Five Haikus

By Kat

shifting cloud shadows
on mountain faces, highlight
the depth of places

shifting shadows show
sinking sun shining silver
strike standing spires

this early morning
a patio visit with
a friend and two dogs

the sun rose early
for someone so very late
in going to bed

evening rain falls soft
on tiny new green seedlings
and upturned faces

December 2017

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Christmas Lights

By Vicki

I love Christmas time – the decorations, particularly the lights, are my favorite thing. I can remember as a child sitting in our dark living room just staring at the Christmas tree all lit up and so beautiful. I would sit there alone for what seemed like hours, I loved the peaceful feeling, the smell of the live tree and the colorful lights. I knew the tree was temporary, so I tried to memorize the look of it – to burn its image into my eyes, so that it would always be there when I closed my eyes. I wasn’t successful at doing this, but I tried very, very hard every year.

We haven’t had a Christmas tree for a while, so I have transferred my love of lights to the outside decorations. Every night starting with Thanksgiving, we walk the neighborhood and watch as one after another of the houses light up. I delight in each new house. I have favorite houses, but I really love them all – except the dark ones. Like the Christmas tree, the house lights are temporary and will go away in the coming weeks, so while I am excited as the number of decorated houses increases nightly as we approach Christmas, it is somewhat melancholy for me as that number decreases after Christmas. I know that if the lights stayed up all year, they wouldn’t be as special as they are to me, but I still can’t help being sad when the lights are taken down.

But I break all the rules – I keep my Christmas lights up all year. I think this tradition for our house started gradually, one year we were the last in the neighborhood to take down the lights. Then the next year, we kept them up a little longer and so forth, until we just kept them up all year. I will remove old lights and add new ones at Christmas time, but my lights blaze away all year long. It is easy to tell people where I live, I just say “the house with the Christmas lights,” which is unique about 10 months of the year.

I also love walking through Winterhaven, going to ZooLights and any of the other big Christmas productions. I appreciate the art and creativity of a good light show. But I must say, the best is just the quiet – no crowds – walking around my neighborhood enjoying the lights and silently thanking my neighbors for all the work they have put into decorating their homes and yards for my delight.

December 2016 , sometime before Christmas

Cute Things

By Sally

I was driving home just at the time the young children were let out of school for the day and their parents were picking them up.

With Halloween being the next day, the little ones were in their treasured costumes, with their parents holding onto their hands. It was so cute to see them walking alongside, taking their short, quick steps to keep up with Mommy or Daddy.

Then it caught my eye – a daddy had picked up his child from school and didn’t walk with him. He put his pride and joy on top of his shoulders, and there sat the little one, cape flowing down Daddy’s back and a large grin across the face of a very, very happy child.

We are blessed with our little ones. Oh yes, at times we would like to be in a silent, quiet place. But when you look into the face – the eyes of your own flesh staring back at you – how can you resist loving such a wonderful loving part of you?

Love your child no matter what age. Love them and tell them. Show it, not by gifts from stores, but with the best gift of all. Show your love, the love from your heart, the heart you both share.

November 2017

Pastimes

By Leslie

Baseball – “The Great American Pastime,” and indeed it is. And how exciting this year and last year’s World Series have been! Who said that the “doping” scandal put an end to baseball? It may have temporarily dampened interest, but no longer. Have an underdog win last year, and a city in need of an uplifting win enter the series this year – and you have the formula for a rejuvenated sport – and nation.

This is being written before the final game(s) of the World Series are played. Regardless of who wins, this is a pastime that is a much needed antidote to the dissension and violence in our society today. Indeed, more effective than any pill this doctor, and I would wager, virtually any doctor, can prescribe is a pastime – that is engrossing, exciting and NON-violent. Baseball certainly is the antidote to the poisonous rhetoric and extreme acts of terror-induced anxiety that permeates our civilization.

Now I have t be frank, this is a house divided! Despite the fact that the Dodgers deserted NY, as an ex-New Yorker, I am rooting for the Dodgers. That’s OK, because my husband is rooting for the Astros . . . and you never can tell in this series . . .

