"A blog is to a writer what a canvas is to an artist." ~ Colleen Redman
1. I made up a new word after a friend suggested that serious people were probably trying to be sincere: sinserious.
2. Combining a photo and poetry in a post: Phoetry
3. Meditating is a lot like how you view computer generated magic art, except you do it with your eyes closed. Not unlike how to see the hidden picture in magic art, to meditate you have to focus past the thoughts in the forefront of your mind. Once you do, your mind will drop down to a whole new place that you weren’t aware of before.
4. My photos sometimes show up in places I have no idea that they will, like HERE.
5. I’ve was always jealous of Dr. Spock’s Vulcan ability to mind meld. I always wanted to read books that way.
6. Right now I’m reading Tom Robbins memoir Tibetan Peach Pie. Here’s an excerpt: “I’m always astonished when readers suggest that I must write my novels while high on pot or (God forbid!) LSD. Apparently, there are people who confuse the powers of imagination with the effects of intoxication. Not one word of my oeuvre, not one, has been written while in an artificially altered state. Unlike many authors, I don’t even drink coffee when I write. No coffee, no cola, no cigarettes. There was a time when I smoked big Havana cigars while writing, not for the nicotine (I didn’t inhale) but as an anchor, something to hold on to, I told myself, to keep from falling over the edge of the earth. Eventually, I began to wonder what it would be like to take that fall. So one day I threw out the cigars and just let go. Falling, I must say, has been exhilarating — though I may change my mind when I hit bottom.”
7. I call my 6 year old grandson Bryce a “gene yes” because of THIS imaginative work of art, titled “It’s A Good Thing I’m Wearing Earmuffs, Said the Sun.”
8. A tidbit of wisdom mined from a recent dialogue group: Accepting yourself is one thing but facing yourself might be the real work.
9. And sometimes our work is play.
10. Wow. Burlington, VT., recently announced that it now produces or gets more power than its citizens use. And it’s all coming from renewable sources of energy like wind and solar and hydroelectric. Read about it HERE.
11. Hydraulic Fracking for natural gas extraction uses huge amounts of water and chemicals, can contaminate ground water, contribute to global warming and is linked with earthquakes, which is why I was happy to see this new site on Facebook: Frack-tose intolerant. Fracking has been banned in many countries and states, including New York. See a list HERE.
12. When my Asheville Potter Son came how from a trip to England in 2005, he was wearing a T-shirt that said, Mind the Gap, a common phrase heard in the British subway, which translates into American English as “Watch Your Step.”
13. My mind just went blank and then I imagined a T shirt that said “Mind the Lapse.”
In November of 2014, I visited my elderly mother in my hometown of Hull, Massachusetts to help with her care. She’s been physically disabled for four years now and has hired caregivers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I’ve helped with her care on several occasions before, but this was a trip I had been resisting. It felt so hard and heavy. I wasn’t sure I could muster the energy to make it, but the caregivers and some of my siblings were feeling burned out and needed some fresh input, I was told.
The trip turned out better than I expected. I met several new babies in the family, and the time with my mother was sweet. I asked her if she had a good day and what was good about it each evening at bedtime. Sometimes she would name a family member who visited or mention a good meal she liked. Other times, she would adamantly say, “Nothing!” There was nothing about the day that she liked.
During the visit, I had an honest conversation with a sibling I had been concerned about. I talked with caregivers and listened to their concerns. I was happy to see my sister who is under cancer treatment and doing well. I also visited a brother and we had a loving connection, the first in a long time. There had been hard feelings between us because he had reached a low point and was drinking heavily in the years that he lived with my mother. Now he was on his own and sober.
My dad, who was also an alcoholic, and a WWII vet who suffered from PTSD, died in 2005. Whenever I’m home in Hull, I stay in his room, and this trip was no different. The morning after I visited my brother, as I was getting dressed, I walked across the floor of my dad’s room and heard what I thought was a motor running. It sounded like the tremble of a fan humming and seemed to be coming from the dresser, the one that held the photo of my dad as a young boy that I had just been staring at. Did my footsteps turn something on? Was it running inside one of the drawers?
