" /> Loose Leaf Notes: May 2008 Archives

« April 2008 | Main | June 2008 »

May 31, 2008

Fallen Hem

litterofletters.jpg
Letters catch in our throats
Our pens stitch them down
in a crazy quilt flat
linen language we sew

a fallen hem

From a spell of spinning syllables
a wild woolen tangle
is pinned down
printed and pressed

Our oral tradition
is like an endangered songbird
crowded out by the starling chatter

And we are like old growth forests
replanted in pines
We twist language
distort its limbs

We cough up slogans
like words were money
we were too poor to spend

Voice is a volcano
waiting to erupt
like the weather
we can’t predict

a poet

Honesty is not
a human craft or invention
It’s a force of nature
a prevailing seam

The moon is clipped
from a lopsided sky
My hand is a black crow
with a story to tell

~ Colleen Redman 1995

May 30, 2008

A Wiggle Jiggle Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store

karij.jpg The following was published in the Floyd Press on May 15, 2008

We all work together with a giggle and a grin. With a wiggle and a giggle and a google and a goggle and a jigger and a jagger and a giggle and a grin. ~ Woody Guthrie

It was a jamboree of a different kind at the Floyd Country Store this past Saturday morning when kids from all over the county took to the dance floor to wiggle and giggle to the music of Kari Kovick. Some were students of Kovick’s Early Childhood Music Program. Others came with their parents for the morning’s interactive concert and joined in the infectious fun. Kovick was accompanied by her band, Windfall, which features Dave Fason on banjo and guitar, Rusty May on acoustic bass, and her husband Michael Kovick on fiddle and harmonica. karijam.jpg

Known for her angelic singing voice and her engaging stage presence, Kovick also plays guitar. When babies and young children are in the audience she knows how to tune into them and turn up the volume of fun.

“We didn’t get enough snow this winter, so we made some of our own,” Kovick said from the stage before producing two large bags full of fluffy white balls and emptying them onto the dance floor. She hopped down from the stage, and a snowball fight ensued to the tune of an old time jig played intermittently by Windfall. Every time the band stopped playing, the dancers froze in their places.

Other interactive songs included a tickle game, which parents participated in, and a two part harmony between children in the role of crows and others acting as songbirds. Community is important to Kovick. “Music is a fun way to bring us all together,” she said. She closed the hour-long show with a lullaby, with those who knew the words singing along.snowballs3.jpg

A round of applause was given for the concert sponsors, The Community Foundation of the New River Valley and the Floyd Foundation, when Kovick cited their involvement. Thanks also went to Jackie and Woody Crenshaw for providing the space for musicians and dancers of all ages.

Windfall is scheduled to perform at Oddfellas on May 24th from 6 – 9. When not doing children’s music, the acoustic quartet plays folk, blues, rock, Celtic, as well as old time and bluegrass standards. There website is HERE. ~ Colleen Redman

May 29, 2008

13 Thursday: The Ink is Still Wet

13sidewalk.jpg 1. Printer’s ink is to a writer what gas is to a trucker. And it costs almost as much.

2. If you wake up and get on the computer too early, your typing might look like this: Mpr of ujt uo,t hpy d;; jpg ,tm up bp,t up ujtog dog ph ujt bpimuiy/

3. Ever since Joe got me an Ipod for my birthday, he’s been wanting to have one of our “Dance Parties,” (that’s when we play loud music and dance around in our living room), but I’ve been too busy or tired. Early Memorial Day morning, he was sleeping in. I woke him, saying, “Wake up, Joe. It’s time to have the dance party!” He laughed, turned over, and fell back asleep.

4. I really want THIS for my next birthday.

5. I recently discovered that posting photos of a new baby is good for blog traffic and comments. When I posted some of my first grandchild, Bryce, I got 36 well-wishing comments. Thank you everyone! bluebryce9.jpg

6. This week I sent my niece a letter. She lives on Batman Thumper Road. No kidding.

7. THIS is my favorite Youtube video as of late. I found it after posting THESE Fun House photos (taken at the mirrored elevator at Roanoke Memorial Hospital) and then doing some google research on glass elevators.

8. I had a game of Scrabble with Mara yesterday. Usually when we play, I take notes of things we say -- ideas for poems or blog posts. But this time we talked about sex and crushes and subjects that begin with, “Don’t repeat this to anyone, but …” I never wrote a thing down, not even the score. Mara did that.

9. Joe and I finally had our dance party last night. We danced to My Favorite Mistake by Sheryl Crow, Higher Love by Steve Winwood, Tomorrow People by Ziggy Marley, It's in the Way That You Use it by Eric Clapton, and What’s the Frequency Kenneth by REM (three times).

10. I got tagged by Greenish Lady for this 1-2-3 meme: 1. Pick up the nearest book. 2. Turn to page 123. 3. Find the fifth sentence and post the next three sentences. I picked up Bruce Weigl’s 2000 memoir (still on my desk after meeting him HERE), which deals with his service in the Vietnam War and his later return to the country: I want to tell you how it feels to stroll in a common zone among the people of your life after war. I want to tell you about the faith that it takes to come back and be among the sweetly uninitiated and to live as if calm or sane. Coming back to America, which I still loved in 1968, was like returning to a foreign land. (Let me know if you try this meme so I can come read your page 123.)

11. Claudia from Open Grove audio magazine and Out on a Limb blog has put out a call to book authors to share their experiences with publishing and marketing. She’s interested in collecting information on mainstream publishing, self-publishing, or e-book publishing and hopes to publish a resource guide sharing first hand accounts of what works and doesn’t work when selling books. Details are HERE.

12. My answers to some of Claudia’s questions can be found in these past posts: The Power of Print, Drive by Sales, and The Book: Fulfilling its Higher Purpose. Click on the titles to read more.

13. I feel bad that the photos of my new grandson just went off the front page, which is why I posted the new photo above of Bryce in blue. THIS is my bluest poem.

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.

May 28, 2008

Hats Off to the 2008 Floyd High Graduates

crystalfoundsx.jpg
While at the high school this past Sunday taking photos of the graduation for the local paper, I found my friend Crystal in the crowd of celebrating graduates. Crystal is the daughter of a family who works for the same agency I did, providing foster care for adults with disabilities. We used to dance together when she was young and we were both attending dances hosted by the agency that also organizes Special Olympics in our area.
crystalhat.jpg
I graduated from high school before gowns were made of polyester and before graduating seniors began decorating their caps, which I wasn’t aware that anyone did until my son decorated his for his 1997 high school graduation. I wasn’t able to learn from a google search how and when the cap decorating phenomena began, but I did learn that the flat square part of the cap is called the mortarboard, and I was able to find some good photos of some uniquely decorated ones, like THIS one done in Lego's. If I was graduating today THIS is the tasteful understatement I would go for, or maybe THIS. But I don’t think I could pull THIS off.

