

I have a hard time reading during the day. It’s a personality flaw (the only one, I’m sure). Days are supposed to be filled with cleaning the house, preparing meals, grocery shopping, laundry and so forth, right? (Giggle, snicker, snort.) Or, volunteering at the library, soup kitchen, or taking in every stray animal I find (we live in the country=dumping ground for pets=you do the math).

Then SHE showed up. Again. Inner Martha. She’s been hanging around since I retired and she pains me in my hind quarters. I feel her glare, the heavy dose of guilt when I think of reading. Dagnabbitz. Reading screams leisure time, even though I’VE EARNED IT. (The battle continues and it’s ugly. My right eye started twitching yesterday, bordered on a seizure, and I may have perspired, but I predict Karen will win).

Thinking creatively, I decided to make this a goal, to make time for reading. For my master’s I had to read, had to write, had to research. That was in addition to reading for pleasure, an escape from the pressure of academic success, doing well. My inner nerd was happy. Since retiring, other pressures have surfaced. Dagnabbitz.

So: I’ve created a new category, A BIT OF LIT, where I hope you will share with me some of your good reads. Here are a coupla my recent distractions.


I was drawn to this one having been to Brazil, twice. During his adventures blazing a trail across this enormous continent, through deserts and jungles, do you think he is bitten by a snake? Between the people he met, learning Portuguese, the “food,” the red tape of travel, and creatures he encountered, I could not put this one down.

current reads_May 2016 (5)I started reading author Joshilyn Jackson with her Back Seat Saints. I adored that one due to her writing style; she made me feel as though I’d jumped into an existing conversation. Love that. The story deals with domestic abuse, which I did not want to read, but, the ending was perfect (no spoiler here). I’ve just started this one (below), my third of her books. They’ve just taken down a tree in the yard, only to discover jaw bones. A baby’s jaw bone.

current reads_May 2016 (3)I found Walking the Amazon the same day I found this fabulous book about the bond between women and their grandmothers. Used bookstores at the beach are simply the best. This collection is filled with stories and poems about women and their grandmothers.

After I began blogging, an unexpected connection surfaced between my grandmother and me, even though she passed when I was 18; yet, I could not get enough of this book. Have you thought about the bond between you and your grandmother? What would you tell her if she were here today? Simply, this is rich. A gem.

current reads_May 2016 (1)I have never read Laura Moriarty, but my mother handed this to me last week, said she couldn’t put it down. It’s about mothers and daughters, relationships, what happens when tragedy strikes. It gives me a lot to think about. My mom is 87. I’ve been thinking about that, too. A lot. Any mother with a teenage daughter will relate to this story. Or, anyone who drives, or anyone who has parents.

current reads_May 2016 (4)You may remember that Ralph and I are tight.

Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, then Beauty is its own excuse for being…

Oh, my….can’t get enough of that. Here’s where you may have seen this before.

As a birthday gift this past week, my son and his wife gave me the following.

So. What the heck? Who says I have to read the whole time? Giggle, snicker, snort…

current reads_May 2016 (2)REQUEST: Please share with me some of your favorites, whether a current read or a past favorite. Shall we start a book club?