Yesterday

Several hours spent with the baby girl,
three of those hours she spent sleeping.
A growth spurt has her needing more
rest and ravenous when she wakes up.

She didn’t want to go for a walk in
the stroller…so I parked it by the
pond…the one where the fish
immediately show up in the
shallows, hoping for a tossed snack
and I held her on my lap.

She quieted as I pointed out
the turtles’ heads poking up out of
the water…watching us…they too
hoping for a tasty handout.

Look how the lily pads lay so flat
on the surface of the water.  Look,
there’s the hawk being chased by
an angry blue jay.  Hear the bamboo
clanking quietly (the wind is low today).
Smell the delicate fragrance wafting
from the colorful bed of petunias.
Feel my arms around you, my heart
matching beats with yours…
 
Home, I fix leftovers from the night
before for my late lunch…Taco Soup
and homemade corn bread and a small
side of cranberry, orange relish…my
mother’s recipe made during holidays.

Turning on the television, I see a “Special
Report”…they’re talking about a shooting
and I think briefly that it’s an update on
the recent mall shootings.  But no, I learn
of a more current lethal and senseless act of
yet another taking of multiple, innocent lives
that happened while I was babysitting
my own precious, innocent life.

I sob as I listen to our President offer
his condolences to more grieving citizens.
I cry for the parents who don’t have
another day with their children.

What will it take to bring a halt to these acts?
What the hell are we waiting for?
My tears change to anger.

Brian Miller hosts today at dVerse Poets asking us to try our hands at “the small stuff”…paying attention to details: http://dversepoets.com/2012/12/15/poetics-sweat-the-small-stuff/

Kindergarten Guitar Band

Guitar Ensemble
“Our Kindergarten Teacher”
Kindergarten of Ch’ŏngam-guyŏk (Ch’ŏngjin-si, DPR Korea)

Video uploaded by xtracoolvideos

Adventures in Babysitting

For several days last week, I stayed at my sister and brother-in-law’s house while they went on a few-day visit to Savannah with some friends.  I was taking over the care of two small children that she has been watching out of her home and also caring for their dog and cat.

In preparation of this endeavor, I had gone over to her house on several occasions to let the babies get to know me and I them.  One was two months old and the other nine months at the time and already starting to walk.  The older one is there only half a day.  But there was a complication–both babies are very demanding and my sister was feeling the pressure herself. I was feeling very nervous.  What do you do when both are screaming?  My sister tried to think of someone who could come over for a few hours during the time they both needed care…and then our mother came to the rescue.  She offered to come over each morning and give me a hand.

As it turned out, I only needed Mom one day.  The older baby was teething and a little feverish so his parents kept him home for two days.  But on that fateful third day, the morning started out with the newborn and I having to evacuate the house for a few minutes when I smelled something burning after turning the light on in the nursery.  I looked for smoke and didn’t see any but immediately called 911 and asked for fire rescue and told them I was taking the baby outside until they arrived and could find the cause of the smell.

With sirens wailing, two trucks came barreling around the road that runs alongside the pond on the golf course down at the end of the street.  I waved to them to let them know of my location.  About eight men descended from the two trucks, most in full fire-fighting gear…some carrying axes…ready to tear my sister’s house to pieces, if need be, to find the cause of the trouble.

I led them into the house and to the nursery.  One asked if that was the only room that I smelled the burning…yes.  In a short minute, they had discovered the source of the problem.  One of my sister’s four year old grandson’s socks had somehow become wedged next to a light bulb in the chandelier and had started to burn.  I was asked if any children lived at the house and I told them of my sister’s grandson, Nicholas, who visits frequently and often spends the night.

The firemen had a chuckle about finding a tiny sock wedged up there and I was left wondering how that sock actually got up there.  To “wedge” something, a ladder would have been necessary…wouldn’t it?  Before they left, I was advised that the child should have a talking to about the dangers of hot light bulbs and was handed the culprit as they left…one small charred sock.  I was very grateful that the baby and I could safely return to the house and that chopping it to pieces wasn’t required.