Post note: You can read about the graduation in the Floyd Press HERE.

May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Monday Six Word Memoir

We hung the hammock. The end.

Post notes: We actually eventually got out of the hammock to visit with a neighbor who was home from college and had dropped by. Later, we talked insurance with a salesman at the porch picnic table and picked greens from the garden for lunch. Joe shoveled manure and made a compost. I made some long over-due phone calls, cleaned out the bird feeder, and walked to mailbox but got no mail because it was a holiday, after all.

Photo album photos of loved ones enjoying our hammock in the past like we did on Memorial Day yesterday:

shenelson.jpg
1. My sister Sherry and her husband Nelson.
cokath.jpg
2. Me with my sister Kathy.
samham3.jpg
3. My great niece Sam (Kathy's granddaughter) and a four legged friend.
hamm.jpg
4. My dad, who passed away in 2005, and my mother.

What did you do on Memorial Day? More six word memoirs are HERE.

May 26, 2008

The Other Open Mic

openmiccrowd.jpg
Back in the day, the Pine Tavern was a second home to many of us, especially on Sunday night for the Open Mic. It was a weekly meeting place for the alter-native community to socialize, unwind, and dance. The Pine Tavern closed and when it re-opened under new ownership the Open Mic didn’t return. Recently Oddfellas started hosting one on Sunday nights. Unlike the monthly Spoken Word Open Mic I help host at Cafe del Sol, this one mostly features music. Last night, my second time to attend, had the makings of an old home week, with Chef Natasha in the kitchen, a dark beer in hand, and some familiar and new faces on stage.
lavanakeeta.jpg
It was a treat to be entertained by the next generation. I remember Lavanah when she was a toddler. Now she looks like Ani Difranco but has a sweet singing voice without Ani's edge. You can hear her original music on her Myspace page HERE.
justinkeeta.jpg
Sakeeta (right) grew up on the community farm in my neighborhood and was a close friend of my son Josh. With a singing style reminiscent of Kurt Cobain, he paired up with Justin for a rousing set. Later Justin unleashed his Howling Wolf voice, taking prompts from the audience for some on the spot stream of consciousness song and banter.
opnmic.jpg
A man played Bach on the guitar and Mara read some poetry. Meanwhile, Kayla (center) and I played a doodle game where she made a doodle and I added to it and then passed it back to her. I was excited to find a yellow highlighter by the check-out register to borrow, but by the end of the night I was desperate enough for a red pen to ask everyone in the restaurant if they had one. I'd post the doodle here if I had it because it came out pretty good, except for the fact that it was missing some red.
bernjayetc.jpg
P.S. Bernie (well known musician on the left who I wrote about in January) had the night off.

May 25, 2008

Think Outside the Box

photoingjosh2.jpg
1. Double Take
headless.jpg
2. Triple Threat
elev.jpg
3. Double Trouble
elevat.jpg
4. One for the Fun House of it

May 23, 2008

Vision Quest: The Floyd Movie

camronroo2.jpg It was like a scene out of Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, like the filming of a Merry Prankster adventure. It was a “Vision Quest,” in the form of a film by local artist Starroot, premiered at the June Bug Center’s Black Box Theater last night.

Filmed and directed by Cameron Nelson, the movie combined a series of paintings Starroot did for her daughter with music that she and her Galactic Band recorded during a live performance of the “Vision Quest Multi Media” show at Baylees in Blacksburg. Music from Starroot’s CD’s “Yellow Magnetic Sun” and “Red Cosmic Dragon," and Starroot reading her poetry were also part of the soundtrack. She and Cameron enlisted the help of friends to act out and “get into” the paintings. Darcy Marsh portrays Starroot’s daughter Johanna in the film.

A Vison Quest is a Native American rite of passage, traditionally taken just before puberty, which involves spending time alone in nature with the intention of discovering a new life direction. In the May Museletter (community newsletter), Starrroot announced the showing of the film and explained how her daughter, Johanna, asked for help with a Vision Quest when she was twenty years old. Johanna’s request inspired Starroot to paint a series of twenty paintings with a Vision Quest theme. About the film, she said, “We had lots of fun as we created a film with a surreal, beautiful feeling in a simple low tech production style.”

The movie was filmed last summer and fall in settings around Floyd County, many of which were familiar to some in the audience. roo2.jpgThe majority of the audience (which included a number of Merry Prankster artist types) didn’t know the film was being made before it was announced and were surprised that some of the actors were also recognizable to them.

When the credits rolled, I was shocked to see that even my name was included. Over ten years ago I was one of a group who participated in a jam session in Root’s studio. My friend Jayn, Root, and I played the Jew’s harp, which ended up on one of her CD’s and then in the Vision Quest movie. I haven’t played the Jew’s harp since.

At the question and answer period at the end of the film Root and Cameron explained how props were made and how scenes were filmed. Root introduced the actors who were present, calling them up on the stage.

Psychedelic, Cosmic, Galactic, Shamanic and Harmonic. Starroot’s art, music, and now her film draw from her study of the Mayan calendar, as interpreted by Jose Arguelles, Native American teacher, author, and founder of Planet Art. Starroot once co-hosted Arguelles to speak in Floyd.

Photo: Cameron Nelson and Starroot. Hear a Jew's Harp HERE.

May 22, 2008

Thirteen Slices of Life

SIPS.jpg 1. I find myself going to my own blog just to look at photos of my new grandson.

2. While in the hospital visiting my son, daughter-in-law, and their new baby, I saw an old clip on the hospital TV of Anita Bryant getting hit in the face with a pie. When I got home, I googled pie-throwing to learn more about its history. It began as slapstick shtick in silent movies and later became a way to make a political statement. I know Anita was out to lunch, but pie all over her face?

3. What would you do if someone threw a pie in your face? Anita prayed for the pie thrower, Thomas Friedman walked off stage, Ralph Nader threw it back, and Ann Coulter (successfully) ran away.

4. Some people have no taste and will use others misfortune to make a joke. I’ve seen some comments on the internet recently suggesting that Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor might have been responsible for his endorsement of Barack Obama. Kennedy (whose grandparents once owned a home in Hull, Massachusetts, where I grew up) has said that he endorsed Obama because Obama inspires him and reminds him of another time in history and someone else who inspired others, his brother JFK. Kennedy also said this about Obama as president: I believe we will move beyond the politics of fear and personal destruction and unite our country with the politics of common purpose.

