Friday, December 23, 2011

Carol collage.

I have been carrying this idea around while scurrying/baking/cleaning/packing over the last week, and now that we are where we plan to spend the holiday, I am going to finally put it down on paper, so to speak. I learned this in my favorite poetry professor's class; draw from words of established lyrics to create a new work. I will take the titles of a bunch of Christmas carols, stir, and create a poem.

Here goes.

Christmas Carollage

I heard, I saw,
its beginning.

The manger
upon a midnight clear,
a silent night,
o holy breath of heaven.

This child of love come down,
clear joy come to rest,
in the cold, bleak winter
a wonderland.

Little baby king,
wishing all merry,
a snow-white star on high
in Bethlehem.

Silver bells jingle
ding dong merrily.
Angels sing noel,
I'll be home, for Christmas. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Haiku a rama.

I find myself once again behind, so I will resort to some shorter "gems," if you will. :)

Christmas cookies sit
on my plate now twice a day.
SO worth one late night.

Wrapping presents was
a chore when I started, but
now it's a pleasure.

Giving something nice
to people I love so much
is worth some effort.

Christmas cards should not
be a dying tradition,
in my opinion.

I send out a lot
and am always sad to see
so few in return.

I would understand
if there were a modernized
replacement, but no.

I guess people feel
more connected day-to-day
with social networks.

But there is nothing
like seeing handwritten notes
from people I like.

Call me old-fashioned,
but I still greatly enjoy
good old sing-alongs.

This is the season
when I really get a pang,
missing my old choirs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I have learned.

After listening to boatloads of Christmas carols every year (several years ago I even did a pair of blog posts listing my most and least favorites), I have realized that it is very hard indeed to write a good, original Christmas carol these days. Most of the great stuff is already taken and it's very easy to rely on overused metaphors or clichés. I would love to write a Christmas song one day, but I fear I'd fall into the same traps that many of these modern songs do.

Case in point: the other day I taped the new Elf on the Shelf special for my son, as we have an elf and I thought he might enjoy it. Sadly, it seemed rather hastily slapped together, probably hoping to cash in on a new trend without spending too much time or effort on it. There was one song included in the piece that I particularly wrinkled my nose at: I believe the line is "Christmas is a time for forgiveness; that is why we all believe in Christmas." Um, what? And that line is most of the chorus. Wow. At least he doesn't seem to have liked that show. We'll keep playing Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph for him, then. They both have their issues (CB is constantly called stupid; Rudolph displays dated sexist treatment of women and a very hasty apology to Rudolph for their treatment of him at the end), but they are both about a million times better than the Elf on the Shelf.

Anyway, maybe I can write a Christmas poem or two in this month that someday I could play with as a lyric.

Christmastime has rolled around
and once again I'm spinning.
First I have to decorate,
but that's only the beginning.

Next I have to bake and shop,
and stress about the extra bills,
worry over perfect presents,
fine-tune all the stocking fills.

Not to mention clean the house,
cooking dinner is a chore,
take care of the children and
run around the grocery store.

But at night when kids are sleeping,
true peace creeps in at the seams,
and I startle to remember
what this season truly means.

While I cling to fading memories
of my precious baby boys,
my heart understands what Mary
sacrificed for Christmas joys.

Thank you, God, for giving us
this most precious gift;
your son lived and died
to bring us everlasting life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catch-up time.

More haiku will hopefully catch me up here.

Furious needles
started out haltingly but
now no yarn is safe!

A tango of knots
dance across my fingers as
yarn becomes a scarf.

First I was afraid
I would turn out one huge snarl
instead, this is fun.

Strangely calming click
of metal performing its
standard magic trick.

The best part of all?
Getting to relax with yarn
and meet some new friends.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Okay, so my grand plans to get ahead for the holiday backfired a bit when I didn't post yesterday. But hey, I feel like hopefully I was able to recoup some of my creative faculties during the interim. Let's hope.

Frost Warning

Stepping outside,
the wind takes the breath away.
Anyone attempting
to leave the house with wet hair
pays for it: it's now frozen.

A few seconds in this chill
is uncomfortable.
A few minutes,
faces feel as if they are so much
plaster, badly set, cracking
and about to fall off.

Extremities develop deep,
bone-pain, as if even that deep
within, bodies resist this weatherly assault.
Even after resigning to Cold's power
and retreating indoors,
bright-red fingers, ears, noses
continue their protests in numbness,
burning, and hypersensitivity.

How do trees manage
to withstand such unreasonable
weather, bearing all things
with the grace nature has?
Only a terrible storm can render
a tree vulnerable to weather.
Otherwise, it stands serene,
oblivious to the weaker humans
attempting to shelter under its
sleeping, snow-laden boughs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bonus poetry!

I have time to write today, and the way I see it, that's a good time to get ahead since the end of December always gets crazy busy, what with Christmas and the New Year.

100 Words For

ethereal wisps
softer than whispers

lethal daggers
honing in on their targets

ghostly projections
blink and miss them

invisible darts
digging pits in the flesh

feathers flying
from a celestial chicken

tears so chilled
they hold their shapes

first of the season
greeted with childlike glee

visits in April
met with disdain

when in shelter
any form pleases the eye

but when unprotected
pray nature is gentle

just before Christmas
a storm becomes magic

each moment it lasts
adds to the smiles

rushing out to breathe in the stark coldness,
then trudging back in for some cocoa to share.

Catching up.

I s'pose I should post two more poems since it's now after midnight and I posted four yesterday; that should catch me up to be on pace for my earlier goal of 31 poems in the month of December. Okie dokie then.

Two Autumns 

In carefree days dreamily recalled,
I leapt into deep piles
of autumn leaves, reveling
in the crumbling carcasses
of last summer as they tangled
in my braids, dusting up my sweater
and faded jeans.

Older but not wiser, my task
now changes to trying to tame
the yard that is now
my responsibility.
Wrestling some semblance
of order out of the explosion,
as if an entire tree
committed seppuku on my lawn.

Crystalline feathers
making lazy spirals
past the window.
The chill too strong
to take small ones
out to enjoy the show,
at least they can perch
at the sill and admire
the breathless flights
of tiny airships.

Monday, December 5, 2011

As promised.

Autumn/ Winter Haiku series

Raking many leaves
into perfect little piles;
bagging? Nah, no time.

Next weekend: the snow
drifted over solid ice.
Shoveling was a dream.

Powdered-sugar land
after midnight flurries end,
sparkling in the sun.

Nothing can compare
to the light in a child's eyes
by a Christmas tree.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Another month has flown by. A few days ago I had the idea to try to post a poem a day for the month of December. Unfortunately, as is the norm lately, time got away from me. And now it's super late, so I will do my best to make up for it tomorrow with a string o' haiku.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2011

When do I get my Mommy merit badge?

So sorry (again) that it's been too long since I last blogged. Forgive me.

I have to say my reasons for being away are far more successful socially than I have ever had before. I am running all over my cute little town, shuttling my older son to and from preschool, and generally being "out there" way more than I ever was even in the heart of a large city. I am a member of the local MOPS (Mothers of preschoolers) group, I take a parenting class, I am part of a cooking club, and I just on Friday joined a knitting circle and knitted my first-ever row (soon followed by at least 20 more this weekend). I even have a Tupperware party on my calendar in the next few weeks.

Is this when I get my Mommy merit badge?? :)

If some oracle had told me last November that this was what my life would be like now, I would have shaken my head. I am delighted, don't get me wrong, but I am just surprised. I always figured we'd end up in the suburbs of a larger city, not 1.5 hours away, but really, this is the perfect place for us. I love how friendly everyone is. I feel more known here than I ever did in our 4 years in the Big City. I feel like my kids will be safe growing up here, and they'll have plenty of opportunities to play the way they want to. I am so happy.

But now I'd better go to bed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Write.

I write to figure out what I think about things.

I write to give voice to my fears, then destroy them.