This all happened before the second baby showed up and my mother arrived to help.

Still puzzling over how that sock got up there, the mystery was solved after I questioned Nicholas when his father brought him over that afternoon.  He told me that his socks had gotten soggy wet when he and Dad had been washing the car two days prior at Grandmommie’s house.  True to form, he had flung his socks off his feet in taking them off in the nursery and one had become wedged up in the light fixture.  Because it had been so wet, it had taken a couple of days for it to dry out and then be able to “smolder”.  Aha!

The remainder of the day went as well as could be expected with one baby going through separation anxiety and the other thinking he was starving to death all day long!  My mother was a champ.  She sang and talked to the babies and wheeled the one around the house in a stroller…the only thing that seemed to soothe him.  Both children loved Mom’s attention and I was so grateful that she was there to help.

My sister asked if I would come over half a day and help her with the care of the children.  I would love to.  I’ll make a little money and do good service in helping raise two children of the world…it’s my pleasure.

Nicholas is being more mindful when removing his socks.

Nicholas at his Uncle Taylor and Aunt Lizzie’s house with their dog, Cooper.  His Grandmommie took this photo.

Bedtime

When the day is sinking low
And dusk begins its deepening glow 

Children get their second wind
Thinking day has begun again

Rowdiness and shouts of play
Causes parents to begin to sway

Stop!  Be still!
They try instill

But kids don’t stop; it’s too much fun
They’re sure they’re seeing Mr. Sun

Jumping beans upon the bed
Make Mom and Dad grab their heads 

Racing and chasing and half undressed
Their eyes are wild like something obsessed 

“Come”, Mom says, “let’s read a book.”
“Let’s quiet down, here take a look.”

When Mom begins with her soothing voice,
Kids’ heads nod as if they have no choice

Come join us at dVerse Poets for some humor:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/22/seriously-thats-funny-dverse-meeting-the-bar/#comment-102050

Listen…

Sounds in the house
day and night
are a source of fun
if you listen right.

Hear that kitty
scratch, scratch,
scratching?  Her claws
are sharpening to
do her catching. 

Listen to the washing
machine getting
clothes clean, splish,
splash, splish splashing
whirling and wringing.

The over head fan
is off its rocker so
makes an annoying
clink-clankle, clink-clankle
with each spin it takes. 

The dishwasher hums,
it’s pretty quiet,
except when the water
sprays about–pshhhhh,
pshhhhh, pshhhhh!

Just one quick
click in your ear,
somebody’s turned
on a light that’s near.

Oh, gosh what’s
the buzzing that
we’re hearing?  It’s the
kitchen timer saying
dinner’s nearing!

Water is running
in the sink
to add to soap to
make some bubbles.

Some break free
and float up high
popping gently,
quiet as can be. 

Now there’s a sweet
sound I love the best,
the sounds of laughter
like giggling bells!

Started out writing this as an entry for The Gooseberry Gardens children theme and realized that it would work for today’s dVerse Poets theme too–I love when that happens!

My entry for Gooseberry Gardens–Children’s Stories, Riddles, Counting Songs, and Rhyming Lyrics: http://gooseberrygoespoetic.blogspot.com/

And at dVerse Poets–Onomatopoeia: http://dversepoets.com/2012/01/07/onomato-poetics/

Two Little Girls

Two little girls were a part of my world;
they were consuming, yet so endearing.
Waking up to their sweet babbles,
my heart was totally over brimming.

All the tasks that went into mothering
were not work at all but many blessings.
My soul delighted in all the giving but got
much more through those sweet eyes.

You looked to me with trusting eyes,
I held that trust with sacred love.
I treasured the time spent caring for you,
the most precious period of my life. 

The years went by so fast it seems,
sometimes it’s almost like a dream.
So many special moments recalled,
a wealth of joy and you growing tall.

Celebrations, gifts and festivities
were so much more fun shared with you.
Your giggles charmed and brought a smile,
My pride in you I hope you knew. 