5. I hope he lives to see it.

6. This is the poem I posted yesterday: A muse infused … pot full of tea … must be why Buddha … is smiling. And this is how Edgar Allen Poe would edit the same poem: A muse infused pot full of agony; even in the GALLOWS! In a swoon-- fables I saw!

7. Lewis Carroll: A muse infused pot full of tea must be called an egg. You sha'n't be beheaded! Get your own poems edited by Poe, Carroll, Mark Twain, Hunter Thomas, and even God and Dr. Seuss HERE.

8. Virginia Senator Jim Webb is also a novelist. He said this about being writer to Terry Gross in a recent NPR interview: I’m principally a writer. The process of writing is the same analytical process that I use in making decisions in the Senate … I’m able to take some of these complex issues and deal with them the same way you do as a writer, which is, you think about them, you interview people, you take your time in terms of coming to a conclusion, but then when you write it down you know you have to live with it. I basically am, in my persona, a writer, someone who likes to think deeply and go on the record as clearly as I can.

9. He also said this about his stint in the Naval Academy where he minored in Literature: I started reading the people that I thought were the greats, people like Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Faulkner. One of the things that really jumped out at me was how few of them had a formal education. If you were going to go out and get a PHD in literature, you become an expert on a theme or a person, but if you’re going to create, if you’re going to write you have to go out and live.

10. And he can write. During the interview he read this opening paragraph from his 1978 novel, Fields of Fire, about a character named Snake who was about to roll a heroin addict: There he went again. Smack man came unfocused in the middle of a word. The unformed syllable of dribble of bubbly spit along his chin and leaned forward that sudden rush of ecstasy so slow and deep it put him out. His knees bent a little and he stood there motionless, styled-out in a violet suit and turquoise high heeled shoes. He had the wave and his hair was so perfectly frozen in place that he seemed a mimic sculpture of himself, standing there all still with scag. The whole interview was good. Listen HERE.

11. Joe and I once thought of opening a shop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, selling baked goods and renting bikes. We’d call it “The Bikery.”

12. Pie goes good with tea but not if the pie’s in the sky or in the face.

13. Have you met Patry at Simply Wait? She’s a wonderful writer who bakes blueberry pies for her muse.

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.
#134

May 21, 2008

A Small Sip of Poem

greenpot.jpg
A muse infused
pot full of tea
must be why Buddha
is smiling

May 20, 2008

A Grand Trine Alignment

bday8x.jpg My birthday this year was like a Grand Trine alignment. That’s when three planets converge into a triangular configuration and, according to the principles of astrology, usher in an expansion of creativity, optimism, and good energy.

In my recent life orbit, the Grand Trine time started with the celebration of Mother’s Day. Three days later, my first grandchild, Bryce Gabriel, was born. Three days after that, it was my birthday. Three events, spread out three days apart, brought family connections, fun, awe, and almost more excitement than I could contain. teaparty.jpg

But the excitement wasn’t limited to three days; it has spread out into a season. In between Bryce’s birth on May 14th and my birthday on May 17th, I attended a birthday lunch at Oddfellas as one in a party of three women whose birthdays fall within days of each other. We were carrying on a tradition started long ago, in which we share our birthdays in Grand Trine, Triple Goddess style. It began in our neighborhood with Diane, Dolphin, and me. Gretchen (above on the left) is the newest mid-May birthday member, filling in for Dolphin who is currently living in Alaska. In years past we have worn roses, peonies, and purple irises in our hair. This year it was late blooming lilacs.

At the third Saturday Spoken Word night, which happened to fall on my actual birthday, I was serenaded with poetry written by friends. tp.jpg Earlier that day, I was gifted and pampered by Joe with flowers, foot rubs, presents, and two master chef carrots cakes by Kelly Erb, the ones I wait all year for.

On Sunday, the day after my birthday, a TeaPoet Party was held in my honor. It was hosted by the High Priestess of High Tea, my friend Katherine, and was attended by a intimate group of dear friends, two of whom traveled from outside the neighborhood to surprise me.

“A tea buffet!” I exclaimed when I saw the teapots lined up on the counter. tpartypt.jpg We each had a pot-full of dark and musty, sweet and fruity, toasted, roasted, rosy, black, green, or white tea to sample and share. There were English crumpets with jam and cream and butterfly china cups with handles of wings. A red silk beaded shawl gifted to me by my friend Juniper was draped around my shoulders. It worked well as a queenly prop, giving me the confidence to graciously receive gifts of conversation, poetry, pottery, and original art.

Ah … Rich in friendship and love, I am brimming, still smiling, and now starting to rest.

Photos: 1. Gretchen, Colleen, Diane. 2. Katherine, Jayn, Colleen, Juniper, Alwyn is sitting.

May 19, 2008

The Baroness of Birthday, The Countess of Coffee, and Justin the Jousting MC

may17sw.jpg Contrary to Tom Ryan's Floyd Enquirer report of a full contact mud wrestling poetry slam for the title of High Priestess of Poetry, there was no mud, or even mud pies, at May's Spoken Word night at the Café Del Sol. There wasn't even any chocolate cake, which might have been expected considering that it was my birthday.

No mud pies, no chocolate; but there were poems, some of which were written for me in celebration of my birthday. No mud slinging, no slamming, no world titles were won; but there were words, a limerick, storytelling, and stand-up comedy.

In Tom Ryan's satirical mind, I'm known as Colleen "Soul Crusher," which I suspect refers to the fact that reading my book The Jim and Dan Stories made him cry. Fitting of that title, I read a seven minute essay of the tearjerker variety, swlimmerickx.jpgbut not before waving a picture of my new grandchild and bragging about his good looks to the audience.

Mara Robbins, referred to as Mara "Drama O-Rama" by Tom, did a dramatic limerick with Rosemary Wyman that they had written over a Scrabble board especially for me: There once was a colleen from Floyd ... who didn't get pissed off or annoyed ... but she had a goal ... of crushing your soul ... behavior that's best left to Freud.

Café owner Sally Walker, who Tom calls the Countess of Coffee, excused herself as MC with a note, claiming that she was consoling her husband Frank who was in hiding after being outed by Tom. Mara read Sally's note to the crowd, which closed by saying that (seeing as how she is the Countess of Coffee and all) she would get back to work as soon she pleases. sw.jpg

Justin Winters grabbed up a large green and white golf umbrella that was leaning against the wall and, using it as a mock microphone, filled in for Sally. Reading the names off the sign-up sheet, he called us up one-by-one to the mic, alternating ad-libbed stand-up with his master of ceremonies duties. He also performed an original poetic rap when his own name, which he pronounced in a French accent, came up on the list.

