Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I've been thinking of something poetic to say about this. But, strangely, I find myself reaching only for tired phrases which no longer serve writers so well - "the sands of time are bitter sweet" and "parting is such sweet sorrow." 

The honest truth is my sand is piling high in certain rooms while in others it's tumbling into a sink hole. Thankfully, change finds me a willing passenger.

It's time to at last put No Cobwebs Here to bed. It's not that I haven't any more stray thoughts. Rather, it's time to rein them in and either set them free or give them room to breathe more deeply.

Hey, that was fairly poetic, don't you think?

I thank you for wanting to stop by and read my words. I thank those who chose to always comment publicly or privately. I hope I've given you a reason to smile. No Cobwebs Here will remain on the web so I also hope you'll occasionally come back and revisit posts you particularly enjoyed. I confess I do that on occasion myself.

All is well and bright at my end. I very much wish the same for all of you.

Safe travels my friends.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

List Mania

Along with insects, lists rule the world. And like insects, little thought is given to lists - other than the fact one is needed for whatever reason. This explains why the world is littered with paper scraps scribbled with needs, wants, wishes and to-dos.

Long ago and mostly because scraps of paper disappear in my world like magic on fire, I decided to exalt my lists. I began by purchasing a small notebook designated for them alone.

Yet as a woman who births multiple projects as if binging on fertility cocktails, I immediately ran into problems. My notebook was too small. It was also without tabs. What was I thinking!?

A big notebook, however, seemed cumbersome and somewhat pretentious. I opted instead for multiple notebooks - mid-range in size and in a lovely array of colors. A notebook for each project plus another for basic needs, wants, wishes and to-dos seemed the height of efficiency.

Yet, a new problem emerged. I could never remember which notebook housed what list...unless I made a list. But where would that list live? Surely not in another notebook! The answer seemed to be a scrap of paper.

You see my conundrum, don't you?  Stay tuned. It's more complicated than you imagine!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No Footprints of a Giant Hound Yet...

My stray thoughts are gone! Gone I tell you! I fear there's been a crime.

The veil of suspicion first falls on A Teatime Travesty. My producing and playing a part in this play makes her an obvious suspect - especially as she continually leaves an ever-growing mountain of evidence in every room of my home.

Yet, other than creating new dusting opportunities and an alibi for my own whereabouts three nights a week, I can not pin this on A Teatime Travesty. Our attention must turn to the youngest and oldest in my world.

New baby Sully's recent eviction from his abode of the last nine months changed my status in the world and waffled my time. It's also clear, when constructing the time line for this crime, that his arrival coincides with the disappearance of my stray thoughts.

Don't let his innocent eyes and perfect hands, seemingly too tiny to grasp any stray thoughts sailing past him, fool you. Baby Sully is on our A-List.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the oldest member of my family. I've long made it my business to do whatever is necessary to make my mother's life easy. Historically speaking, this has been an easy task requiring little of me. But our universe has shifted. It looked as if we were approaching an untrammeled road. In the end, we only bought the map. 

Yet, this incident also coincides with the loss of my stray thoughts. In addition to studying the map, perhaps I should check my mother's pockets.

It's sad when criminal elements touch one's life. But no worries. The game is afoot.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Part 3: I've Come a Long Way Baby!

Image compliments of Jas-eTea

I've come a long way in a week. Puerh is now pronounced with a capital "P" and a noticeable lilt at the end. Stephen need never know it was for a time pronounced "pooh the heir".

I've played it safe by so far sticking to raw puerhs. Long in history and once traded via the Ancient Tea Route, the second and third infusion of the 2006 Hawian Remote Mountain-Ancient Tree Raw Puerh rocked my world with its natural smokiness and long chocolate finish. Jinggu Cloud Mountain's 2011 Spring Old-Tree Raw Puerh allowed more than a hint of the astringency most raw puerhs are known for but it was most enjoyable and there was, yet again, that long finish.

I'm thinking puerhs perhaps give new meaning to "long finish". They're amazingly sensuous on your tongue, completely capturing your attention.

However, a true puerh adventure is not complete unless ripe puerhs have been given a go. To that end, I gleefully open the 2008 Menghai 7562 Ripe Puerh, considered to be the market standard. My step falters.

Is that cod? 


"Yes, Laurie."

"This Menghai's...there something oddly..."


"Cod came to mind..."

He laughs, "Wo dui."

"Whoa what?"

"Wo dui. It's the fermentation smell, a result of the wet composting of the leaves - usually a 45 to 90 day process. It simulates an aged puerh."

"It's a little stinky, Stephen."

"You haven't yet discovered the true character of Menghai- the earth and leather, the ripe plum and cherry. Let it air for a few days and try again."

"Okee-Dokee. I said I wanted adventure." I leave the bag of Menghai 7562 to air and reach for the Menghai Classic Puerh

In the end, I couldn't say the difference between the two was all that profound but I did prefer the Menghai 7562 - now wo dui free. Tobacco and leather came to mind. The tiniest bit of sugar brought out a slight cherry note. And that finish!

"Oh my!" says this transplant to the south. "I mean, my oh my!"  

I may be forever spoiled. I could drink this tea all day.

I've now aired, rinsed and brewed puerhs. My eyes have been opened, bats have been forever banished and my world is larger. 