I write to make real my fantasies or wishes I know can't come true.

I write to create other worlds to share.

I write to see what shapes I can twist words into today.

I write to relax my mind.

I write to sharpen my mind.

I write to exorcise my demons.

I write to feed my spirit and nourish my soul.

I write to feel like a grown-up after a day spent with small children.

I write to feel like a child after having to be the parent all day.

I write because if I didn't, I'd probably explode.

I write because I've wanted to be a writer since I knew that was a job.

I write because I want to have something to show my children when they're grown.

I write because I want to have something to show my children while they're young.

I write to remember who I am, who I was, and who I want to be.

Why do YOU write?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Yes, I can now say I have completed a marathon. While it was hotter than I had hoped and therefore finished in a much slower time than I had expected, still I have a shiny new medal to add to my collection, along with a lot of memories.

As I often do with this blog, I am going to put the main ones down here so that I can hopefully remember as much as possible.

Top Ten(ish) T-Shirts Seen on the Course

10. This was a bad idea. (on the back of a less-than-perfectly fit, middle-aged man)

9. Where’s the finish line?

8. Running is a mental sport. We are all insane.

7. Find your happy pace.

6. Imagine how big my @ss would be if I didn’t run marathons. (worn by a rubenesque woman)

5. My Last Marathon (followed by a list of 6+ marathons)

4. Cheer up, you’re about to pass a Kenyan. (sported by a heavier-set African (American?) man)

3. Yes, I run like a girl. Try to keep up.

2. Does this shirt make my butt look fast? (I actually saw this one at the expo but I loved it!)

1. I’m going to finish this f***ing marathon. (This one became one of my mantras by the end!)

Top Ten (ish) Signs Seen on Course

10. Hurry up so we can go drink.

10. Don’t s*** yourself. (uncensored on the sign!)

9. You PAID for this?/ Where are you going?

8. Come on honey, it’s not as bad as childbirth. By the way, you have laundry to do.

7. Worst Parade Ever.

6. Only 3.6 more miles to BEER.

5. Pain is temporary. Bragging rights are forever.

4. I thought you said 2.62 miles?! (at about 2 1/2 miles in!)

4. 26.2 miles...because 26.3 would be CRAZY.

3. Someday you will not be able to do this anymore. Today is not that day.

2. Running takes balls. Other sports just play with them.

1. It’s long and hard, so do it fast. That’s what she said.

Top 5 Things I Learned Running a Marathon

5. It hurts. A lot. And You feel tired sooner than you think, at least if it's a warm day. I started feeling tired a little less than halfway through, but managed to feel a little bit better for a few more miles at least before I started wondering if body parts would fall off before the end.

4. Forget planning. I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary worry if I had let go of any hopes of any particular time. I knew from about five days prior that it was likely to be a bit warmer than I had hoped. I knew with at least part of my mind that I should just focus on finishing as soon as they raised the alert level to yellow for the race. Even the first half of the race, I was hopeful seeing all the people still within sight with "5:15" and "5:30" on their backs. But then I kind of ran out of gas around mile 15.

3. Enjoy the run. As much as it hurt, there were a lot of cool things to see. There were several runners and speedwalkers I saw who were over 65 years young and still going strong. There were cancer survivors and fellow charity runners. There was a man running with a full-size American flag on a pole. There was Endorphin Dude, complete with bedazzled blue cape. There was a man who ran and juggled four small bean bags. My favorite, though, had to be the blind runner. He had a retinue of helpers to prevent any mishaps; a few out to the sides, and one guide next to him holding one end of a small piece of rope, the other end of which he held. I didn't even know it was possible for a blind runner to complete any kind of race, and here was one running a marathon.

2. It gets emotional. I was a bit surprised when, right around Mile 23, I started to tear up. I suddenly thought of my dad, how much I missed him and how proud he'd be that I even made it that far. I could really strongly feel his presence, so I knew he was there. I was already so tired but I was determined to finish if I could just dig deep enough to get the last ounces of energy out. I asked Dad to help me, and I believe he did. It's hard to run with tears streaming down your face and a lump in your throat.

1. Having support makes all the difference. Running 26 miles was not even on my bucket list until a few years ago when I started running. The person who first inspired me to run was my brother, who ran his first marathon over 10 years ago. He has always encouraged me, from running my first 5K in 2007 to yesterday, when he ran with me despite my painfully slow pace. He cheered me on, insisting that he would just make sure I could finish the race. He even managed to make me laugh: in the last quarter mile there is a small hill, after which you turn and see the finish line. He said, "If you run up this hill, they give you a medal." I think it was in large part due to him that I found the wherewithal to pull out a slightly faster run for the last 400 yards of the race.
I am also grateful to all of the generous donors who contributed to my fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Your kind wishes and words as well as knowing that together we raised such a significant contribution lifted my spirits when the fatigue was trying to crush me. Knowing that we helped others in the situation I lived through as a teenager made my relatively small accomplishment that much more meaningful. Thank you; your generosity means more to me than I can accurately express. Each of you had a hand in both helping me cross the finish line and bringing a cure for blood cancers that much closer.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October? Really?

Wow, it's been too long. Again.

However, dear readers, I managed to come up with an inspiration to write, and I actually acted upon it before said inspiration was forgotten in a flurry of cleaning, appointments, and preschool chauffeuring.

I have always loved the piano pieces of Debussy, and I had the idea to take his Images and write a poem for each piece. This is what I came up with. If you are inspired by my idea, by all means grab one of your favorite instrumental pieces and write a poem that seems to fit it to you.

Reflets Dans L’Eau (Reflections in the Water)

Each wave and ripple a caress to my vision
I contemplate the numberless disturbances
caused by a breeze, a falling insect, a leaf.
Tiny frogs leap, causing little rain showers.
Water skimmers skating impossibly
over the surface as if it were frozen hard,
despite this being midsummer.
A sudden lull, I feel as if I could almost fall asleep
right where I stand, transfixed by this miniature drama.
Now a feather has found its way through the dwarven currents of air
and hovers ever so slightly over the water’s surface,
buffeted, then swirls down to kiss its twin underneath.
A swan eases onto its hundredth journey across the pond.
So still above the water, only its steady black feet propel its body
past lilies and foliage, under the shadowing trees,
to the waiting weeds on the opposite shore.
Peace fills me as I turn away.

Hommage a Rameau (Homage to Rameau)

I have rehearsed the words in my head for days
but none seem that they are appropriate
or in the right order as I pace from wall to wall
in my room.
I pause before the mirror and survey the lines crossing my face.
This examination does not assist me in my task,
so I resume pacing.
Suddenly inspiration seizes my tired mind,
and I fly to my desk to pin the words down on paper.
As fast as inspiration strikes, it slips away.
Pacing resumes again.
I begin to walk backwards, if only to hopefully jog my mind
into betraying the hidden ideas
I have been trying to coax out into the open.
I walk faster and with more purpose until I find something worthy
or until I crash into a piece of furniture.
Either way I will have changed the dreary status quo.
Such a gorgeous collection of qualities are rare in anyone,
small wonder summing up the effect of such an one
is racking my brain to its capacity.
Still, I will do my best to do him justice, it is what he deserves.

Mouvement (Movement)

I awake to the unmistakable
tapping on my window
of tiny crystalline structures.
The first snow of the winter.
In a flurry of activity, clothing wrenched on,
a mad tumble of boots, snowpants and jacket,
don’t-forget-your-hat-and-mittens, then
tumbling out the door to find my friend.
She is already here, laughing,
making snow angels in the yard.
I flop down next to her.
It is still snowing, and the tiny flakes
alternate between tickling and stinging my nose.
We stick out our tongues to see
how many we can catch,
before jumping up on a search for icicles.
We find a roof full of them and break the two biggest off
for tasteless popsicles.
A faint shriek reminds us of a nearly-forgotten activity:
We grab our toboggans and sprint as best we can
in heavy boots sized a bit too big.
The interminable climb is punctuated by
a leap, then tearing nearly straight down,
ending in a fluffy crash in a snowbank at the bottom.
More giggles and ten trips later,
we head back to the front yard, where enough
snow has fallen to warrant our next creation.
Careful rolling and shaping,
adding to a judicious choice of accessories,
and the snowman is complete,
just in time to bid us goodnight as we drag back
into the house for a well-earned nap.