November 2017

Retail – Part 2

By Sally

One of the work fun things in retail, at least where I was working, was unloading the truck. We received a truck almost every day

We set up a roller track that lead from the truck into the stock room and extended for about, oh, maybe 15 feet.

The driver put the boxes on the roller, and we rolled them to the end, with employees opening them and pulling out the items, unwrapping them, and putting them (except the clothing) on rolling, tiered carts. The clothes were left in the boxes until all the dishes and miscellaneous objects were cleared out and taken to the places where they belonged. The clothes were then laid out on the rolling carts and then hung on a rack or, or if needed, on hangers.

All this hard work was done while looking at everything, sometimes deciding if you wanted to buy it or not (and there goes your pay check).

I remember one time, four silk, waist fit jackets came in, really nice and not expensive. Well, they never made it to the floor. That was just one of the many instances. If things were damaged, they would be recorded and either given to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, or put into the dumpster, depending on how damaged they were.

We had bar code security tags at first that you had to put on each item, somewhere unnoticeable. But people still made it out the doors with the items.

By doing this unloading, we got to recognize the items and prices, so when they got to the register, if an item had a different price it would kind of set off an alarm in your mind (especially if you liked the item).

At first, this morning task was just a task, until someone started to comment on the items. This started a chain reaction. Then there came the cart races to see who could empty their four-tiered cart first. So you see, hard things could be made fun. And when they become fun, they are easy to do.

Some of the new employees we had didn’t care for the truck unloading party and sometimes just disappeared – never to be seen again. Oh well!

August 2017

The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

By Leslie (with apologies to Richard Scarry)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always has been. Nowadays my children and grandchildren join us for a mini-family reunion, usually over three days. They come from Portland and Philadelphia, and this year, as most, Mother Nature blessed us with warm, sunny weather, leaving snow in their climes.

In years gone by, St Louis was our home, and family and friends and students gathered round our spacious table. The year before we moved to Tucson, Thanksgiving offered a bit more excitement than usual. After my husband had driven off to pick up his mother at her Assisted Living home, I was left to keep watch on the very large bird he had dressed and started roasting, as well as complete the rest of the fixings – veggies and dessert, etc. My husband called when at his mother’s to check on the turkey’s “progress.” I noted that it didn’t look any different than when he had popped it in the oven and, in fact, noted that the oven didn’t seem very warm. Bill horridly returned home. The ancient oven had finally died. We tried our neighbors on either side of us – neither was home. But, necessity truly became the mother of invention. On the side of our main oven was a small narrow oven meant for baking pies. Bill emptied and removed its racks and stood our turkey vertically in the oven. Miraculously, this side worked and the turkey was roasted, albeit in a most unusual manner. It was delicious, simply the best Thanksgiving turkey we have ever had!

December 2016

my truth

By Kat

today i know that i am a strong, capable woman (being). many years of my life were given over to the mistaken belief that i was never enough, that nothing i attempted was ever enough, never right. well into my thirties, i had a friend tell me, you are such a strong woman. surprise and disbelief reverberated throughout my being, so much so, that it became immediately essential to my life to ask my friend to repeat what he had just said.

i needed to take in this assessment, which was an entirely new concept for me, to examine it, to taste it. did it belong to me? it sounded more like the kind of attribute i would admire in another, but his words were stated with such certainty, that i was compelled to “try on” this new idea of myself.

after some reflection and much review of the struggles i had been through, i discovered that, yes, i WAS, in fact a very strong woman. those experiences which i had formerly thought made me small and showed my vulnerability were the very ones that created strength in me. these were not difficulties which had “befallen” my life; they were the very experiences from which i grew strong. then, the “aha moment”: i suddenly understood that it was my own strength that had gotten me through those difficult times. i was not a victim but a survivor!

i looked at myself in a mirror. for the first time in my life i saw the woman looking back at me as the strong, capable, loving, intelligent being i am, and understood this to be my truth. i felt connected to every living being. i saw myself as a unique and wonderful being who is also an integral part of the universe itself.

how could i NOT be strong? my truth today – i am a woman of strength and courage, an adventurer, a lover, a writer, a teacher, a healer, an artist, and more – a being of love, connected to all other beings.

 

November 2017