Friday, November 30, 2007

Back to Cards

I made this card yesterday. Now that I'm up to date with the themes from the Blissfully Journaling group,(see my other site) I can get back to card and ATC making. This card is in response to a challenge to make a Christmas card using non-traditional colours.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Facing the Inevitable

Okay, now I've got to phone the garage for an appointment to get my tires changed and my brave little Honda Civic Hatchback winterized. This was the view I got when I opened my eyes and window blinds this morning. I have an appointment with the opthalmologist this afternoon. Pray for me.
The snowplows were out before I arose, and probably the sand(or whatever is used)trucks, too, so the roads should be okay. I'm the glass-half-full type.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More GPP Crusade 14

I rediscovered Sylvia Plath on Pilar Pollack's site I had read "The Bell Jar" in my twenties (back in the ice age), and found the poems depressing. Now, due to life experience? I can read them with more understanding and appreciation. Thanks for helping me rediscover Sylvia Plath, Pilar!

The Disquieting Muses
By Sylvia Plath

Mother, mother, what illbred aunt
Or what disfigured and unsightly
Cousin did you so unwisely keep
Unasked to my christening, that she
Sent these ladies in her stead
With heads like darning-eggs to nod
And nod and nod at foot and head
And at the left side of my crib?

Mother, who made to order stories
Of Mixie Blackshort the heroic bear,
Mother, whose witches always, always,
Got baked into gingerbread, I wonder
Whether you saw them, whether you said
Words to rid me of those three ladies
Nodding by night around my bed,
Mouthless, eyeless, with stitched bald head.

In the hurricane, when father's twelve
Study windows bellied in
Like bubbles about to break, you fed
My brother and me cookies and Ovaltine
And helped the two of us to choir:
"Thor is angry: boom boom boom!
Thor is angry: we don't care!"
But those ladies broke the panes.

When on tiptoe the schoolgirls danced,
Blinking flashlights like fireflies
And singing the glowworm song, I could
Not lift a foot in the twinkle-dress
But, heavy-footed, stood aside
In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed
Godmothers, and you cried and cried:
And the shadow stretched, the lights went out.

Mother, you sent me to piano lessons
And praised my arabesques and trills
Although each teacher found my touch
Oddly wooden in spite of scales
And the hours of practicing, my ear
Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable.
I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere,
From muses unhired by you, dear mother.

I woke one day to see you, mother,
Floating above me in bluest air
On a green balloon bright with a million
Flowers and bluebirds that never were
Never, never, found anywhere.
But the little planet bobbed away
Like a soap-bubble as you called: Come here!
And I faced my traveling companions.

Day now, night now, at head, side, feet,
They stand their vigil in gowns of stone,
Faces blank as the day I was born,
Their shadows long in the setting sun
That never brightens or goes down.
And this is the kingdom you bore me to,
Mother, mother. But no frown of mine
Will betray the company I keep.

The fifth verse beginning with the line, "Mother, you sent me to piano lessons" resonates particuliarly with me. After my mother's early death, Gram determined that I should "pick up where your mother left off," meaning that I should become an accomplished pianist, as mommy had been. I am not tone-deaf, but my musical interests lay in singing, rather than in piano playing. I persevered, and finally won the right to quit piano lessons and continue with voice lessons.
In the above poem, Plath seems to resent the fact that her mother was unable to banish the evil Sleeping Beauty-like "fairies", who attended Sylvia Plath from birth to death. Her mother couldn't prevent the hurricane from destroying their house. Most children discover at some point that their parents are not the gods they believed them to be as small children. Most children are not devastated by this discovery. The sensitive, fragile Sylvia Plath evidently did not.
This poem is filled with wonderful images, such as the darning-headed, faceless, evil ladies who appear at Plath's birth and never leave her. They give chills up the backbone. How they must have tormented Sylvia Plath!
There's the wonderful image of the hurricane, which causes the study windows to be "bellied in/Like bubbles about to break" , and the "twinkle dress" which contrasts so perfectly with Plath's "heavy-footed" performance. A performance accomplished "In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed Godmothers".
Rest in peace, Sylvia. Your struggles have resulted in wonderful words which amaze and delight, at the same time as they make one want to hold you and tell you that mothers cannot save us from all the ills of the world, but we can always fall back on the remembrance of their love and unequivacal approval of even our tonedeaf and heavy-footed performances.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Feeling Winter's Breath