Jayn Avery had a new poem written while selling pottery at the Roanoke Market earlier in the day. Rose Cherrix wondered why she brought a white feather until she heard me read my piece, in which both black and white feathers played roles. At the end of the night, she gifted me with her perfect white feather in honor of my new grandson Bryce Gabriel.
swgroup.jpg
In the background, we occasionally heard evidence of the Young Actors Co-op Production of "The Amazing Wonderful Theatre Variety Show" being performed in the back of the building, in the Winter Sun Hall. Some of us, some of time claimed their applause as our own, even though there was plenty of clapping in our part of the building. (I wondered if any of the young actors took bows to our applause.)

Felicia Mitchell, one of the readers at the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative and the Floyd Writers Circle poetry swap at the Floyd Country Store last month, drove an hour and a half from another part of Virginia to read her poetry, which was well received. Hayden Polseno-Hensley returned to the mic with a poetic list of do's and don'ts. swscra.jpgHe spent part of the night in the café and part next door at the YAC Variety Show, where a skit he had written was being performed.

Chelsea Adams dedicated her six word memoirs to me, after I read a group of them last month and challenged others to write some. Her prophetic poem written on the morning of April 16, before the Tech shooting, was chilling. Sam and his wife played Scrabble when he wasn't reading from his chapbook. Rose's son, Abraham, told a funny story about oysters being confused with ponies on Chincoteague Island. hayden.jpg Two first time readers braved the mic.

Katherine Chantal, who Tom has named "TeaTime" Chantal should have won a prize for being number one on the sign up sheet of thirteen readers. It was a first, going first for her.

Photos: 1. Katherine reading in the background to the birthday girl in the foreground who turned around to listen right after this was shot was taken. 2. Mara and Rosemary perform a singing telegram limerick to Colleen. 3. Mara and Justin enjoy the show. 4. It was a good turnout. Chelsea up front. 5. Sam's wife had two seven letter bingos. 6. Hayden about to make us laugh.

May 17, 2008

The Birthday Porch Vacation

bdaylilac2.jpg It involved sun and birdsong, lilacs and a single purple iris. Joe was gone before I woke up, to a meditation retreat in town. When I saw the card and presents he left for me on the table, I thought, ‘I just might like presents wrapped more than I like them open.’ The mystery and shining possibility were qualities I wanted to savor, just like the quiet of the morning. After Mother’s Day, followed by first grandchild’s birth, and my own birthday right after that, I was ready to touch ground again and walk barefoot in my garden. I needed to land slowly and let myself be nostalgic, to look through photos albums of my sons when they were babies, let gratitude and sadness stir, and bittersweet tears rise. So many gifts. Did I have room to receive even more?

In The Meantime: In one of my son’s baby books, I discovered this transcribed exchange between my sons on my 40th birthday when they were ten and seven. Josh (jokingly): Mum, you’re getting old. Pretty soon we’ll have to call you Grandma. Dylan (adamantly): Oh, yeah, then why’s she still so pretty!”

Mara just called and asked me how old I was. “Old enough to be a grandmother,” I answered. More on that HERE. Other Sunday Scribblings written via the prompt “soar” are HERE, and a spoken word poem I wrote about turning 50 (posted on May 17th 2005) is HERE.

May 16, 2008

Ten Fingers and Toes

brycefoot.jpg
1. I now have a folder on my desktop titled “Bryce Gabriel.”
bclose.jpg
2. He was born May 14, 2008 at 2:45 a.m. weighing a whopping nine pounds and a couple of ounces, just like his dad, Dylan, did when he was born in 1982.
familyshot.jpg
3. I used up all the memory space on my camera and ran down the battery taking photos at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. That's mom and dad and Bryce's big sister Kaylee in the above photo.
joshb3x.jpg
4. First time uncle, Josh thought he was going to be making pottery that morning but changed his plans when he heard the news and drove from Asheville to Roanoke to meet Bryce.
colb2.jpg
5. I put my reading glasses on so I could clearly see every wisp of wonder and read every facial expression on his 13 hour old face.
jb.jpg
6. "He’s so cute!!! OMG! He's the cutest baby I've seen in a long time. He’s a living doll! He’s brilliant! I’m so happy for them, and Wow!” were some of the comments from other family members after seeing the photos I emailed that night. A video Joe took of me meeting my grandson is HERE.

May 15, 2008

13 Thursday: Poet at Work

poetatwork.jpg1. The moon is poetry to the sun’s prose, shining indirectly but penetrating deeply.

2. Why do so many writers hold their hand up to the side of their face in their book jacket photos? Have you ever posed like that in the mirror just to see how it looks?

3. Comment to my blog friend Bonnie after seeing a photo of the work soil preparation she’s doing on her garden: “I’ll be posting a dirty picture of me soon.” HERE

4. I’ve been alternating gardening and writing and thinking how much typos are like weeds and weeds are like typos that I have to edit out.

5. “Our real poems are already in us and all we can do is dig,” said Jonathan Galassi.

6. My upstairs computer turns itself on when the phone rings. I just figured out that I can call myself in the morning before going up to work so that the computer is warmed up and read to go.

7. Mara on graduation ceremonies: I love the circumstance but not the pomp.

8. Obama on McCain: We can’t afford to let John McCain serve out George Bush’s third term.

9. And I am stuffed with facts … overweight with the nightly news …. Poetry is the bell … that saves me from being all consumed. ~ From Political Prose is Hard Labor by Colleen

10. Can you Dig THIS?

11. What has the world come to? If you type “muse” in an image search THIS comes up. So does THIS.

12. I have an imaginary poetry troupe called the Edgar Allen Poets.

13.You don’t need a fridge to play with THIS virtual poetry.

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.

May 14, 2008

A Pupil of Poetry

eyem.jpg
I’m a mandala in your eye
a sunflower dancing
on a black scrying mirror
where the sun and moon
are lovers

May 13, 2008

Down Home

town.jpg
1. Downtown Floyd
checkitout.jpg
2. Upside Down Floyd
cgarden2xsz.jpg
3. Down to Earth
scarec.jpg
4. Downright cute

1. Changes in downtown Floyd: Joe at the new sitting wall with the new timber framed public bathroom building in the background.

2. Someone was having fun with the window at the renovation for the Village Square. See another funny scene at the same window HERE.

3. Mounding potatoes in my garden.

4. Notice the name on the hat, same as my last name. Must be a second cousin. I didn't know we had scarecrows in the family.

May 12, 2008

A Mother’s Day Farm Tour

fullcirlce.jpg The following was published in The Floyd Press on May 15, 2008.

The rain didn’t deter garden lovers from participating in the Mother’s Day Farm Tour at Full Circle and Five Penny Farms in Floyd this past Sunday. Traffic up and down the long dirt driveway into Full Circle Farm for the open house event was steady in spite of weather.