Cloches a Travers les Feuilles (Bells through the leaves)

Thoughts whirl around my mind
as leaves in a cyclone.
I have to keep moving, or if I should stop I may
topple over from the centrifugal force.
Now I pick up the pace,
hoping the increased blood flow will
silence the nagging voices.
Once I get going, a sense of equilibrium returns.
Still doubts hound me, nipping at my heels,
but I know that if I just keep moving forward
they will tire and fall away.
The wind is delicious despite its playful pushing
at my face as I try to imitate the others
gliding along ahead of me.
I’ll never catch them, but I don’t care.
I just focus on the joy that is
keeping going on,
watching the sky grow lighter,
greeting the grasshoppers,
butterflies, birds, squirrels and chipmunks
as they curiously survey my progress.
When my legs try to convince me to slow,
I do my best to ignore the sensation,
until I reach my goal.

Et la Lune Descend sur le temple qui fut (And the moon descends over the ruins of the temple)

The moon is already setting,
giving up her perch among the stars,
even as I wish she were still comfortable
high in the firmament.
I have stayed up too late again,
fiddling with inconsequential things,
losing track of time while doing chores,
but mostly just wasting time.
I shake off my sense of annoyance and
will my mind to relax, to prepare for sleep.
Nobody likes to lie in bed and find their brain
will not shut off to rest.
Slowly I settle into my nighttime routine,
breathing deeply, thinking
of all I have to be thankful for--
my health, my family, good friends,
the successes of the day,
and what I have to look forward to tomorrow.
I have tried my best, and that will simply
have to do for today.
As I lay down my head,
I smile.

Poissons d’Or (Fish of Gold)

Every day is a new adventure.
I leap out of bed, asking,
“What are we going to do today?”
Whatever the plans, my response always,
“Oh, that will be fun!”

Always hungry, I devour
breakfast as soon as it appears before me.
I enjoy bringing my milk and my brother’s
to the table. I’m careful not to spill.
I even put my milk back in the fridge
when I’m all done.

Maybe we’ll go to the park today.
If we do, I'll be sure to say hello
to the mailman in his truck, and ask
for the hundredth time if he’s delivering
the mail to people.

Then I’ll climb to the top of the treehouse
and yell down “Hello down there!”
and “I’m up higher!”
When I come down, I’ll ask
to be pushed in the swing like my little brother.

After lunch, we’ll go to school.
I can hardly be bothered to hang up my bag
before I say “Bye!” and find my friends.
While I don’t like to leave,
I’m always happy to see Mommy again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why I Run.

As I have occasionally posted on this blog about my running exploits, the fact that I run should not come as a surprise to my readers. However, perhaps the idea of me (an average at best runner, certainly not the fastest, and generally considered recreational) running a marathon seems a little, well, insane.

Well, dear readers, I'm here to tell you that there are many times (during my 18-mile run last weekend, for example) that I would readily agree with you. But there is a huge reason why I keep getting up, lacing up my sneakers, and heading out on the trail, the road, or the treadmill, as the case may be.

That reason is that cancer, particularly (to me) leukemia, sucks.

I will not rest until I have accomplished my goal of raising a significant amount of money to combat the types of horrible blood cancers that steal people's beloved family members in the blink of an eye.

People like my dad.

My father was a vibrant, energetic, active, kind, funny and loving man. He was an amazing dad. He worked hard, but he played hard too. My favorite memories of him include his booming laugh, the way you could hear from inside the house if he was swimming in the pool in the backyard, early morning fishing trips at the lake, and "stealing" popcorn from his bowl until he told me to go make my own.

The Christmas I after turned 16 wasn't much of a Christmas at all for my family. Dad wasn't feeling well at all, and he finally got a blood test that revealed, on Christmas Eve, that he had acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). The doctors' prognosis was that if he survived the first three days, he would hopefully have three months to live. Unfortunately, he had the three-day variety, as the mutant cells attacked his lungs, and then his brain. We barely had a chance to absorb the news of his illness before he was just gone.

I run to prevent others from facing a harsh reality like that of my family. I run to hopefully help increase the survival rate of AML, and even find a cure for it someday. Someday others could develop this disease, but survive to watch their little girls graduate from high school and college, get married, earn master's degrees, and have children. My dad missed all of that, and I know he would have loved to have been there in the flesh, though I know he was with us in spirit.

I know some of you don't know me from Adam, but if you have any change to spare, I would really appreciate it if you could contribute to my fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They are dedicated to researching to find a cure for blood cancers, and they also help families afflicted by these diseases by offering them vital information on the diseases as well as available treatments and therapies so they can make their decisions with more confidence. Every penny over my goal of $1000 will go directly toward their research and patient outreach programs. Thank you to all of my angel donors who have pitched in thus far, and thank you to those who may be moved to donate now.

There is an opportunity to leave a message when you donate (and the donation may be made anonymously as well), and if you would like to share the name of a loved one who is a survivor or victim of cancer that you would like me to acknowledge on my race day jersey, please do so. I would be honored to add them to my list of honorees to which I am dedicating my run.

I will end this with the link to my fundraising web page. Have a look around, and really, even a dollar or two would be appreciated and would make a difference. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Hey, readers...

If you are still there...

At least I have somewhat of a valid excuse for failing to post for so long this time. My family moved from a teeming metropolis to what can more accurately be described as a hamlet, and I couldn't be happier about it. Cleaner air, no traffic, friendly people, tons of kids, parks, trees, good schools...and we found an amazing house.

So amazing in fact that I am actually trying harder than I ever have before to take care of it. I joined a website recently called, which was designed by and for non-type A people like me. Rather, we are perfectionists and procrastinators at the same time, which pretty much prevented us from doing much of anything related to housework...the perfectionist side says "I don't want to do it if I can't do it perfectly, or do it all right now," while the procrastinator side says "I'll do it later." Either way it doesn't lend to a very nice looking place. So I'm starting my baby steps to keep this new house the way I found it, or at least a livable facsimile of that. Everything isn't perfect, but hopefully I'll at least get to everything around once a week once I fully establish all my routines. :)

The kids are doing great. They love their new room (it even has a huge walk in closet that the previous owners had used as a toy room, and I have kept it the same for ours), and they are enjoying our trips to the park. I signed my big boy up to start preschool in three weeks. I can't believe how big he is. Tonight at dinner he said, "Mommy, you're amazing." Sigh. The little guy is crawling at the speed of light. His latest trick is stairs, and he will pull up on just about anything, or anyone, he can get his little hands on. He's taken to calling his brother "Baba."

I can't think of much else right at the moment; hopefully I'll make more of an effort to post in the next few weeks as we are more settled in. Haiku News will come back shortly after that.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


As usual, I may have lasted a week on my resolve to blog more often. However, I now know I have an end date to the uproar and upheaval in my life that has been preventing me from posting. My wonderful husband has accepted a new position, and we are leaving a teeming metropolis for a beautiful, friendly small town in a month. This weekend we are going to try to find our new home. I am really looking forward to starting this new chapter in our life together.

The boys are doing great. The big one is starting to get more and more involved with the little one, and it is so cute to see them sort of playing together every once in awhile. Little guy is getting so big and really wants to try to walk now that he has fully mastered off-the-ground crawling. He will be 1 in less than a week. Where does the time go?

The other day, my big boy heard his brother fussing on the monitor while playing downstairs with his daddy. He said, "Daddy, (little brother) is crying. I have to help him stop crying. (Little brother), STOP CRYING!" If only that worked, my darling. He also enjoys singing all sorts of songs, much to our delight. I hope we can get him into piano lessons as soon as they deem him "old enough," as well as swim lessons so he can take advantage of his grandparents' pool.