Loss of Season
I knew the robins all had left yet
Hoped for one more song.
I saw the last leaf flutter down, yet
Searched for one last bloom.
The frozen breath of a steel-blue sky
Has sealed the lake’s clear eye.
Winter’s brittle step rings out, as
He bears an icy winding sheet.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Seasonal Thoughts

The picture in the masthead above is of a tree on my street. It expresses for me the world of color which is autumn. Autumn is a harlequin season of biting, brisk mornings and slowly toasted afternoons. It's sunlight magnified through stained glass leaves and sunlight weakened by truncated days. Autumn is walks through silent woods on paths voluble with brittle leaves, hearts that celebrate a feast of colour while bones chill at the Dark Season's advance. Autumn brings back school days, choirs, book clubs, and football. It terminates lazy summer days, vacations, baseball, barbecues and sundown at ten. Autumn is a harlequin season.
If you think that the photo for this post seems familiar, your're right. It's the picture I used for my Hemingway-style ATC in a previous post.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

GPP Crusade #14

Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

Only the light from the radio glows.
Mommy and I sit close in the dark
Waiting for music to fill our hearts.
Then the overture swells,
Stirring hidden corners in our minds.
I listen while Mommy weaves
Magical tales from strands of sound.

Long years have passed
Since those afternoons,
Long years since Mommy’s gone,
But her legacy lives
And breathes anew
In story-filled notes,
In darkened concert halls,
In magical corners of my mind.

If you're not familiar with Michelle Ward's Green Pepper Press Street Team monthly crusades, check out her site at
The Crusade this month is "Imaginery friends", in the form of muses. Who's yours?
My mother was, and is, my Muse. She died of breast cancer 30 November 1944 at the age of thirty-five, leaving a five-year-old daughter. The above poem is based on the Saturday afternoons Mommy and I spent listening to the radio broadcasts of Metropolitan Opera performances. We also went to concerts, ballets, and any other musical experiences my mother could find.

Always, always, Mommy explained beforehand what we were going to hear. She made an exciting story of Bizet, Bach, or Tchaikovsky. She was an accomplished pianist, and wrote short stories for the publications of Duchesne College, which she attended in Omaha, Nebraska.

I say she is still my muse, because the light with which she infused my imagination lives on in my poetry and other writing, in my interpretation of songs, and in any other artistic endeavor I undertake. Thanks to my mother, I see poetry and stories in the everyday things which surround me. Give me a car or a turtle, and I'll write you a poem, a story, or an essay. Maybe all three!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Reunions Rock!

I finally got back the film from my 50th High School reunion in Oklahoma City. Here I am with two of me with friends I hadn't seen since graduation. You know who you are!

I'm only putting up the best photos of the lot, but everyone in the other pictures was having just as much fun. Not their fault that I'm not a good photographer!
Would you believe that this was our very first high school class reunion? We all wished we'd hadn't waited 50 years to have our first.
The principal himself gave us the grand tour of the brand new McGuiness Catholic High School, and this is one of the many new classrooms. Only a little of the old building was incorporated into the new edifice. We were one of the first graduating classes in the then new Catholic High School, which opened in 1950. The "McGuiness" was added on later, to honor the Bishop McGuiness, who built our school.
We have something to smile about--friendship since childhood! Mary was in the class ahead of me, so wasn't at the reunion. I spent a couple of days at her home before moving on to the hotel where attendees from out of town stayed.