The Farm Tour, now in its 4th year, has been growing in attendance each year. “We had about two hundred visitors last year,” said Tenley Weaver (pictured in blue shirt and boots). Weaver runs the certified organic farm off Spangler Mill Road with her partner, Dennis Dove. “I grow the flowers and herbs and Dennis does the vegetables,” she said.

It seems that flowers and garden greenery go hand in hand with Mother’s Day. One family shopping for plants traveled up to Floyd from Roanoke after meeting Dove recently at the Roanoke Natural Food Store and hearing about the Farm Tour from him. Enjoying their Mother’s Day outing, the family was purchasing plant seedlings for their garden. “We’re trying to go organic,” the mother said.
vegt.jpg
Weaver and Dove are not only full-time market growers; they operate Good Food-Good People, a local fresh produce distributing network. “It’s a private cooperative business,” Weaver said. “We represent twenty-five to thirty growers from the backyard farmer to bigger farms. We wholesale to restaurants in Blacksburg, Roanoke, the New River Valley, on the Parkway, and to health food stores,” she explained.

The Full Circle Farm Tour featured several large greenhouses filled with flowers, herbs, and vegetables starts. Booth displays of local products overlooked rows of growing greens and included those from Weathertop Farms, Brights Farm and Chef Natasha Shishkevish. A horse pull activity was canceled because of the rain, but Abe Goorsky played fiddle in the early part of the day, Weaver reported.

Pointing out pots of pineapple and tangerine sage, Weaver broke a leaf off from one of the plants to release its aroma. “It’s not like turkey sage,” she said. “It’s used for culinary purposes and it makes a nice tea,” she added. Everything grown on the Full Circle Farm is edible, even the flowers. There were pansies, nasturtiums, snap dragons, and calendula.
fivepenngplay.jpg
“My goal is to grow every culinary herb that any chef could want,” Weaver said. She also runs Greens Garage, which provides local products to the neighborhood and to word-of-mouth traffic. The Garage, described by Weaver as “a farm stand and more,” is open year-round and sells fresh organic and biologically-grown vegetables, local free range and grass fed beef and pork, local honey, fresh eggs, regional cheeses, and more.

When asked if there’s ever a lull in the farm work, Weaver said, “It never slows down.” In the winter months she focuses on sales and marketing, and “lots of meetings” to coordinate with GFGP members who will be growing what in the upcoming year.

The sun broke out in the afternoon. At Five Penny Farm on Thomas Farm Road, two musicians performed on the deck of the wooden building that will soon house “The Shooting Creek Brewery.” The Brewery, on the Blue Ridge Wine Trail, has a planned grand opening in June, said farm owner Johanna Nichols. The farm, now in its fourth year of operation, is certified organic. hopsfp.jpg

Children played on the grounds, a dog stretched out on the grass, and shoppers mulled through the hanging baskets of flowers and trays of leafy green farm grown plants. Some of the Farm Tour goers strolled up and down the rows of growing hop plants. The plants, prickly vines climbing up a string pole fence, will be used in special seasonal brews, Five Penny co-owner Brett Nichols said. ~ Colleen Redman

Note: The first two photos were taken at Full Circle Farm and the second two at Five Penny Farm.

May 11, 2008

Mother’s Day

loftd.jpg
Friend: Colleen, has the baby come yet?
Me: No, but they’re coming up to Floyd today, so I’ll get to see the belly.
loftdak.jpg
My son Dylan, his wife Alexis, and her daughter Kaylee treated me to lunch for Mother’s Day. After lunch, we had tea and coffee at the Blackwater Loft (pictured above), followed by a selection of chocolates from Nancy’s Candy in the Village Green. The baby boy (my first grandchild) is due any day.

Post notes: In other news, my friend Elisha’s Blessingway was cancelled today because she went into labor. Joe and I watched “August Rush” last night, which turned out to be a tearjerker about a reunion of a mother and son. I'm supposed to be headed over to Full Circle Farm to take photos of their Mother's Day Open House Plant Sale, but it's raining.

May 10, 2008

New Day News

rosemaryathome.gif~ The following was published in the Floyd Press on May 1, 2008.

Rosemary Wyman's business, New Day, has been providing home health care and support to individuals and their families since 2005. The business is a natural extension of a life long interest of Wyman's.

"Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say a nurse," Wyman, a tomboy who grew up in New York, said. "The only reason I played with dolls was to use them as patients," she added.

Wyman and her family moved to Floyd from Charlotte, North Carolina in 1999. She and her husband, Walter Charnley, have been parents to eight in a blended family that Wyman refers to as, "his, mine, and ours."

Certified in hospice and as a palliative nurse assistant, Wyman has extensive experience with end of life care and has been educating others about this life passage. She's worked for Good Samaritan Hospice in Roanoke and has done fill-in work at The Beulah Hospice House in Dublin. Although she's provided care to a number of Alzheimer patients - including her own father - and has a special interest in the needs of the aging population, not all her clients are elderly. Last year Wyman provided care for two young women with terminal illnesses.

Tom Vangunten, who lost his wife, Laura, to cancer last fall thinks the contribution Wyman makes is "invaluable." Like Wyman, he believes people would benefit from more education and preparation for end of life.

"We don't prepare for death. I can't believe I got to be forty-nine and didn't know a thing about this. I think grief and loss should be taught in school along with Driver's Ed and how to balance your check book," he said.

Vangunten, who is now a single parent to his and his wife's two young sons, explains how the support Wyman offered was for the whole family. "For people dealing with terminal illness, it affects everyone in your family. It's helpful if you have someone who can guide you through it. What Rosemary did was invaluable. She coordinated with doctors and other care givers, and provided the personal. What ever needed to be done - if someone needed a hug - she stepped-up," he said.

Many families dealing with the terminal illness of a loved one need more support than the one or two hours a day a hospice worker provides. New Day can offer what Wyman refers to as "hospice support." While she gives direct care to clients - which might include bathing, wound dressing, and assisting with pain management - much of Wyman's work is more subtle than that. Her presence often has a calming effect because she accepts people from where they are and can approach each new situation without family history, she says. "Sometimes things not being addressed can be addressed easier with someone outside the family. I like to go in like a breath of fresh air."

Not all of Wyman's clients are dealing with a terminal illness. Riner resident, Betty Bowman has a handicap that inhibits her balance and mobility. betty7.jpg Wyman visits her one day a week to clean, organize, assist with personal care and grooming, and whatever else Bowman needs.

"She takes me to the doctor and the grocery store," Bowman said. When asked if Wyman helps with cooking, Bowman explained that since her mother died four years ago she's been heating up frozen dinners in the microwave for herself; although she did remember a delicious bean salad that Wyman prepared from a recipe Bowman provided.