If anyone has a brilliant idea for the next poetry challenge, I'm all ears. For the next few weeks I will probably be buried in boxes and in organizing/purging frenzies, but I will be listening nonetheless.

Haiku News

Potter movies end,
bringing magic to a close
with some childhoods.

Politician thinks
his county'd be better off
in South Calif. Hmm.

A noble idea:
California would include
gays in history.

Congress needs to stop
acting like whiny babies
and fix the budget.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Favorite Poets, Part 2.

I promised the other half of my top 20 favorite poets way back in March. Well, here's the other half, at long last. Again, there is no particular order to my madness.

Shel Silverstein
I have loved Shel Silverstein since I was old enough to read his trio of poetry books. This poem in particular used to make me cry with laughter. I read this aloud (with some difficulty) to my nieces when they were young, and I can’t wait to do the same with my boys someday.

Twistable Turnable Man
He's the Twistable Turnable Squeezable Pullable
Stretchable Foldable Man.
He can crawl in your pocket or fit your locket
Or screw himself into a twenty-volt socket,
Or stretch himself up to the steeple or taller,
Or squeeze himself into a thimble or smaller,
Yes he can, course he can,
He's the Twistable Turnable Squeezable Pullable
Stretchable Shrinkable Man.
And he lives a passable life
With his Squeezable Lovable Kissable Hugable
Pullable Tugable Wife.
And they have two twistable kids
Who bend up the way that they did.
And they turn and they stretch
Just as much as they can
For this Bendable Foldable
Easily moldable
Buy-what you're-soldable
Washable Mendable
Highly Dependable
Buyable Saleable
Always available
Bounceable Shakeable
Almost unbreakable
Twistable Turnable Man.

Carl Sandburg
I love Sandburg's energy and visceral imagery in his poetry. It's fun to read aloud because it's so strong. If you don't mind some foul language I highly recommend you check out "Howl," particularly if you can find a recording of Sandburg reading it. I love this poem because even though it describes the city as it was in the early 1900s, it still carries a lot of the same spirit today.

     HOG Butcher for the World,
     Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
     Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;

     Stormy, husky, brawling,

     City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
     have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
     luring the farm boys.

And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it

     is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to

     kill again.

And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
     faces of women and children I have seen the marks
     of wanton hunger.

And having answered so I turn once more to those who
     sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
     and say to them:

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing

     so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
     job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
     little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
     as a savage pitted against the wilderness,




          Building, breaking, rebuilding,

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with

     white teeth,

Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
     man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has

     never lost a battle,

Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.

     and under his ribs the heart of the people,

Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of

     Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
     Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
     Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

William Wordsworth
I know that Wordsworth is sometimes a joke to people, as he has been considered the cheesiest of the Romantic poets, but I really enjoy the below poem. I saw a special on HBO sponsored by the Poetry Foundation in which Dave Matthews read this poem, and I just fell in love with it.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Robert Frost
Frost is especially talented with extended metaphors. I really love the way he describes his images; I feel like if I could paint I would be able to reproduce exactly what he had in mind when he wrote it. I also like “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken,” but I think this one is my very favorite.

Mending Wall
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Gwendolyn Brooks
I have always enjoyed sharing Brooks’ poetry with my students when I was teaching. This one is my favorite. I recommend listening to the author reading it herself. It sounds almost like music.

The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We 
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We 
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We 
Die soon.

Ogden Nash
Nash had a great mind for light verse. I particularly adore his poems about animals. There are many, but this one is one of my personal favorites.

The Centipede
I objurgate the centipede,
A bug we do not really need.
At sleepy-time he beats a path
Straight to the bedroom or the bath.
You always wallop where he’s not,
Or, if he is, he makes a spot.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
She and her husband were successful Romantic poets. I enjoy both of their portrayals of their love.

Sonnet XLIII from Sonnets of the Portuguese
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Robert Browning
The faithful husband of Elizabeth.

Meeting at Night
THE gray sea and the long black land; 

And the yellow half-moon large and low; 

And the startled little waves that leap 

In fiery ringlets from their sleep, 

As I gain the cove with pushing prow, 

And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears; 

A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch 

And blue spurt of a lighted match, 

And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each! 

Gertrude Stein
My senior quote in my high school yearbook was one of Gertrude Stein’s: “Let me listen to me and not to them.” I have always felt that this motto has served me well, both in saving me the eventual embarrassment involved in being trendy, and in helping me to avoid relying too much on others’ approval. This poem is a gorgeous modernist portrait of a tight knit family.

The house was just twinkling in the moon light, 
And inside it twinkling with delight,
Is my baby bright.
Twinkling with delight in the house twinkling 
with the moonlight,
Bless my baby bless my baby bright,
Bless my baby twinkling with delight,
In the house twinkling in the moon light,
Her hubby dear loves to cheer when he thinks
and he always thinks when he knows and he always 
knows that his blessed baby wifey is all here and he
is all hers, and sticks to her like burrs, blessed baby

Lewis Carroll
Carroll, most famous for his pair of books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, was also an accomplished poet of his own. He wrote these stories for a young girl he knew named Alice. If you look closely at the following poem, the first letter of each line is a letter of her name: Alice Pleasance Liddell.

A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky
A BOAT beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Treading water.

I just celebrated 10 years of marriage to my wonderful husband on Friday. While we are very happy, we are also kind of in a holding pattern of late. He is looking for a new job, and depending on where he finds it we are most likely going to move. How big a move remains to be seen, so right now we are just waiting. (For me, this includes hypothetical house searching on the internet.) It has been several months now and it is getting harder to wait as we go along. I know the right thing will happen when it's supposed to, I just wish that time was NOW so we could start making plans for when and how to go where we're going. Doing all this with little kids will be a first; when we moved into this house I was in my second trimester with my first son.

For now, I guess the healthiest thing is just to try to be patient, and meanwhile enjoy my time here in the city with the boys and try not to let the little things pass me by while I'm worrying about stuff I can't control.

Haiku News

Blago jury finds
ex-governor guilty on
seventeen charges.

Finally showing
that you can't get away with
pay-to-play 'round here.

TSA denies
asking 95-year-old
to remove diaper.

More testimony
in the Knox murder appeal;
nothing is resolved.

Franco's latest thing:
creating invisible
art offered for sale. 

I think I completely forgot to post this after writing it over a day ago. Where is my head?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Running my brain.

Hey folks!

I did my second 8 mile run in two weeks today, and I am pleased to say that while I am still not setting any land-speed records, I did shave a few minutes off last week's time. Probably partly because although it was still quite warm it was much less humid today than last Saturday.

I really wish I could tell two runners I encountered on the path today about their unfortunate wardrobe choices. One woman was wearing white running shorts and a black sports bra, but she (hopefully) had no idea that when her white shorts got wet they revealed the lacy underwear she had on underneath. Even if I had been close enough to tell her I probably wouldn't have, since then she would still have to find her way home knowing how exposed she was. Sigh. Another runner, a man, was wearing light gray cotton shorts to run in, and his groin area was quite that area of his shorts darkened considerably, making it appear as if he'd peed on himself. Guys: if you don't want to spring for technical fabric running gear, at least make it black or some other dark color!! Yikes.

Haiku News

Way to go, New York!
legalizing gay marriage
as everyone should.

This is probably
one of the only times that
they're sixth for something.

As if Holocaust
victims suffered not enough,
some women were raped.

On a lighter note,
Winklevoss twins just can't stop
suing Zuckerberg.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

They're back!

I think it's high time to reinstate Haiku News. I don't even know why I stopped doing them. I am also going to try and post at least a few times a week for the rest of the year, we'll see how that goes.

"Jackass" Ryan Dunn
wrapped his car around a tree;
don't drink and drive, kids.

In related news,
Ebert's comments on Dunn's fate
got his page removed.