I followed the sound with my ear and was shocked to discover that the plastic holy water bottle that my family had used in the hospital before my dad died was vibrating. There were lots of bottles on top of the dresser, but only the empty holy water bottle was shaking. I smiled, picked it up and said, “Hi Dad.”
But as I was walking away, I heard it again! I followed my ear and traced the sound to a second plastic holy water bottle! It was obscured behind a couple of large perfume bottles, and I didn’t know it was there. By this time I was floored! I picked up the bottle in disbelief and felt a rush go through me. I felt as though my dad was thanking me for being there, for seeing my brother, for being with my mother and understanding that everyone was doing the best they can.
I’m not always a happy person, but I was happy all that day. I felt lighter, as if a burden had been lifted. I might be one of the biggest skeptics in the family, skeptical of angels and traditional ideas about God. But, in this case, I couldn’t easily deny that my father’s spirit was speaking to me. Even so, I spent a lot of time trying to make those bottles vibrate again; not so much because I wanted to call up my dad again, but because I wanted to understand how it could have happened.
That’s not the end of the holy water bottle story. The next morning, one of my sister’s came over. We talked about the paperwork we had to file for the VA (Aid and Attendance) because my mother’s reverse mortgage money that was paying for her care is running out. I had spoken with a local VA representative and found out that we would need our father’s military discharge paper. We knew it existed but that it would be really hard to locate because no one knew where it was. It could have been buried anywhere.
I went out to do errands while my sister stayed with my mother, and when I came back she had more of the holy water bottle story to tell. After hearing my part of the story, she wanted to spend some time in my dad’s bedroom and see if she could feel some of that burden lightening. She went to his room and, while looking at the bottles, had an unexplained desire to the open the drawer right below them. Inside, on the top of a stack of unrelated papers was my father’s military discharge paper!
Now some think that the location of the discharge paper was what he was trying to tell us all along. Maybe some even thought he put it there. We all knew that my dad wouldn’t rest if his military service couldn’t be proved. I knew I had a transcendent experience.
On Sundays, most of the family comes over for dinner and to spend time with our mother. When they did, I took them all upstairs to my dad’s room and reenacted the story. There were hugs, an uproar of laughter and pictures being snapped. I think we all felt that our burdens were lightened that day and that we were blessed by my dad and his holy water.
_________Read more about my dad from a WVTF Memorial Day radio essay, Let Me Clue You in About My Father, HERE.
The stage was set for a sweet date night that included good food and live folk music at Oddfella’s Cantina. Joe had a gourmet dish of salmon stuffed with crab, topped with pesto sauce. I had toasted chicken and pesto flatbread with a Bass beer on tap in honor of Kerry, (the owner) and his favorite beer.
We had front row seats to hear Erica Joy Rising (aka Big Mama Joy) and her original tunes. The cold February night with only a handful of other diners made for an intimate serenade, in which we were able to talk directly to Erica from our seats and learn more about her songwriting and her life.
All it took was a spark … myself inside a stranger’s heart … As a lover of lyrics I was happy to learn that Erica’s were not predictable. Her voice was smooth and natural, and her storytelling tunes drew us in. There was a song about being homeless in Boulder, one about sake, and another called Walmart Whoopie.
The roses hold ancient love / and the scarecrow sits with the dove … I can’t remember whether she sang the one I called Ravi Shankar meets Donovan on stage or if we heard it on the CD player on the ride home. We heard “Gratitude’s” sweet strumming and prayerful pondering at the restaurant and in the truck.
It was a very fulfilling evening on all counts. We held hands and skipped the dessert.
I especially liked Erica’s lingering lyric about walking the line and reinventing what’s true / out on the line where Picasso went blue. Hear it (Because of You) HERE. She’ll be featured at the Floyd Radio show this Saturday.
__________Our World Tuesday
Because These Days Are Golden.
And Four-year-old Doesn’t Last That Long.
_________Shadow Shot Sunday
Yesterday I learned more about reading music from my 6 year-old grandson than I have in my entire life up to now. He showed us the beats that the symbols represent, when to rest and when to repeat, by clapping his hands and stomping his feet. Then he drew a face out of music notes and made someone singing so loud that the sun put on earmuffs. It was an eighth note, of course.
1. My four-year-old grandson Liam, coming home from a walk with me: “Can I take off my shoes cause I’m having a dream.” Me: “A daydream?” Liam: “No, a Mine Craft dream.”