"Cleaning and cooking equal care. Whatever makes someone feel better is care," Wyman said, recalling a day she spent washing one client's entire knick knack collection. "Sometimes people feel better when their homes are clean and their lives are organized," she added.

Since the inception of New Day, Wyman has worked with approximately twenty clients. Some have been referred to her by other agencies, but most come by word of mouth. Although she provides services considered typical in her field, sometimes her work involves the unusual and requires some on the spot problem solving.

On one such occasion, she was flown to NY to transport a local family's elderly aunt, who had broken an ankle and was in rehab, back to Floyd. Upon arriving in New York and after locating the woman's apartment, Wyman packed a month's worth of whatever she thought the woman might need. She then negotiated the transport, first with rehab staff, and then with overzealous airport security, all the while reassuring the woman - who didn't know Wyman - that everything was okay. Her short term memory was failing but "she had a great sense of humor," Wyman remembered.

Support for care givers is an important component of Wyman's work. In 2004, after being approached by Our Lady of the Valley, an assisted Living and Nursing Care facility in Roanoke, Wyman presented an "Intuitive Emotional Clearing" workshop for care givers that involved guiding them through the use of creative outlets, such as music, art, and movement. Wyman has also facilitated the formation of a "Share the Care" circle in Floyd, based on the book of the same name. She says when she first saw the book, which outlines a step-by-step model for organizing group care for someone ill, she knew it was "the wave of the future."

Another aspect of the educational side of Wyman's work played out when she participated in a day long event called "Successful Elder Care," hosted by the Social Justice Committee of the Lutheran Churches of Floyd. She had planned to share a presentation about home assessment for people with limitations, something she and her husband do together, but ended up talking about Alzheimer care when another workshop leader who was scheduled to do that was unable to attend. Wyman remembers a fellow-presenter at the event who cited a Virginia Tech study on the growing needs of the aging population. "It was sobering," she remarked.

Following her involvement in the Zion Lutheran Church day of resource sharing, Wyman embarked on a new venture, "End of Life Development," with the intention of building on the educational outreach aspect of her work. Immediate plans include the formation of an advisory board made up of various professionals, social workers, doctors, clergy, and nurses - to determine what the greatest needs are for the aging population, she says. She also envisions workshops on how to manage progressive care, advance medical directives, and to set up proxy care for decision making. "Plans should be made before we are in crisis," she said.

Last month Wyman received non-profit status as a subsidy of the Community Educational Resource Cooperative (CERC) for "End of Life Development," along with a small seed grant. This support will be instrumental in assisting her educational initiatives in the community. It will also be helpful in allowing her do what she does best: easing the discomfort and grief of others and making it more viable for individuals at the end of life to remain home with their loved ones. "I consider every day spent at home a success. And sometimes you have to count these successes in days," Wyman says. ~ Colleen Redman

May 9, 2008

A Trifecta of Bloom

1.jpg
1. For a small window of time in the spring, three blooms converge in symphony of color in the corner of my yard.
x.jpg
2. Dogwood, azalea, and baby irises come in one after the other, and for a week or two they co-exist together like the colorful layered fruit of an English trifle.
az42.jpg
3. I especially love this winning combination because all the players are wild. A purple carpet of naturalized irises circles the white blossomed dogwood tree, while wild azaleas spin around it like a pink skirt. I’ve take dozens of pictures at different times of day and in different weather but none of them do the scene justice. It’s a like a poem that needs to be heard out loud, a living beauty that needs to be seen face to face to be fully enjoyed.

Post note: Happy Birthday to my brother Johnny.

May 8, 2008

Breaking the Thirteen Thursday Time Barrier

13moonx.jpg 1. I was recently typing the name of my book of poems, Muses Like Moonlight, and typed "Mooses Like Moonlight" by mistake.

2. Written on the inside on my latest notebook: Note to self – in writing.

3. I can understand why my youtube video of the Hokie Wave Cheer at the Dave Matthews and John Meyer concert at VA Tech has gotten nearly 2,000 hits. What I don’t understand is why THIS video has gotten almost as many.

4. I wasn’t kidding about getting drunk on the aroma of apple blossoms while visiting an orchard on the Parkway HERE. The next day I even had a hangover from breathing all that pollen.

5. I was sipping tea on the front porch today when a cloud of pollen that looked like smoke passed by. It caused me to question for a second whether I was crazy enough to have lit the wood stove and forgot. I didn’t think so because it was nearly 80 degrees.

6. Mara says we need to bring some mud to our next spoken word night. Her idea was prompted by reading Tom Ryan’s latest issue of The Floyd Enquirer, in which he reported this: A full contact mud wrestling poetry slam has been scheduled for the title “High Priestess of Poetry”. The crowd favorite seems to be Mara “Drama-O-Rama” Robbins but the smart money is split between Colleen “Soul Crusher” Redman & Katherine “TeaTime” Chantal.

7. And about Floyd Fest, there was this Tomfoolery by Tom: It was nice to see that Kris & Erika were able to negotiate a “non-presence” of the Federal Interdiction Anti-Fun Force at this year’s festival (Floyd Fest). I was a little taken aback, however, to learn of the myriad compromises they made in reaching that accord. Changing the festival theme from “A Family Affair” to “A Family Values Affair” was bad enough but allowing Pat Robertson to M.C. and letting Dick Cheney sit in with Donna The Buffalo to perform “Ubber Deutschland” are bound to have a chilling effect on the festivals ambiance. I guess I can learn to live with these concessions but I was aghast at The National Rifle Association becoming the primary sponsor & forcing all staff to wear “Don’t Inhale” T-shirts. You can read the full online tell-all HERE.

8. A real 9/ll Call: "We made brownies and I think we’re dead.” More of this hilarity is HERE.

9. Michael Moore on Larry King talking about Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright: Jeez, you know, I mean I go to Mass still. I'm a practicing Catholic. I've been that way all my life. But if I had -- if I had gotten up every time I heard a priest from the pulpit in my travels around the country say things like I've heard them say, that birth control is a sin, that women should not be priests, that women should have a different role in church ... I would have been walking out so much -- that would have been so much aerobic activity for me ... I wouldn't look like this.

10. In the nearly three years I’ve been doing Thirteen Thursday, I actually forgot it was Thursday once and posted on Friday. My excuse: “I thought yesterday was Wednesday, which would make today Thursday, but of course it’s really Friday. Everybody says so."

11. Have you seen the human clock? It runs continuously and changes ever moment with photo scenes people have sent in from around the world telling the time.