Megan Fox was fired
from "Transformers" sequel by
linking Bay, Hitler.

"Lost" actor marries
teenage girlfriend; I'm sure they
have tons in common.

Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day.

I don't know if this day will ever get easier for me, since it always serves to remind me how much I miss my own dad. He left us so suddenly, we never really had time to say goodbye. I still have times where I wish he could magically show up at the front door like nothing had ever happened. Alas, that can only happen in soap operas and fairy tales, but I know I'll see him again someday when I get to heaven.

At least I can enjoy watching my husband become a better father day by day. He is such an attentive, gentle and loving father to our boys. They are so lucky to have him. Whenever he's home, he will help with our older son's dinner and give him his bath, read to him and put him to bed while I tend to the baby. Sometime soon he will likely at least be reading to/ putting both of them to bed once the baby is weaned. There is nothing like the smiles they give him when he walks in the door from work. I also love hearing my big boy talk to him on the phone during the day. His "Hi, Daddy!" must put a smile on his face as it does mine. It's fun to see my husband's smile or a funny face he makes cross their faces. I have a feeling I'll be laughing a lot more as they get older and develop some of his quirky sense of humor.

So, happy Father's Day to all the awesome dads out there. Keep being amazing, your kids will thank you for it and your wives will appreciate you for it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

June already?

Whew, that was quick.

I just got back on Monday from my 10 year college reunion. While we were only there from Thursday through Monday, it was fun to see so many of our old friends, most of whom had never met our kids and we hadn't seen at all since we moved away 7 years ago. It was so strange to be back in the place we'd spent so much time, but hadn't seen in so long. So much has changed. They've built new buildings, many of our professors have retired. But some things haven't: we found all our old houses (on and off campus), we visited the zoo (a lot the same as I remember), and the summer weather was perfect: sunny and 75ish on Saturday. I realize that we were lucky, they've had an unusually cold year so far, but we were grateful for the reprieve the weekend we were there, particularly since we came home to oppressive heat.

The boys did very well. I was particularly impressed with how well the little guy did on his first trip to the West Coast. He adjusted fairly quickly to the time change and slept in the pack n' play with very little struggle. Of course, he didn't take much of a nap most of the days we were there, but I couldn't blame him there since we were often too busy to go back to the hotel room to give him time to lay down. My back reminded me that I was not used to carrying him around the majority of the day. He also voiced his frustration occasionally for not being able to move around. He officially started Army crawling a few days before we left, and he could not believe I wasn't going to let him down on the floor of the airplane to explore the passengers' shoes and carry-on baggage. Sorry, buddy, I think that's a bit too dirty for you. He is so funny to watch right now with his crazy wiggle/drag/contort movement. I describe it as either a baby zombie or that he's trying to breakdance.

We were also able to sing in the alumni version of the concert choir we sang in while in school. It was nice even though only one other member was actually singing in it during the same years we were. The other folks we met there were quite nice and we had a good time.

Perhaps one of the best parts of all was when we got home and we were all bone tired, and the boys actually had to be woken up Tuesday morning. The little one actually slept till 10:00! I was happy to have the extra sleep, and was glad they were able to catch up on some rest they didn't get while we were gone.

So, it's probably about time for another poetry challenge...what say you all to Paige's mom's idea of using the word verification as an inspiration for a poem? Let me know.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pressing "Save."

Things I want to remember:

How my three-year-old tucks in his Buzz or Woody stuffed figures and says, "There you go, nice and warm!" and how he gives kisses and hugs to his little brother.

How my sweet 10 month old boy shrieks in glee, how his winning smile always gleams when presented with a game of peek-a-boo, and how his velvety forehead feels under my lips as I kiss him above his sleepy eyes.

How my three-year-old is getting good at singing songs, particularly "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story. His version: "You've got a FRIEND in ME, you've got a FRIEND in ME. As the YEARS go BY, you NEver DIE." He will also fill in the instrumental line at the end. So cute.

How my baby is trying SO hard to crawl, but he still doesn't have much idea how. He is happiest lately when you set him on the floor, where he nearly immediately flops onto his stomach and settles into a combination of rolling and wriggling to get where he wants to go. It is remarkably effective.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Poetry Challenge: Rewrite a bad song/ write a poem on a day of the week.

I'm not sure why I'm doing this tonight, as I am still recovering from an annoying sinus infection (is there any other kind?). But I'm by myself and nothing is going on so I guess I figured tonight would be a good night to try it.

If you don't have a social media-savvy person in your house, you may have been spared the atrocity that is Rebecca Black's "Friday" video. In a nutshell, this 13-year-old girl's parents paid a small record/video company $4000 to write her a song and produce the music video. It then went viral and was widely declared the "worst song ever." I won't make you watch it, but I will embed it here if you are brave enough to allow its assault to your ears. The poor girl has suffered quite a bit of abuse about it already, but suffice it to say, although it is a slickly produced video, I am amazed and depressed that two full grown adults were paid to write these brainless lyrics. Without further ado:

I will also enclose the lyrics here, in case you didn't catch them with all the auto-tuning going on in the video.


(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Seven a.m., waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein' everything, the time is goin'
Tickin' on and on, everybody's rushin'
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

Kickin' in the front seat
Sittin' in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin' down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend

Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin' forward to the weekend

7:45, we're drivin' on the highway
Cruisin' so fast, I want time to fly
Fun, fun, think about fun
You know what it is
I got this, you got this
My friend is by my right, ay
I got this, you got this
Now you know it

Kickin' in the front seat
Sittin' in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin' down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend

Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin' forward to the weekend

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin')
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after ... wards
I don't want this weekend to end

R-B, Rebecca Black
So chillin' in the front seat (In the front seat)
In the back seat (In the back seat)
I'm drivin', cruisin' (Yeah, yeah)
Fast lanes, switchin' lanes
Wit' a car up on my side (Woo!)
(C'mon) Passin' by is a school bus in front of me
Makes tick tock, tick tock, wanna scream
Check my time, it's Friday, it's a weekend
We gonna have fun, c'mon, c'mon, y'all

It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin' down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend

Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin' forward to the weekend

It's Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin' down on Friday
Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend

Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Partyin', partyin' (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin' forward to the weekend

My favorite part of this whole debacle was this past March when Conan O'Brien parodied the video, suggesting she ripped off his video of a song called "Thursday." I do recommend you watch this one, especially if you actually watched the original.

Now, the challenging part. I am going to take the germ of the idea for the song ("Friday") and try to write a better song for it. If anyone wants to join me, choose a day of the week (you can do the same one if you want!), or choose a poem or song you hate and rewrite it.

All right, for better or worse, here's what I would have written (in a very short time span, mind you) for a 13 year old girl who wanted to sing about Friday. Not what I would sing about it, as I am considerably older. :)


As I arise and the sun hits my face
My mind awakes and I smile.
My favorite day at last arrived
and nothing can erase
my joy this morning.

Flying through my routine,
blowing kisses out the door,
time for the day to begin,
I don’t wanna miss a minute.

On the bus my mind wanders,
skipping ahead to tonight.
Where will my friends and I go?
Movies, sleepover, shopping?

(Chorus:) It’s Friday, Friday,
the best day of the week.
Been looking forward to this
For what seems like years.
Hanging out with friends,
sleeping in and relaxing,
nowhere to be and
nothing we have to do.

Friday night, finally,
spending time with my friends.

Anywhere we go we’ll have
fun talking and laughing.
Tonight we’ll catch a movie,
then we’ll go to my house,
sleepover party with karaoke!

Next week it’s my BFF’s
turn to be the social planner,
I know whatever she chooses,
we’ll have fun together.
Maybe we’ll tell scary stories
and try to stay up all night,
playing jokes on each other
and imagining our future lives.


At the end of this weekend,
I’ll wish it could last forever,
but then I’ll start looking forward
to the end of next week.
Every week has a bright spot,
the end of the tunnel,
something to get us all through
till we can start having fun again.