2. I’m still shocked that savvy has two v’s in it and that rendezvous has a z.
3. “Non-violence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” – MLK
4. I just finished writing a story on the art of happy living for an upcoming Floyd anthology in which I said to the author/editor, “Funny how Floyd’s earliest newcomers are old timers now.”
5. Now I’m working on a story for Randall Wells’s online book (Floydiana) about coming to Floyd, which I think will be called “Hippies are for California.” It starts with a comment on a photo portrait taken of me for Portrait of Floyd that “came out looking more like the no-nonsense librarian that my high school aptitude test suggested I would become than the back-to-the-land flower-child country transplant that I am.”
6. According to Urban Dictionary, a Floydian Slip is when you accidentally say something that turns out to be a lyric from a Pink Floyd song. But I know it was a publication put out by a couple of Floyd friends of mine in the early ‘90s.
7. I bought my first camera in Jackson Square, Weymouth, Massachusetts, when I was 18 years old. Before that it was Polaroids and those black and white strips from the photo booth at Paragon, our town’s amusement park. I don’t remember the camera brand or how much it cost. It wasn’t very good, but I loved it from the moment I started snapping and was only sorry that I hadn’t gotten one sooner instead of spending all my babysitting money on clothes. – More from a 2010 post titled “Who is A Photographer?” HERE.
8. Status update from a friend seen on Facebook: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody posts pics on Facebook, did it really happen?
10. In my world, the only thing better than going out dancing for a case of the winter doldrums is to do it with a light show. Throw in a hula hoop and a really good on tap beer and you have a full scale therapy. – More on my latest dance marathon at Dogtown HERE.
11. You can tell my grandsons have been around. Last night the sound of wind was so loud that it woke me up. I reached for my earplugs and ended up trying to put whatever that is in the picture above into my ear.
12. Crapitalism sees the world as a commodity, a word that is closely related to “commode,” so says my dharmacratic poet friend Will.
13. “Activism is my rent for living on the planet.” – Alice Walker
A wide grin of moon
lifted my mood
It gave me a smile
that I passed on to you
______Colleen Redman / Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
In my world, the only thing better than going out dancing for a case of the winter doldrums is to do it with a light show.
Throw in a hula hoop and a really good on tap beer and you have a full scale therapy.
I first heard The Fat Catz at the Gingerbread Ball but was too busy covering the event to dance, so when I heard they were playing at Dogtown I made a point to test drive them in one of my marathon dance jams.
Lindroot, the experimental electronic music of Stephen Schmidt, played first, creating a good vibe/space sound that inspired a small group of LED lighted hula hoop and poi light dancers and made for some good photo-op entertainment.
The Fat Catz (from Blacksburg) have a big sound and play some kind of rock/funk dance-friendly/electric jam. I seem to recall dancing and singing along to Fire on the Mountain that went into Pinball Wizard and saying to my friend Jayn that every song they did equaled two and that I didn’t know how long I would last.
I don’t go to the gym. Dancing is it for me. I think we made it through most of the first set without sitting down.
I made it home in time to kick off my shoes and watch some of Saturday Night Live before settling down for a long winter’s nap.
Thanks Dogtown Roadhouse, Fat Catz, Lindroot, dance friends and all!
_________Our World Tuesday
He forgot he ate someone.
His head was so big he crashed a plane.
______Story and artwork by Bryce
1. I think it’s interesting that the word bankrupt has bank right in it, and rupt, which makes me think of a rupture, as in “break the bank.”
2. I was close: The word bankruptcy is derived from Italian banca rotta, meaning “broken bench,” which may stem from a custom of breaking a money changer’s bench or counter to signify his insolvency, or which may be only a figure of speech.
3. I like the idea of downsizing and tiny houses are popular right now, but I could never live in one because they don’t tend to have bathtubs. HERE is the story of a Floyd family that have gone national with their tiny house living.
4. While recently writing about how hot tea and hot baths are the ritual highlights of my day, I thought of THIS poem about my first hot flash.
5. Last night in the bath, I was thinking about the man whose awakening from an eight year coma came in part because he hated the Barnie reruns that aired continuously at the care home he attended each day. I’ve always thought Barnie was an insult to the intelligence of little children as compared to something like Sesame Street. HERE is that man today.
