Wednesday, December 7, 2016


We are all of us broken shards,
blades of glass,
Each one searching
that companion shard
to slip gingerly into,
Your cutting edges and mine
puzzle-fitting so that barely
a crack is visible.
We will not pierce,
puncture, or pain,
my hurting points into you,
yours into me.
I caress your razor edges, dear.
You embrace mine.

Dec. 7, 2016
Copyright by the author

Some couples who love each other with all the cutting edges,
and some who are just beginning to learn:
Adam and MK
Bill and JoAnn

Anne and Max

Marshall and DeVona

Tom and Alynn

Philip and Kara

Peter and Shani

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What Happens When You Clean Out Your Underwear Drawer ...

I haven't done much today. I got Julia out the door to her last day of class/finals this semester. She is quite sleep-deprived. I did my morning chicken-check. I read a long article on facebook by an oppressed Canadian. Then, I decided to clean out my underwear drawer because I could no longer close it. The drawer was placed on the bed and emptied of its contents.

Beneath the lingerie (I use that term loosely), I found a thick layer of letters and cards. Under the undies is one place I tend to store letters I can't bear to throw away. Most were letters from my mother, an old-fashioned lady who prefers hand-written correspondence via the USPS in spidery script.
My mother is a prolific letter-writer. I could not reread them all. You can see we lived in Iowa and in Alabama. Most of the mail spanned 1999-2002. One paragraph pertaining to six-month old Julia was especially dear:
Adam calls my mother's handwriting "chicken-scratch," and can't decipher it. I, however, love reading our secret code :) Can you read it?
Speaking of Adam, I found a Valentine Day card I sent him one year.

I signed it, "I'm happy to be your cavegirl."
I also kept a few slips of paper from the children. For some reason, they persist in believing that I, their mother, am also the Tooth Fairy. I've instructed them for many years in the lore of the True Tooth Fairy, who lives in a large white castle made of children's teeth, far in the north. They often wrote to her, and if she didn't take their letters with her then I kept them for posterity.
Ah, darling Julia.
Peter was much more straight-forward. On the outside:
 And inside, a curt request:
I also kept a sketch Julia did when she was very young. The date is Dec., 2002, so she was not quite 3-and-1/2 years old.
In my opinion, she was already showing skill for form and movement. She's always loved birds. She's still doing art. For a final project in her British Literature course at the local community college, she did a 4-panel art piece based on their study of the movie Interstellar. Here's her finished product:
The colors are more vivid in person, and please pardon the carpeting beneath it. She laid it out on the floor. Here are the individual panels:
 The metallic orange was added last night and really makes the image "pop." She also edged all four canvases in that same paint.

Julia has two bad habits as an artist. First she does not sign her work. Thankfully, this time she did. Second she undervalues her work and will give it away to any stranger at the college who asks for it. It's rather frustrating to watch her stay up night after night, working on something utterly cool and fascinating, and hear her say she gave it to a weird guy in the student center wearing elf ears and leg warmers. ((sigh)) I'm glad to say I convinced her to give this piece to her English teacher after submitting it as the assignment. Hopefully he'll take good care of it, or give it back to her if he no longer wants it. I do have quite a bit of her work, but it's all from 4 or 5 years ago, and none of it this large. Now she focuses on sci-fi work (as the above) or on bizarre things like a girl cyclops wearing a ballet outfit. What never changes, however, is her talent and her dedication to her art. I can't wait to see where it will take her.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Coming

Morning shadows on the farm ~
We are in full decorating mode. This year I set the Christmas village up on the front porch. Not quite finished yet.
I think I need Julia's help.
We bought a new artificial tree at WalMart. It's not huge (6.5 feet), but we have quite a small house.
Our previous tree (4 feet) went on the front porch with the kids' decorations.
You know how it is -- the decorated parts of the house look lovely, but the REST of the house looks like this:
Adam is doing his live garlands for the front of the house again. He snipped cedar branches:

And he assembled them with florist wire on the porch. I must say, we've used that porch a lot since he enclosed it!
He's been leaf-gathering again. 'Tis the season of mulch-making! He even drives the truck to other people's houses, with the lawn mower, and mows and bags their leaves, and hauls them back to the farm for his compost pile. He's committed!
He's also working on our floor in the dining room. It had some "soft spots" -- dry rot. He painted on some wood sealer/hardener of some sort, and then filled the spaces with a wood filler. The areas are now quite hard and solid to walk on. He also sanded this high-traffic area. Next we will pick out a stained polyurethane. The whitish parts won't show then.
We took time out for a little date last night at Aggie's for our usual cheeseburgers and fries after I got off work. Adam is writing his Christmas cards. I used to send out Christmas letters years ago, but then we all got email, so I stopped :)
One day this week I let the chickens into the orchard to forage. It was a bit tricky getting them back into their enclosed yard/coop.
Here is Punkin, and Punkin's back. She has a bare spot with no feathers. It looks rather bad, but it is not raw or bleeding. She is Bernie's favorite, so he pulls her feathers out like this. It doesn't seem to do her any harm, but it does worry me a bit. I know if she's ever bleeding, the other hens will peck her quite badly, so I keep an eye on it.
There is absolutely nothing green growing in their yard (thus the foray into the orchard), so I usually throw them a handful of something over their fence. I feel so sorry for them, with nothing green to eat! I've discovered they love sorrel but dislike collards and turn their beaks up at lettuce.
And now for something darling. This is a little boy from my work place. He made a paper airplane. Look at the words.
Can you figure out what he's written? Pretty clever! He's only in 1st grade.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Few Pretty Things

 A rose from a friend's garden last Saturday. Yes, we have roses in November, and even December.
I took a series of shots of these two boats on the river as they approached each other, as they met/overlapped, and afterward.
 This may not be very pretty in the technical sense, but it is lovely to me! This is the old-fashioned food mill I bought at the thrift store for $5. I made applesauce at work with the children, and oh my!! It worked like a charm! So much easier than my other hand-crank food mill, plus this one is much easier to clean, and gentler on aging hands. I used 6 lbs. of apples this day, half Granny Smith and half some other small red, hard apple.
 I loved watching the applesauce come gloop-glooping down the cone.
 I'm weaving again. Julia told me I need to do bright scarves, not these dull, muted autumn colors I love. Haha! So here's one:
 I'm doing a very loose weave so that the warp yarns can stand out and be seen.
Here they are, below:
 This is a fun, fast scarf.
 Speaking of colorful, yesterday at work, I had the children make these easy wreaths -- "thankful hands" or something like that :) I traced the hands and copied them onto colored construction paper.
 They cut the hands out, and then we glued them together as wreaths. Some of the kids wrote names of people they're thankful for, on the hands.
 This morning Adam and I went to the church to prepare the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. I set up the long table (for 20 people) while Adam fiddled with turkey and ham in the kitchen.
It is very truly fall now. Cool outside. A skim of ice was on the chickens' water this morning in their yard. I've graduated from listening to Handel's Messiah to Bing Crosby. Soon I'll snuggle into the sofa for an evening of White Christmas and wish very much that Anna were here. ((heavy sigh))
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

'Tis the Season!

This is my mother-in-law's home in Holdrege, Nebraska. Isn't it picture-perfect? She always does such a lovely job of decorating for Christmas!
We don't have any snow here, of course. We are pressing on toward Thanksgiving. Sunday evening, the Oriental community gathered at the Catholic Church (because they have the biggest sanctuary) for the Thanksgiving Service as we do each year. They also decorate well!
 Adam was one of six pastors seated up front. Each man played a part in the service.This year Adam read the liturgy.
 Today (Tuesday) is my last day of work this week. Wednesday I'll bake a pumpkin pie. Thursday morning I'll make my mother's out-of-this-world sweet potato casserole, plus a green bean casserole. Adam will spend the morning at the church preparing turkey, ham, gravy, and dinner rolls for the feast ... and at 2:00 about 18 of us will gather in the fellowship hall for a large, wonderful Thanksgiving meal. It's a great event each year, and I'm looking forward to it again!
Our church ended up packing 37 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this year. That's more than last year, but not back up to our all-time high :) That's just one more part of our season of thanks, of giving, of celebration, and of worship.