As you can see, I cut out all the "ah"s and the rap section and cut a few refrains, since I think they were unnecessary anyway. It probably wouldn't match up with the song, but then again I don't think even without bad lyrics that it is a terribly good song, so we're not missing much there either. So there you have it...anyone else want to take this on with me? :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

How Motherhood has changed me.

In honor of Mother's Day in a few days, I thought I'd share something I wrote today when reflecting on a prompt to tell how motherhood had changed me. It ended up resembling a poem, appropriately enough for me.

How motherhood has changed me.

My heart has grown 100% times two.
These days most things I do for myself, I do for love of them.
I run and eat well (mostly) to be healthy for them.
That said, I don’t really care what I look like because I’m beautiful to them.
I show kindness and patience to others as an example for them.
I show them love and gentleness sometimes in spite of them.
I look for moments to file away in my memories daily.
I blog about what seems trivial today so I won’t forget it tomorrow.
I take about a million pictures a month and flood Facebook with them.
I love their father, my husband, more for being a great father to them.
I try to look above the daily grind to focus on what matters for them.
I try my best to always have smiles and hugs ready for them.
I watch shows that sometimes set my teeth on edge for them.
I answer the same questions a hundred times for them.
I get up in the middle of the night, go with little sleep, and clean up body fluids for them.
I take kicks, punches, bites, pinches, scratches and slaps from them.
I only give back pats, kisses, hugs, and sweet words to them.
I would give my life for them, but I hope to see as much of their journey as God will let me.
I am eternally grateful for my blessings here on earth, and the one waiting for me in heaven.
Thank you God for the blessed honor of motherhood. May I prove worthy of being the caretaker of my beautiful children, and may they be a blessing to others as they are to me.

Thanks to my own Mama for being such a great example for me to look up to and now emulate as much as I possibly can. I am eternally grateful for all you have done and continue to do for me and my family.

If anyone else would like to share thoughts about their own moms in the comments, I'd love to see.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Poetry Challenge: Nonsense Poem.

I know it has been far too long since I have challenged my readers to, well, a challenge. So here's one, I know I have one reader at least who would be game for this one.

Nonsense poetry is one of my favorite kinds, as there are pretty much no rules. Many different poets at least dabbled in the field of nonsense poetry, and a few came up with quite popular attempts. Here are two of my favorites.

e e cummings never did care for most rules, as is evidenced by the typical non-punctuation and non-capitalization of his name. My favorite of his poems is the following.

anyone lived in a pretty how town
by e e cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

I know it may seem extremely alien, but I promise if you read it through a few times the characters will materialize. I want you to make the discovery yourself, however. I think of this as a nonsense poem only in the way that he disregards the use of grammar in its standard sense, which is why the poem seems nonsensical. But it has an order of its own design that slowly becomes apparent.

The second poem that always leaps to mind when I think of nonsense poetry is Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Again, there is plenty of language that makes pretty much no sense on first reading, but if you look at it a few more times you can imagine what each of Carroll's made-up words could mean. It's almost like discovering a new language. Don't worry about getting a "right answer" to what it means. If it makes sense to you, I think you've succeeded.

If you are looking for more examples, I suggest Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, for two. And further explication and other poets to look up can be found here.

Now, the hard(er) part. Let's try to write some nonsense ourselves. Here's mine, which really seems to channel Shel Silverstein.

Fred the Wonder Horse

He flies sideways, all hunter green,
He’s stouter than a soup tureen.
He smiles, even when he’s mean.
He’s Fred the wonder horse.

The first time I saw him, I laughed.
His one wing made him appear halfed.
Try to describe him and you’ll look daft.
He’s Fred the wonder horse.

On Saturdays he grocery shops
and dances on the chimney tops.
Don’t let him lick your lollipops!
He’s Fred the wonder horse.

He says he comes from Baltimore.
You can’t find him at any store.
He’s full of knock-knock jokes galore.
He’s Fred the wonder horse.

He loves to sing “Fiddle-dee-dee!”
and my friends, they all laugh at me,
‘Cause I’m the only one who can see
Fred the wonder horse.

Someday he’ll wake me from my sleep
and we’ll swim in the lake so deep,
then late at night back home we’ll creep,
me and Fred the wonder horse.

That was really fun once I got inspired. Thanks to my wonderful husband for the basic idea! Look around you for an odd idea. Eat something strange and try to remember your dreams. Better yet, ask your young child for an idea, if you have one around. Please share what you discover with me!

No whining zone.

My mom always told me that she would tell me when I was little and starting to whine that she couldn't understand whining. I filed that away in my mommy filing cabinet and hoped I wouldn't have to use it much. Sadly the last few days my son has started in on the whining and huge crocodile tears whenever something is going differently than how he would like it to be.

Luckily for me, the "I can't hear whining, sweetie." approach seems to be slowly making its impression. I am also fortunate to have a husband willing to present a united front on the subject. I had already dealt with the occasional yelling with "yelling hurts Mommy's ears" or "Yelling scares your brother," which is usually true. He doesn't like the idea of making his brother cry, so this can be effective.

I just hope for my patience's sake that he will revert to his normal, happy-go-lucky self soon. His particular brand of whining and fake crying really grates on me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quotable toddler.

My son is coming up with new amusing sayings daily. I think I should start writing some of them down again.

The other day, he looked up at me and said, "Mommy, [little brother] is a bunny."
"Okay," I replied.
"And I'm a bunny."
"Is Mommy a bunny?"
"Is Daddy a bunny?"
"What's Daddy, then?"
"Daddy is a boy."

My little guy plays a game with his daddy where Daddy asks, "Are you my buddy?" and some times he will say "no." This makes Daddy collapse into fake sobbing. My son asks, "Daddy, why are you sad?" and Daddy will say "Because you aren't my buddy." My son will ask Daddy for a kiss, and then Daddy will ask again if he's his buddy and he will say "yes," which makes Daddy cheer and give him a big hug. He has a similar game with me, except that instead of asking if he's my buddy I will ask for a kiss and he won't give it to me, but after I pout he will come up and give me a kiss, saying "Mommy, I made you happy!"

Whenever he is sad lately he will say "I'm sad." If you ask him what's wrong he will just say "Want to be happy?" It's cute, but not helpful since we usually aren't sure what is making him sad. Oh well.

He is such a good big brother. Lately he will bring his brother a toy when he is fussing or he will randomly come up and gently hug him or pat him on the arm. He will always say goodnight to him before bed and give him a kiss. His little brother's expression when he watches him is so sweet, too. Today he had the giggles and just seeing that lit up his brother's face in a big grin. He will also sometimes feed him a few of his puffs that are on his high chair tray if he's not eating at the same time.

All in all, I am feeling like a lucky mama lately. My kids are very even tempered, sleep well and are for the most part very healthy. They always find ways to make me laugh and smile, even with stressful situations happening outside our little home-bubble. I hope I am taking enough time to show them how much they are deeply loved and cherished.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I need to get running, but I wanted to say something here about the ridiculous flap in the news today over this photo. As a mom of two young boys, I feel like I need to say that if they want to wear pink toenail polish, or wear mardi gras beads, or walk around in my shoes, that is perfectly fine with me. That means absolutely nothing when it comes to who they will someday love and want to spend their lives with, but even if it did, if that was what they wanted I would fully support them. I believe that everyone should have the right to be happy, so long as they are not harming anyone else. What people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is none of my business, regardless of who they are doing it with. Love has all kinds of forms and faces, and I feel that it is beautiful in all of them, as long as no violence is involved. That goes for heterosexual couples as well as homosexuals.

I wish the loud voices of those opposing gay rights would understand that they are trying to take away human rights in the name of religion. I can't imagine that the God of love that I know would reject someone for loving someone of the same sex. Jesus associated with everyone, ESPECIALLY those the people of his society and time rejected. I can't believe he would turn his back on the gay community; he would welcome them with arms as open as they are for everyone else.