7. Or better yet THESE 3D printed spinning sculptures. Amazing.
8. I got the letter “S” from my sister Sherry in a game we are playing on Facebook in which friends describe you in word beginning with your given letter. I got scrupled, sage, savvy, sweet, sensual, strong and two sassys.
9. I gave a friend the letter “P” and picked Punny to describe her, as in funny with puns, which she is.
10. I can dig that singer/songwriter Sia wants to keep her identify a secret because she wants to be able to “get fat and pee on the side of the road” without the paparazzi bothering her, but I think the black visor veil she wore over her face during her performance on Saturday Night Live only served to draw attention to her. See what I mean HERE.
11. I was mesmerized by the performance, not because of her song (that sounded like Rihanna’s Diamonds because she wrote it) but because of the amazing dancers that danced during her performance. Funny how I saw the Jim Carey parody before I even knew who Sia was and now it makes more sense. Jimmy Kimmel’s take was even funnier HERE.
12. Like genuflecting before an altar, I kneel in the hot bath water, adjusting to the temperature and thinking how perfect it is. I pull the shower curtain over, like a priest opens and closes the confessional window, and the ritual begins. – Read more about how taking a bath is part of my religion HERE.
13. “Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist and proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make you a terrorist.” – Winona LaDuke
I shook out a poem at breakfast
like loose change from a pocket
From leftover lines
and settled crumbs
I gambled a metaphor
and let the meter run
I coined a new phrase
but spent it at lunch
Until morning’s excess
became afternoon’s rut
By supper I was bankrupt
______Colleen Redman_____Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads
Like genuflecting before an altar, I kneel in the hot bath water, adjusting to the temperature and thinking how perfect it is. I pull the shower curtain over, like a priest opens and closes the confessional window, and the ritual begins.
But there are no ritualized words to say or actions to take. There is no need to be good or feel remorse for being bad. There is just being and being immersed in the blessing of water. It burns off fatigue, cleans the slate, is a sacrament of simple, and a marriage of the physical senses with spirit. It’s the same every time, yet always different, the thoughts, the play of light, the circumstances of the day and the soaking up of silence.
Every night I’m born again, naked as a baby in a womb-like tub. For me, the bath is a baptism of renewal, a sanctuary for quiet contemplation, and one of the closest things I have to a church.
1. When in a funk, should a writer wait for inspiration or write about the size, shape and color of the writer’s block?
2. The best a poet can hope for is to speak broken poetry because poetry is a pre-verbal language.
3. My newspaper writing: On the front page today, in the woodpile tomorrow.
4. THIS really warms my heart!
5. If the photo below of the Scrabble playing party I went to on Sunday was a Meyers Briggs personality analysis, the players in the forefront would be the thinkers and the ones in the background would be feelers.
6. Question for Facebook: Can I like your like on my comment?
7. “Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday.” Eleanor Roosevelt
8. Could the poetry of matter be shadow like the moon is a muse to the sun’s glare?
9. I write about petals and nectar the way Van Morrison writes about jelly roll. See the latest HERE.
10. “I grew tired of trying to be so perfect. I realized in the end it just ain’t worth it. – Floyd singer songwriter Morgan Wade. More HERE.
11. My husband and I see other people / while I play scrabble he plays golf / when I’m on the verge of a triple word score / he’s looking for partners to make up a foursome. – Read more of this poem that won me $100 in a Blacksburg Poetry Slam contest in 2005 HERE.
12. “If Mitt Romney were president right now, he would be seen as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. There would be parades in the streets. The kids would have severely conservative tattoos. Men would be saying “gosh.” … But Barack Obama won the election. The Affordable Care Act hasn’t been repealed. Taxes were raised in 2013. Regulation has proceeded apace. The Keystone XL pipeline is no closer to being built. And yet the economy is roaring. The ambitious economic promises the GOP field made for their conservative policies have been achieved despite the continuation of liberal policies.” – More from “What would Republicans say if Mitt Romney were president and the economy was this strong” HERE.
13. I recently heard of a hangover referred to as a Wine Flu.
- Bloggers who want to participate in this weekly blog hop meme can link up to the new 13 Thursday hub HERE!