12. Also from my Thirteen Thursday on Friday: "I’ve always been fascinated by the group mind that humans share, which causes us to agree about certain things like what day of the week it is, or to stay in our own lane on the right side of the road while driving down a highway. What would happen if we completely dropped out and forgot these collective agreements?"

13. In August 2006 I wrote this: “I think of blogging as rapid fire target practice. Doing it daily, I can't help but improve my writer's aim, but sometimes my arm gets tired!” Hey, I guess that means I should have carpal tunnel by now.

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here.

May 7, 2008

Irish Night at Oddfellas

tableodd2.jpg
1. A front row seat at the First Friday Irish Night Jam at Oddfellas Cantina.
lucyg.jpg
2. Lucy Goldman Singing Dougie Mclean’s “Ready for the Storm.” Tina Liza Jones (on the left) was strumming an unusual guitar; I think it was THIS.
redhatfiddle.jpg
3. Several played fiddle and one played a harp. I wish someone in the group played THIS, an instrument that when played well can bring tears to my eyes.

May 6, 2008

Once Upon a Time

shakepoembl.jpgMy introduction into the world of archetypes came when I was a girl by way of fairytales and nursery rhymes. To this day Rumplestilskin and the Snow Queen repeatedly show up in my poetry. When I first saw the kiln at the university where my potter son was a student, memories were stirred of Hansel and Gretel pushing the witch that had imprisoned them into the oven. When I'm in the garden, I watch rabbits and wonder which one is Peter. Because of the story of Cinderella, a pumpkin will always be magical to me.

In all native cultures there are stories and creation myths to illustrate truths that can't easily be grasped directly. Jesus used parables to teach. Professor of Mythology, Joseph Campbell said, "A myth is a lie that tells the truth."

Growing up in a working class family, the literature available to me was How Now Brown Cow and the stories of Hans Christian Anderson. All summer long I tested the meter of language with jump rope and bouncing ball songs. My mostly Irish father spouted nursery rhymes, both traditional and made up. Ours was an oral tradition of reading, reciting, and singing out loud.

As a girl I always held out hope that I would hear the nightingale's song in the woods. I guarded myself against adults who could have been the Snow Queen in disguise. Whenever I went out walking, I had the urge to drop bread crumbs to mark the way. Rhymes like Hey Diddle Diddle the cat and the Fiddle fostered an early love of sound and world play.

Fairytales and nursery rhymes also gave me access into an inner life. They provided a context of meaning for the unexplained mysteries. Themes played out in fairytales - fate, survival, temptation, loss, courage, fear, and perseverance - are all the ingredients that make for good storytelling. Stories mirror life and give insight into the underpinnings of it.

May 5, 2008

Specialty Gardens: Making Dreams Come True

pamtree.jpg The following appeared in the All About Her regional newspaper insert on May 1, 2008.

Appreciating nature in our own backyard can be a first step to being a good steward of the earth. Pam Cadmus, owner of Specialty Garden Design, wants more people to enjoy their home surroundings. “We don’t love our habitat enough,” she said.

Sitting on a white wooden bench in the front yard of her Floyd County home, daffodils and hellebores were in bloom as she explained the evolution of her landscaping business.

Raised in New York, Pam moved from California to Floyd in 1978. “I wanted to be part of a community and to take care of myself in a real way,” she said. Soon she was growing vegetables and chopping wood.

In 1979 Pam became the branch librarian of the Floyd library when it was housed in the basement of the Floyd County courthouse. Her job as librarian continued after the move to the new Jessie Peterman Memorial Library building. She also served as librarian in Blacksburg for four years, and is currently on the board of the Floyd County Library Building Fund, which recently oversaw a building expansion.

Pam liked being a librarian, but often found herself looking out the window, dreaming of starting an herb garden or something similar that would allow her to work outside.

In 1997 she created the “Specialty Garden Design” business logo and set about to manifest her dream, one garden at a time. “When I hit fifty, it was do or die,” she said. Initially, she had a partner but became sole owner a couple of years into the business. flrsp%5Bam.jpg

It’s easy to see that Pam has a special affection for dwarf conifers, which feature prominently in her home gardens. “They give color, texture, and form all year round,” she said, pointing them out and spouting off the names and varieties like a horticultural whiz. She’s also fond of ornamental grasses and frequently includes them in designs to compliment perennials, flowering trees, and shrubs.

Specialty Garden Design, now in its 11th year, has grown mostly by word of mouth. Although most of Pam’s work is residential, she has designed for local restaurants and an arts and crafts center. She has clients from all over the region, including Blacksburg’s Virginia Tech professor and renowned poet, Nikki Giovanni.

“We work together finding ways to create natural habitats for birds. Nikki loves birds,” Pam said.

According to Pam’s website, specialtygardendesign.com, she works closely with the experienced gardener, the novice, and everyone in between. Her work includes designs for small and large properties, ponds, patios, walls, and walkways. She has created formal entrances, English borders, and native landscapes.

In 2002, when Floyd’s Harvest Moon Food Store moved to a new and expanded location, Pam designed and installed showcase gardens on the grounds, working alongside the small crew she employs. A member of the Virginia Society of Landscape Gardens, she was the recipient of the 2005 Town of Blacksburg Award for Design/Landscaping.

The fifteen acre property Pam and her husband have owned since 1982 has about two acres of gardens, including a vegetable plot. She uses slow releasing organic fertilizers and stresses the importance of watering when plants are getting established. pamhousll.jpg When asked about pesticides, she said, “There’s no substitute for getting on your hands and knees and weeding, pulling up weeds at the roots.” She recommends using mulch to control weeds and hold in moisture and has confirmed that a half buried cat food can filled with beer will keep the slug population down. “Slugs like Bud Light and Coors Light, so you can go cheap,” she joked.

Now that she’s 60, Pam is thinking about the next phase of her business plan. She wants to do more design and less installation and hopes to start a nursery of dwarf conifers and ornamental grasses. But she doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Spring is one of her busiest seasons. At home, she’s moving one garden to make room for an addition to the house and has plans for a wildflower meadow.

Another upcoming project will bring Pam back to the library. Using plants that have been donated by local nurseries, she and another landscaper have volunteered to do the landscaping at the new Jessie Peterman Library addition.

