Tuesday, May 31, 2022

ABCs for a safer world


Please excuse today's slice. I'm posting mostly because I have set the goal of blogging each week. I had a lot of trouble writing a "slice of life" today. I am so horrified and troubled about the mass shooting in Uvalde last week; my mind keeps sifting through the tragedy.

I need to believe that I am not alone in this pervasive sadness; that there is enormous support for doing SOMETHING to prevent such horrors from happening. I've started keeping a list of random ideas that lead to a safer world for all - things I've seen in newspaper articles, ideas from family, friends, and neighbors. Honestly, there are limitless steps we could take to make our lives safer.

For today's slice, I played around with an 'alphabet' of possibilities - and, seriously, there are many, many more.

I want to believe that if we work on each of these

or, any one of these

or, some of these,

or, many other ideas

all at once

right now

we truly might create a livable world.

Please, let us move towards a safer, healthier nation.

ABCs of Possibilities - a Multi-faceted Approach to Gun Safety

Arms that are weapons of war should not be available to the average citizen

Believe that we have the moral imagination to create a safer world for all

Create and maintain a database about gun violence

Doctors should routinely ask patients/parents if there are guns in the home and discuss possible dangers

Eliminate the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill

Find ways to make it financially worthwhile for politicians to support gun safety

Gun technology should be advanced so that non-owners cannot use the gun - much like exists with our cell phone technology 

Home insurance should include questions about guns in the home - and it should cost more

Increase mental health access, family supports, funding for social workers

Jeopardizing the life, health, or welfare of anyone ultimately hurts all of us 

Know the medical consequences of gunshot wounds - the challenges doctors face, the recovery and healing that the victim faces

License, registration, and insurance should be required for gun ownership (as we do for ownership of cars)

Memorial to those killed by gun violence should be created - naming the victims, sharing their life stories

Nationalize gun policy, eliminating the state-by-state variations 

Oppose any legislation that mandates teachers carry guns 

People who are named in risk protection orders (aka “red flag laws”) must be prevented from purchasing and owning guns

Query political candidates about their funding by NRA and gun makers - to whom do they owe their allegiance?

Requiring a DNA sample to identify human remains is a minimal litmus test for guns and weaponry that should NOT be available to ordinary citizens

Set age limits for certain classes of weapons, and require parents or guardians to approve purchases for those under 21 

Tax the purchase of certain types of guns at a higher level 

Understand that “good people with guns” have not been able to prevent these mass killings

Vote for those who promote gun safety

Welcome the outsider, notice who is on the fringe in every setting, try to connect; teach this beginning in preschool

(e)Xamine and avoid the use of absolutes and the binary [“either/or,” “for/against,” “Democrat/Republic”] in these discussions - we must find a way toward a safer world together

Young children should not have to go to school in fear.

Zealously promote the study of citizenship, what it means to be a democracy 


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

seven beings

Early morning 

I was away all weekend at a women's retreat, in West Virginia. The area was so remote, there was no internet - which was sheer delight, to be honest. 

It was wonderful to be in quiet and beauty - and to be in the company of women of all different ages. 

I also came face to face with a few different non-human beings. This is the wonder of nature!

I have this (perhaps quirky) habit of googling "spiritual significance of [xyz]" when I have a surprise encounter with an animal or an insect. Today, I took some time to look each up in my habitual way - and I wrote a poem about these, just for fun. 

The poem presents the 'seven beings' in order of appearance over the weekend: a tick, a turtle, a red-winged blackbird that I saw numerous times, a snail, a whippoorwill, a flock of geese, and a spider.

(Oh, let me add - the tick did not bite me; shortly after I arrived, someone else was dealing with this. She was completely fine, the 'poppy seed-size' deer tick was found pretty much right away, having no opportunity to infect her, thankfully. With this as my arrival surprise, I kept myself lathered in bug spray all weekend.)

Hope you enjoy this!

 seven beings joined us

tick arrived so cleverly

nestled on the arm

suggesting the discovery

what undermines energy

reminding of equanimity

turtle stood to the side 

of the path uphill

and patiently waited 

for all to understand

our interconnectedness

red-winged blackbird 

danced across the field



porch talkers

those in quiet contemplation

always dancing

filled with motion

kindling inner spirit

snail slowed midstep

stretched across the path

playfully whispering 

no matter where you go

home is always with you

whippoorwill was regaled 

by our laughter and memories

knowing these as well

and sang out the question

what do you hear within

flock of geese flying 

in formation as we sat

together on the porch

visually representing

disruption by the divine

in the midst of worship

spider suddenly appeared

circling scrambling emphasizing

birth growth death rebirth

demanding all be cherished

seven beings joined us

I have a few of their individual photos, lol -

I met this snail on a walk

this dear one joined me on my bench during worship - I was not impressed

there's a red-winged blackbird here somewhere, hahaha! 

turtle lumbering down the path from my bunkhouse


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022



Rainy weather has offered many opportunities to continue culling and clearing for our kitchen/family room remodel (which has been pushed back yet another few weeks as we make our way through an interminable permit process - oh my, THIS CONTINUED LAMENT will not be the point of today's blog post, I assure you, I assure me). 