My protective prayer is with you both;
may love surround and keep you safe.
Even though you’re women grown,
You’re still my girls, my dearest ones.

My entry for Gooseberry Garden’s Poetry Picnic 16:  My Life in Free Verse;  http://gooseberrygoespoetic.blogspot.com/

Sheltie

When we first
brought you
home,
you were too
tiny to even
jump up on the
fireplace but very
soon you were
chasing two small, giggling
girls up the stairs, herding them.

My entry for Monkey Man’s Sunday 160:  http://petzoldspracticalprose.blogspot.com/

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

Légumes

Image via Wikipedia

There was no measuring when cooking this comforting dish.  I made it up when my daughters were elementary school age.  It’s a vegetable-filled and cheesy-sauced soup accompanied by hot homemade corn bread.  Just about everything was homemade by me when the girls were growing up–even their baby food.  I never bought one single jar of baby food for them.  It was so easy to take a bit of fresh steamed veggies or fresh fruit and puree them to make the ideal food with no added sugar, preservatives or additives.  But I digress–I was talking about that soup that they loved so much–that we all loved so much. 

            I started with cooking the diced potatoes, carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, celery, onions, and garlic altogether in one large, deep pot.  I may have used vegetable stock.  Then I started the cheese sauce by heating milk on the stove, grating the cheddar cheese and dusting it lightly with flour before adding it to the pan of hot milk–not boiling.  It always came out perfectly smooth–the grated cheese melting lump free and the flour adding just enough “bulk” to thicken the sauce to the perfect consistency as I gently whisked it in the milk.  When the vegetables were tender–I drained most of the cooking water off and then added the sauce–salt and pepper were the only spices.  Although sometimes a splash of tamari may have been added too.  Served with a side of hot cornbread with butter and jam or honey, it finished the dinner off just right. 

            And another thing that made this dish so particularly enjoyable was using the special soup bowls that we had bought at the Mikasa outlet.  They were a beautifully pleasing deep, cobalt blue ceramic that had a handle on one side in which you could use to keep from burning your hands on the hot surface of the bowl.  The girls loved those bowls and I think I mainly used them when I made that favorite, nourishing soup. 

          I cherish the memories of bringing those girls comfort.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Comfort Food:  http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/monday-morning-writing-prompt-comfort-food/

Anthony

A sweet boy of ten

The youngest of four

Awakened that day

With an ever-widening grin

Getting ready for school

Being helpful to his mother

The morning was going smoothly

He even helped with the meal

I’m going now, I’ll see you all later

Were his words to them all–

A cheerful goodbye,

As he walked slowly away

And as he approached

Where his friends were waiting

At the bus stop nearby

A barreling, speeding truck approached

And his life ended that moment

Traumatized friends saw it happen

The truck driver was arrested

For having no license

And not slowing down

Now his family’s in grief

Broken-hearted and numb

Their beloved, dear Anthony–gone

Monday Morning Writing Prompt:  http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/monday-morning-writing-prompt-headliners/

Pa-pa

Saatchi Gallery - Young & Old

She was a sweet and tender child and wise beyond her years, already knowing the importance of connection to others. Her delicate features, with excitement-blushed cheeks and bright, curious blue eyes made her sensitivity even more apparent.  Innocent, rosebud lips finished off the charm.  Long, honey-colored hair, worn parted in the middle, fell past her shoulders and hung straight and loose, complementing her slight frame.  She was prone to brushing straggles of hair out of her eyes when it was worn down this way. Along with her favorite pink suede cowboy boots, her mother had allowed her to pick out the multi-tiered, purple, gray and white skirt that she loved.  Her brown corduroy jacket topped it off because of the chill in the air.  A tiny dab of her mother’s Shalimar perfume behind her ears made her feel extra special.  The mild amber fragrance created a subtle aura around her.  They were off to visit Pa-pa today.

She was only six but loved her Pa-pa devotedly.  They had come for a visit today to the nursing home where he now resided.