By assisting homeowners to fulfill their visions of creating beautiful surroundings, Pam has made more than her own dream come true. Her talent for enhancing the inherent richness of private and public environments benefits us all, encouraging us to enjoy nature and to spend more time outside. ~ Colleen Redman

May 4, 2008

Apple Blossom Time

treespkay.jpg
1. Last May I hiked down into the abandoned orchard, where Joe and I pick apples in the fall, to see the trees in bloom. But because of a late freeze, there wasn’t a single a bloom on a single tree. Disappointed, I trudged back out of the valley knowing there wouldn’t be a single apple in the fall, and there wasn’t.
applplkway2.jpg
2. After seeing that the crabapple tree in our yard was in bloom, I knew it was time. We parked the truck on the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiked down to the orchard.
collspple2.jpg
3. We were giddy with delight at what we found, a spectacular abundance of bloom. Where last year I felt life’s frailty, now I felt its fertility. How magical to think that every flower would be transformed into an apple -- winter food, pies, and crisp -- and that each seed from each piece of fruit could become another tree.
jappl2.jpg
3. Our favorite tree at the bottom of the valley looked like a bride in gown of lacy white.
appleblssm2x.jpg
4. No charge for this affair. No planning. Nothing to buy. Free corsages for all the spring prom dresses, for the maidens and maids of honor, and the fairytale heroes and heroines.
joeappgra.jpg
5. We laid on our backs in the grass and watched a butterfly feasting on flower nectar. Bees buzzed, birds chirped, and with every gust of wind paper thin white petals, popped from fuchsia pink buds, drifted down on us.
applie.jpg
6. Drinking in so much apple blossom aroma can be intoxicating. I thought about Sleeping beauty and Rip Van Winkle and remembered the time we set up camp on a beach in St. John and woke up in bed of jasmine. I drifted off, wondering if there would be an apple blossom hangover the next day.

Post note: Read The Romance of Wild Apples (the orchard in the fall) HERE.

May 2, 2008

The Story Within a Story

vangcup.jpgI'd be a terrible court reporter because I like to cover stories that are inspiring, ones that show kindness, open-mindness, people contributing something positive or standing up for what's right. Whether it's freelanced or an assignment, I like to find the silver lining in a story, something I can get excited enough about to want to share with others.

Since I wrote my first "Letter to the Editor" at the age of nineteen, activism has been an aspect of my writing. In the past, much of my writing dealt directly with issues I care about, but I'm learning that shining a light on these issues doesn't have to be direct and that the opportunity to shine an indirect light can turn up in unexpected places. Sometimes activism comes in the form of reporting other people's activism.

The condemnation of mountain top removal recently showed up in a story about a poetry reading at the Floyd Country Store when poet Jim Webb read an emotional poem denouncing it. When he said, "until they stop mountain removal, I'm going to read this poem at every reading," I felt inspired and wrote down his words for a blog entry that would later become a Floyd Press newspaper story.

I've written well over a dozen commentaries about the Iraq War that have been published at Commondreams.org, The New River Free Press, and the Roanoke Times. I've pointed out in various ways that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, that the Bush Administration misled us into the war, that preemptive invasion is illegal, and that the outcome has been predictable and disastrous. Darker and more tiring than I imagine court reporting to be, after a while I felt at a loss for what to say about Iraq.

I knew the Poetry Symposium at Virginia Military Institute last month would be fertile ground for my writing, especially knowing that Vietnam Vet Bruce Weigl reading his poetry at the military academy would likely be an eye opening line-up. I went to the event to blog about my poet friend Mara - a reoccurring character on my blog who was presenting poetry and a paper - but when Weigl stopped in the middle of his reading to say about Iraq, "I Hate this War," I was glad I was there to record it.

This spring, I was asked to write a story about landscape designer Pam Cadmus for the April issue of All About Her, a regional newspaper insert. Early on in our interview, when Pam (who uses natural fertilizers and no pesticides) said, 'We don't love our habitat enough,' I knew it was a privilege to be writing about her. When the first line of the story came to me, 'Appreciating nature in our own backyard can be a first step to being a good steward of the earth,' it felt like my small way of promoting and celebrating Earth Day.

Sometimes the inspiring thread of a story isn't that obvious. Last year I did a story on a Mary Kay beauty consultant for All About Her. For me, the important part of the story wasn't about beauty and make-up; it was about a self-employed young mother making her own hours so she could be at home with her two young children. The story led me to research some of the unhealthy ingredients used in the make-up industry, not part of the story I was writing but something I hope to write about in the future.

One of my favorite stories was the one about placed-based education and a prototype class my husband helped to start in which students collect and record stories of their elders, in this case WWII vets. It was a thrill to see the students engaged in such a constructive and self-empowering activity, and doubly so to have had the pleasure to meet the vets, most of them humble and fun-loving men who didn't want to go to war but made the best of it when they did.

Many years ago, I penned a monthly column on home schooling for the Museletter, our local alternative community newsletter. More recently I wrote one about a creative young teenager who has released two CDs of electronica music and who happens to be home schooled.

In the same newsletter, I sometimes wrote about women's issues, ritual, and rites of passage. Last year I wrote a story for the newspaper about a Wise Woman Priestess who marries couples, and more recently one about another wise woman who midwives "end of life." Even the story I did about knitting, I viewed as one about wise women. The story depicted local women of all ages helping each other and sharing a valuable hands-on life skill.

More and more ideas and lifestyles that were once thought of as fringe are finding their way into the mainstream. I'm glad to be in a position to write about them, and to hopefully tell the good stories of some everyday good people.

May 1, 2008

13 Thursday: The Curve Ball

13bll.jpg 1. New motto for my overbooked husband: "No" is a complete sentence.

2. Handwritten on the inside cover of my book of Mary Oliver’s poems: The poet’s answer to Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings.

3. Seen on a Get Well Greeting Card at the Pharmacy: “Don’t worry – Stressed is just Desserts spelled backwards.”

4. Flamingos remind me of long legged ballerinas in pink tutus.

5. I have never played pool but I play in the pool. I like the 8 beach ball the best.

6. It was so cold the other day that I had to start a fire in the wood stove. While crumpling newspaper, I noticed a Washington Post photo of the Pope’s red shoes. The caption beneath it said, “There’s no place like Rome: Pope Benedict XVI arriving at Andrews Air Force Base with his ruby red slippers, rumored to be Prada.”

7. I was so jealous.

8. Best quote about the Pope’s red shoes came from a woman in Central Park: “He’s got big shoes to fill and the red shoes are just the ticket to do that.” popesshoes1x.jpgThere’s also a song about them HERE.

9. Funny how the pope’s hat is almost like a wizard’s and a wizard’s hat is the same as a dunce’s.

10. A witch’s hat and church steeple also have a point in common.

11. HERE’S my blog friend Rick Mullen reading his poem, “The Chelsea,” from his newly published chapbook “Aquinas Flinched.”

12. My shoes aren’t red but my last name is.

13. My favorite burgundy silk pajamas were recently spotted HERE.

Thursday headquarters is here. My other 13's are here. View more 13 Thursday’s here. #131