So, if someday my son comes up to me and tells me he's gay, I will celebrate him as much as I did the day before. It is only one aspect of anyone's personality; he will still be my son and he will still be the same beautiful person he has always been. I only hope for my sons to be happy and healthy. If they find their way to that place, I will consider my parenting a success.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Snapshot of a race.

The sea of humanity pre-race.
I haven't done this before, and I think it's high time I do. I may not be the fastest runner but I like to think I get more out of it than those solely motivated by the clock. I keep my eyes and my mind wide open while I run. I have gotten inspiration while pounding the pavement more than once.

Today, while running the world's largest 8K (about 5 miles) race, with a field of 4,000 runners, I realized how many fun moments are involved in every race I've been in, but how few I end up remembering. So I decided that I will try to record a few things that stand out in my mind with every race I run this year. Here goes.

While waiting for the race to begin in my assigned start corral, I let my gaze wander over my fellow runners. I saw a group of women with pink t-shirts emblazoned with the name of a suburb "Hot Moms" and a cartoon mom with a baby in one arm and a martini in the other. What a fun-looking group that was! Another fun group I saw was a quartet of young men clad in green tights, green body paint, and green Afro wigs. Looking at the pictures from this race in years past, I realized they have been showing up like this at least for the past two years.

On the race course, I saw several small children with signs reading "Go Mommy!" and a man dressed exactly like Will Ferrell's character in the SNL Blue Oyster Cult sketch ("More cowbell!") complete with a cowbell, that made me smile.

Running through the city is always fun, as it's the only chance you can get to run at speed without worrying about traffic signals and cars. Every time we ran through an underpass tunnel, many runners couldn't resist shouting to hear their own voices echo back. Many of these passes had bridge railings filled with well-wishers rattling noisemakers, ringing bells or just clapping and cheering. Every one of their efforts was appreciated.

Also, many thanks to God for preventing the earlier-predicted thunderstorm and providing a welcome cool breeze at the perfect moments to revive me when I had been running in unaccustomed heat and humidity longer than I liked.

Finally, after the heartbreaking last hill (WHY???), turning the corner and seeing the finish line was priceless. I was so happy to find something left to kick into high gear and pass another 10 or so runners at the end. I was also pleased to beat my old time by 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Hopefully my dedication to training will continue to pay off through the rest of this year and result in my finishing the marathon in 5 hours. We shall see.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Favorite Poets.

A few weeks ago, I came across an article in the New York Times in which a professor was compiling his list of who he believed were the 20 greatest poets of all time. Now, I feel vastly inadequately read to really assume I could compile a list of the 20 greatest poets of all time, but it inspired me to share with you my 20 favorite poets that I have come across so far. Some are very well known but a few were introduced to me in my MA program in a small private college program, so perhaps I can give you all some new poets to devour in doing this little exercise. Now, if after reading this you feel like I have left someone out or you would like to share your own list of 20, 10, 5, or even just one favorite poet, I'd love to hear your selections as well.

To make this more interesting, I am going to include my favorite poem (or one of them, if I can't say it's my one favorite poem!) from each of these poets. Apologies that I have probably shared several of these before, but it was awhile back so it might be new to someone anyway. :)

This list is in no particular order, since I have many favorite poets and not one is really above any other.

1. Shakespeare. There is something about his way of capturing speech rhythms and ingenious rhyming that really captures me. He can also carry a metaphor and twist the end of a sonnet more than nearly anyone else who ever wrestled words into that tricky format. Here is one of my favorites, Sonnet 130.

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips' red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
   And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
   As any she belied with false compare.

2. William Carlos Williams. I adored teaching Williams to my students, because he has a wonderful way of confounding their conventional view of poetry. It doesn’t rhyme, it doesn’t use flowery language, there is no real meter or formal arrangement; yet it is poetry. I love how accessible he is for all of the above reasons. The good doctor shows us the poetry in everyday things and situations.

This is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

3. Octavio Paz. He was influenced by his mentor, Neruda, and they thought in similar ways. Both showcase nature entwined with human feelings, using surprising metaphors to paint their broad, bold strokes. I think of reading their poetry as similar to going to an art museum and musing on the modern paintings. The longer you linger on their poems, the more they will open up and show you, about the writer, about life, and about yourself. I will link to the video of Eric Whitacre’s setting of Paz’s poem, “Water Night.” I have performed this piece several times and between the words and Whitacre’s beautiful chords, it gives me goosebumps every time.

4. Pablo Neruda. Mentor to Paz, another gorgeous early modern poet. I do wish that I could read enough Spanish to understand his and Paz’s poems in the original. That is still a life goal for me. Someday I hope to be able to enjoy them as they were written. Here is a great example of his work.

I Remember You As You Were
by Pablo Neruda
I remember you as you were in the last autumn.
You were the grey beret and the still heart.
In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.
And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.

Clasping my arms like a climbing plant
the leaves garnered your voice, that was slow and at peace.
Bonfire of awe in which my thirst was burning.
Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

I feel your eyes traveling, and the autumn is far off:
Grey beret, voice of a bird, heart like a house
Towards which my deep longings migrated
And my kisses fell, happy as embers.

Sky from a ship. Field from the hills:
Your memory is made of light, of smoke, of a still pond!
Beyond your eyes, farther on, the evenings were blazing.
Dry autumn leaves revolved in your soul.

5. Wallace Stevens. I know I have sung Mr. Stevens’ praises in this blog before; in fact, I encouraged people to write a 13 Ways poem in ode to his “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” did I not? If not, maybe we should do that next! I guess I’ll have to go look now. :) In any case, I know I have included that poem in this blog before, so I’ll share another one today. This one I used in a paper for my master’s degree, and I think it is just stunning.

Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself
by Wallace Stevens
At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside
Seemed like a sound in his mind.

He knew that he heard it,
A bird's cry at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.

The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow . . .
It would have been outside.

It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep's faded papier mâché . . .
The sun was coming from outside.

That scrawny cry—it was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,

Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.

6. Maya Angelou. I highly recommend her series of autobiographies to anyone unfamiliar with this remarkable woman. Still with us in her nineties, she is a national treasure and still sharp as a whip. Her poetry sways and mesmerizes with its rhythms and her unmistakable voice.
by Maya Angelou
Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

7. Emily Dickinson. It is still a bit sad to me that no one who knew Dickinson when she was living was aware of her marvelous gift of poetry. She is another poet whose writing is understated, even a bit terse, but it really brings out new dimensions in the reader’s understanding of what the English language can do. Her economy of language was one of the first times I recognized the value of making what you say count.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

8. Christina Rossetti. Her poems have often been set to music, and for good reason; she had a terrific skill for setting prayers and praises into poetry. My favorite Christmas carol, in fact, is her poem, “A Christmas Carol,” which is better known as “In the Bleak Mid-Winter.” While we now realize that there was probably not snow in Christ’s birthplace at the time of his birth, I still think it’s a beautiful poem. Here is a link to a performance of the carol by the wonderful group Chanticleer.

9. Derek Walcott. I was won over by his book-length poem, Omeros. I can’t seem to find much that is not really long, but please do look him up. He was raised in St. Lucia, and has since lived for a long time in New York City, so his vastly different influences have served to enrich his poetry.

10. Joseph Brodsky. He was sentenced to Siberia for being a poet at the wrong time in Russia, and later defected to America. Again, I have to read him in translation, but his words are so consistently striking. This poem in particular has the added bonus of referring to the famous father and son of Homer’s Odyssey.

Odysseus to Telemachus
by Joseph Brodsky
My dear Telemachus,
The Trojan War
is over now; I don't recall who won it.
The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave
so many dead so far from their own homeland.
But still, my homeward way has proved too long.
While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon,
it almost seems, stretched and extended space.

I don't know where I am or what this place
can be. It would appear some filthy island,
with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs.
A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other.
Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son!
To a wanderer the faces of all islands
resemble one another. And the mind
trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons,
run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears.
I can't remember how the war came out;
even how old you are--I can't remember.

Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong.
Only the gods know if we'll see each other
again. You've long since ceased to be that babe
before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks.
Had it not been for Palamedes' trick
we two would still be living in one household.
But maybe he was right; away from me
you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions,
and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.

I will continue this list at a later date; at this point I need to get some sleep. Please do share a list of your favorite poets as well!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


On a completely random note, I realized as I went to post today that the previous post was my 250th. Excellent.

I wanted to post another snapshot of my children, and I will hopefully follow it shortly with a literary-inspired post.

My big boy is getting bigger by the second. He has started saying "Yeah" instead of just "yes" and will mostly answer the question "What are you doing?" with a descriptive, truthful response: "I'm making a mess," or "I'm cleaning up," or "I'm checking Daddy's Blackberry." Oops!! My favorite game with him is saying back and forth "I love my boy!" and him saying "I love my Mommy!" Daddy's favorite game is to ask him if he's his buddy and he says yes, or sometimes he will say no and Daddy will pretend to be sad, but then our boy will give him a kiss and say "you're my buddy, Daddy." D'awww.

Being three years old must come with an unwritten agreement to put as much stuff on as possible. Our little guy will usually be wearing his baseball hat and at least one mardi gras-style necklace along with his green rubber rain boots that have froggy faces on the front.

My baby is hardly a baby at all any more. He has two teeth on the bottom, one more coming through on top, and is babbling all the time. Dadadada is a favorite, as is the raspberry and occasionally "mama." He is chewing everything and loves his baby food meals. He sits very well and handles his toys with a lot of dexterity. It will be interesting to see if he ever ends up crawling, since his brother skipped that stage entirely. He adores his older brother and will give him some of the biggest smiles and giggles. Big brother loves him, too. He will often bring him toys and hug and kiss him spontaneously, and will almost always help with something if I ask him to, such as bringing me the Boppy pillow or a burp cloth when it's time to nurse him.

I swear, every time I turn around one of them is doing something new or looks bigger to me. My mom is coming to visit soon and she can't wait to see the boys (understandably!), and I told her that she'll think they're huge, since I think so and I see them every day. I just hope I don't get too wrapped up in the distractions in life to notice the important stuff as often as possible.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On my way...

Again it has been too long since my last post. Forgive me.
I am in the process of signing up to run my marathon with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am close to this charity because my father died of acute myelogenous leukemia when I was in high school. I think he'd be pretty surprised that my brother and I have become marathoners since then, but he'd also be proud.
My baby boy now has two teeth and is apparently working on a few more, as he refused to nurse before bed tonight and screamed his cute little head off for a few minutes instead. Ah well, it's only temporary.
Big brother is cute as ever, still talking our ears off. He spent quite a while today banging away at his little keyboard while wearing 3 Mardi Gras necklaces, a pair of my sunglasses, and a baseball cap. He is mastering the potty and even can tell you what sound a lot of letters make. I'll be excited to see how he does at preschool in the fall.
I'm still thinking on the next poetry challenge. Hopefully some of my old faithful will come back with that one. Of course I always welcome new participants as well!
I had better get going now, though; the boys have been getting up around 7 lately...earlier than they used to let me sleep.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sometimes you're the bug.

A lyric of a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter springs to mind today: "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug." Today was a buggy sort of day. Here's the things I can remember that my toddler did today.
  • After three days being dry in underpants, he came to me after wetting his pants less than an hour after he had gone on the potty. Sigh.
  • He skipped his nap, and when I got in the room after my shower, he was in his brother's crib jumping up and down while his brother screamed with a blanket over his head.
  • He screamed in my face at least three times.
  • He hit me with a stick from his new drum.
  • He pushed me and hit me, while laughing.
  • He moved the pack n' play, and when I started to move it back, he shoved it very hard and knocked a timer off a nearby piece of furniture, breaking it.
  • He climbed up on the kitchen table and shook pepper all over it.
And with that, I will turn in and hope for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy mom-iversary to me!

Tomorrow is my elder son's third birthday. Therefore, it is my third mom-iversary. It is hard to believe that it has already been three years, even though my little boy now runs and jumps and climbs, knows all his colors and numbers up to 12, can sing Twinkle, Twinkle and the ABC song along with bits and pieces of many others at the top of his lungs. His latest thing is to say "Mommy, give me a hug," while holding out his arms. Of course I usually do all I can to comply, but if I need a minute, he will follow up by repeating his request a little more politely: "Mommy, pwease give me a hug." D'awwww.

I remember this time three years ago. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and the next morning at 3:30 AM was my call to be induced at the hospital. We sat around and ate chips and cheese and watched the game and I tried not to get nervous. Of course I was excited to meet my baby, but I had read probably too much about all the things that can happen in labor and I hoped none would happen to me. Luckily, I only had very minor bumps in the road (a blood pressure dip, wearing an oxygen mask because of baby's heart decelerations, baby was sunny-side up and OB had to turn him), and he was born huge (9lbs 5oz) and crying vigorously. While it wasn't easy to start nursing him (he had trouble latching on), I managed it for the first year of his life with the help of a shield. Now he is the sunniest, most lovely little boy I could ever ask for, and is learning to be a great big brother. Just this morning I came into his room and found him standing in his little brother's crib. Because the baby wasn't screaming, I have to think Big Brother was careful when climbing in there to keep him company. I do hope he doesn't make a habit of that (I don't want him falling on his brother!), but it was darned cute.

I have learned so much from my little guys over the past three years. To write it all down would probably take a book, so maybe I'll summarize it to the top 5.
1. Patience. Having children really teaches you to slow down and wait for things to develop. First, because a newborn is a blob and will slowly develop his or her little personality and learn skills like holding his/her head up and smiling at you. Later, because you can't expect your toddler to do everything you want him to the first time you ask, no matter how sweet he is. It is really hard to remember this sometimes when I'm in a hurry or worried that he is taking too long to learn something (like potty training, for instance!), but I like to think that most of the time I am getting much better at it.
2. Creativity. I like to think of myself as a creative type, but having my kids has really helped me to think outside the box. Whether it's just playing with my toddler or trying to convince him to do something he doesn't want to, that right brain is getting a workout. I can't wait to start making up stories with him; he's already trying to come up with pretend-time games.
3. Selflessness. I hope I wasn't really that selfish to start with, but having kids really gets you to think more about them than yourself. I don't mind waiting several hours to eat or not showering until the late afternoon to fit around their nap schedule. I don't mind wiping butts and noses to make sure my babies are taken care of. I have been peed and puked on and I didn't mind one bit. These are my kids and no matter what, I will love them.
4. Happiness. There is nothing like a young child to break up a gloomy mood. I could wake up on the wrong side of the bed after a bad night's sleep, fighting off a cold and being miserable about something that happened the day before, but when I walk into my boys' bedroom, I'm met with a sunny smile from the baby and my toddler chirping, "Hi, Mommy! I'm awake!" How can you not smile at that? If I manage to resist at that point, he will often add, "Mommy can smile?" I think even if I was on fire or missing a limb I could manage a smile for that. 
5. Love. I have always wanted to be a mother, and once I became one, I knew I was right about wanting to be. It's the hardest job I will ever have, but also the most rewarding. To look in my children's eyes and see the joy reflected back to me, even before they can say "I love you," is worth more than any monetary compensation. Those tiny hands cupping my face, those little arms wrapping around my neck, are dearer to me than any jewelry or clothing could be. What people say about your love multiplying, not dividing, when you have more children, is very true. When I had my second son I am sure I felt my heart expand to welcome him in with the same strength of care as I had with my first. I hope they can tell that I love them both the same, which is a whole heck of a lot.

Now I should probably wrap this up before I dissolve in a little pile of emotional goo. But it was fun to reflect on all my kids have taught me so far. They are making me a better person day by day, and I have every confidence that they will continue to do so as long as we live.