His head hung slightly down as he sat in his motorized wheelchair, impeccably dressed in his black pin-stripe suit with pristine and starched, long sleeved white shirt and boldly striped tie.  Still after all of these years, his black leather shoes were polished to a high gleam–important when callers came.  His tall stature was evident even though he was sitting.  His snow white hair and beard intrigued her and his wild, wooly eyebrows made her giggle.  His aged face was speckled with numerous sunspots and the lines of years of hard work raising a family, ill health and losing his wife two years prior.  A silver band still worn on his finger signified their long union.  She loved to examine his elderly face and look into his wise eyes that still cheered up when he caught sight of her.

He offered her a peppermint from his pocket–he always smelled of peppermint and Old Spice aftershave.  She ate the candy immediately–feeling the sensation of the cooling mint in her mouth–savoring it slowly.

She made sure his hearing aids were still lodged gently in his ears and brought him a pair of scissors he had requested that he used to cut the tags off the gift he had ready for her.  It was a stuffed black and white striped zebra.   She clutched the toy, her small hand encircling its body, feeling quietly delighted at the surprise.

She thanked him, speaking up as she knew to do, so he could hear her clearly.  He hugged her gently and smiled, his voice a gravelly rasp, responded to her; “I love you.”

Monday Morning Writing Prompt:  Description;   http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/monday-morning-writing-prompt-description/#respond

Pain Held Tight

He was slight and short for twelve years of age.  His rust colored hair and freckled pale skin was the bane of his life.  His eyes were a deep brown with flecks of carnelian–beautiful really–framed with long, feathery lashes that blinked with mischievousness and always-looking-for-a-joke curiosity.

His sweet vulnerability was overshadowed by a dark secret and shame.  He wore a mask of jovial pretense and protected that place with ardent determination.

No one noticed the quick flash of anguish that passed across his face from time to time or the somber pauses, between the wittiness, that told all.

pain held tight inside

please look deep, not just the shield

hope that someone sees

I took Victoria up on her Monday Morning Writing Prompt of a Haibun.  See her page for definition.  I blended a Flash Fiction story of 100 words with a haiku.http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/snowbirds-lament-a-haibun-napowrimo-day-6/

The Back Woods

Love Shack

Image by radianthorizon via Flickr

The woods were just steps from my own back door but

the foreboding they held could make my blood run cold.

A legend, a rumor, a spooky story was told

of the rickety shack that to this day stood.

SOMEONE HAD DIED THERE, A CHILD JUST LIKE ME.

All of us kids of the neighborhood had heard,

so we skirted its periphery while we played and explored.

The house was a small one and built out of wood

with four wide, wobbly steps that led up to the door.

The steps were now tilted and cracking with decay

and there was a large hole in the porch that had rotted away.

Some of the windows were shattered and busted

and those still intact were covered by years of thick dusting.

One day I was out there goofing around with my brother,

when he double-dog dared me to go touch the door.

He cajoled and enticed me with a promise of candy or such,

if I did the unthinkable and obeyed his request.

Well it took a lot of coaxing and prodding me on

but slowly I picked my way over those dilapidated steps.

And approaching my goal while shaking like a leaf,

I slowly reached out my hand with a great tremble and twitch,

when from somewhere behind me came a shrieking, bellowed shout–

“LOOK OUT FOR THE WITCH!!”

Well, with adrenaline surging, I was thrust into forward

and spun on my heels and flew over those stairs–

(right past that big oaf)

and sped all the way home–safe to the sofa.

Why did I listen to such a rotten brother as he, who was

always teasing and tormenting me?

I had wanted him to like me, to think I was brave

but finally I had learned my lesson that day:

YOU CAN NEVER TRUST THE DEPRAVED!

But in spite of our trepidation around that old house,

we kids had years of fun in those back woods of ours.

Making forts, climbing trees and just lounging about,

those days in the woods were a kid’s paradise.

And as we grew older, we learned the truth of that cottage,

it had just been abandoned–only deserted that’s all–

no mayhem had been committed there, never at all.

Entry for Thursday Poets’ Rally 42 :http://thursdaypoetsrallypoetry.blogspot.com/

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