Inside a large hope chest (really, a bench in our home), I found a treasure trove of music CD's and cassette tapes, long long forgotten. What to do with all these? 

The cassettes were problematic  - we have nothing to play these with anymore, and by and large, these were handmade playlists. Many of these I simply trashed; but, I made a small container of 'treasures' and we will see if anyone we know still has a cassette deck and whether these cassettes still play. In some cases, we are able to recreate (beloved) playlists again on our computer.

The CD sorting took an unexpectedly long time, as I opened each CD case to check for its corresponding CD, and created numerous piles:

- empty CD cases, requiring a further search through the large compilation cases
- a pile for donation
- a pile for trash (no corresponding CD can be found)
- a pile for each family member 
- a pile of "I DON'T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK?" for everyone to look through

The individual piles for family members really confused me when I realized I had no music CDs for my youngest son; all the boys love music and have varied tastes - where/what/why does he have nothing? Then it dawned on me - he was ten years old when the ipod was created...he has always had music available digitally. Unlike his older brothers, he did not spend hours creating his own CDs for road trips and friends. He has no physical detritus to sort through! Extraordinary to think about.

It is astounding how clearing out this one chest led to a long, sentimental journey through time, remembering. 

It also led to a poem about creating playlists. I had a little fun with its visual structure, as I tried to capture how the technology of music collections has changed over time. Enjoy!

how to create a music playlist

imagine which songs to include? which to record first? which should be last in the set?

create the perfect music playlist romance friendship road trip dance party have fun

thinking this through you’ll need a blank cassette tape one by one spin the tunes

 on the turntable, line the needle up with the track, press record on the deck, &

build the playlist, yes there was such an art to it, don’t forget, hand write, no 

better yet, type the list of songs for the sleeve and if you really want to 

make this a gift, create vibrant cover art for the jacket, use your

imagination. later there were cd’s and computers so all

you had to do was gather songs from various cd’s & 

record an all new playlist on a blank cd 

yes a very similar process as before 

plus you could still create art

on the cd sleeve to add

sentiment and then

poof! there was

streaming &


at all






It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

On the trail again


I think hiking might be one of my main writing themes. Certainly, it is one of my favorite pastimes. Yesterday, we went for a hike along a section of the Appalachian trail here in Maryland. It was really nice to be outside in the bright sunny spring weather, after a cold rainy weekend indoors. We hiked near Washington Monument State Park. This monument was the very first built to commemorate George Washington, completed in 1827 by the citizens of Boonsboro, Maryland. Here's a view of the Cumberland Valley from the monument -

We met several "thru hikers," obvious by their enormous backpacks; I always enjoy these conversations, learning insights about different lives in just a few amiable minutes. One guy was from Massachusetts and doing a ten day hike; another was from Australia and had started hiking a couple months back, only to receive word that his 92 year old mother was dying - he went home for seven weeks to be with her, and was just now back hiking the trail again. 

For today's slice, I've attempted a 'tritina' poem about our hike. (In a tritina, there are three stanzas of three lines each, with three end words repeated in varied order; there is one final line - an 'envoi' - which includes all three words in the single line.) 

brief hellos with strangers

we hike together, yet always, try as I might, I trail

my mind wanders with my feet, my thoughts rain

brief hellos with strangers leave me in a happy daze

one hiker, claiming low mileage for the days,

shared of crossing a wild, rushing stream on the trail

he was exhilarated by sun after three days of cold rain

a second hiker confided his mother’s death did reign

the recent weeks alongside her, now a gift all his days

with precious memories guiding him on the trail

rain or shine, there is joy to be found in days on the trail


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Farmer's market

he’s collapsed at the top 

of the steps I am climbing

flopped like a fish on a dock 

not pretty

not a good smell

not a good look


lured by concern

while simultaneously repulsed 

I drew slightly near

was he breathing

eyes barely open, protesting the bright sun

he groaned

got any money

no sorry I don’t 

I hurried away

so easily rationalized

I’m not fishing for money in my purse right 

on a street in the midst of everyone

I’m not taking that bait



should I have?

do I have any cash on me

I would never miss the money

let’s be serious

it wasn’t about my purse

I instantaneously shut him down

cast him off

tossed empathy aside

reeled in  


as if 

I know his needs better than he does

I am blessed to know 

how he swims

who am I?

what if the next dollar he gets is his way 

out of this insufferable tangled net he is trapped within

what if he was laying there 

dreaming of release 

kale spinach onions potatoes radishes

bag ‘em

head back to the steps

he is standing now

our eyes meet

he says

you have beautiful hair


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!