But there's now a new problem. I, so far, appear unwilling to open some of the samples, particularly the 2000 Yong Pin Hao "Yi Wu Zheng Shan" Raw Puerh. It's the oldest puerh Stephen sent and Yi Wu is one of the most famous of tea mountains, with trees over 200 years old. The collector in me rages with the tea drinker.

On the other hand, perhaps my puerh adventure is simply not over. 

Let me get back to you on this Yong Pin Hao about 20 years.  

A special thank you to Stephen Shelton for his generosity and his willingness to play. I encourage you to visit Jas-eTea and to begin your own puerh adventure!  

If you'd like to view an 8-part series about the Ancient Tea route, click here. According to this site, the Ancient Tea Road was similar to the Silk Road. Located in southwestern China, it was "an important gateway for transportation and communication between ancient China and West...a giant platform for the political, economic, social and cultural intersection of different ethnic groups and a...lifeline stretching on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau..." Fascinating stuff my friends. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Part 2: The Puerh Adventure Begins

Image compliments of

Your first question might be why turn to Stephen Shelton of Jas-eTea when embarking on a puerh adventure.

Facebook. Although neither of us could pick the other from a crowd, Facebook friends are there for one another. He took my call. 

It's also worth noting that Stephen currently possesses one of the largest inventories of puerh in the U.S. He deals directly with small tea estates and prefers limited productions.

He kindly sent generous samples and more than I had anticipated. There's was a 2011 Old Tree Raw Puerh from Jinggu Cloud Mountain, a 2008 Menghai Classic Ripe and a 2005 Yong Pin Hao Stone-Pressed Yi Wu Mountain among others.

This actually sent me into a panic. I was now committed. Who lets a Facebook friend down by pouring his tea soup down the drain? What had I gotten myself into?


"Yes, Laurie."

"I don't quite know where to start"...she said with false calm, not wanting him to think he had to talk her off the ledge. 

"The Jinggu Purple Bud is particularly smooth and a good gateway into puerh. Open the bag and take a whiff."

Take a whiff?! He wanted me to smell it while he waited? Bats flew helter skelter.

"Oh....sure." Good Lord, is it terribly wrong to lie to a Facebook friend? Could I get away with a vague, "Ahhhhh....." and not ever open the bag?

Resolve won over whining and white lies. I opened the bag and peered into it while holding it at arm's length. With a growing sense of safety I allowed it a fleeting sweep past my nose, testing for olfactory ambush.

Dried florals. Hay. No bats. An invitation. Accepting, I buried my nose in the bag and inhaled deeply.

Truly lovely.

"Thanks for underpinning, Stephen. I can take it from here."

Standing tall in the way only those who've conquered can, I bring 180 ml to fish eyes, the stage where large, lazy bubbles - like fish eyes - rise to the surface. Gently pouring that over 8 grams of Jinggu Purple Bud, it "awakens" for twenty seconds before I pour off. The leaves rest a minute before more water is added and allowed a 10-second steep. No straining off the leaves for this first infusion.

Only 10 seconds you exclaim? It is an extremely short brew time yet this is simply the way of puerh. But also keep in mind we're using eight grams of tea rather than the standard 2.5 per 180 ml of water (roughly six ounces of water).

The brew is golden, yet so pale its roundness in my mouth is shocking. The mouth feel is tremendous and smooth. Hay still comes to mind - yet the finish is long and distinctly honey-like. I could drink this tea all day. The second infusion, now 20 seconds, continues to hold my interest.


That 3-hour trek by foot to reach Wenshan, the remote village where you purchase this tea? Worth every step."

Emboldened, I reach for the 2006 Haiwan "Remote Mountain Ancient Tree" raw puerh. Stay tuned for Part 3: In Deep with Puerh.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Part 1: Getting My Tea Party On With Puerh

In an effort to "get my tea party on" I decided to take the advice of my June 1st post and try a tea I've never before tasted. I chose to aim high with puerh.

Why choose this particular tea? Much about it turns my head - rather like being told Sam Elliot has just walked into the room. This has yet to happen but my hopes remain high. 

Puerh is the only aged tea and is collected by some much as is wine. It's spoken of as vintage. Hel-lowww!? Have you ever met me!?

It's a niche tea only in recent years catching the attention of the west - despite a history dating back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 A.D.). It's difficult for a history lover to be cutting edge so one must grab opportunities as they come.

It hails from only a few places on earth - China's Yunnan province as well as bordering tropical regions in Burma, Vietnam, Laos and very eastern India. In all honesty, this much appeals to the tea snob I know I am. 

It's long been revered for it's healing properties. Who doesn't need some healing she asks in her best Tea-A-Ria Bronx voice? 

It varies wildly in flavor and styles, yet is said to taste unlike any other tea on earth. I could have lead with this and have been done with it!  

Now, it's not as if I haven't had opportunities to sample puerh. It's almost touched my lips several times. However, these samples all possessed an aroma that severely crinkled my nose. In the end, down the drain it went.

Puerh is often described as earthy yet that seemed an understatement. Caves came to mind. As did darkness. Dampness. And bats. 

Tea lovers are rarely called upon to be brave. Can I rise to this occasion? Yes, but I can't do it alone.


Stay tuned for Part 2: The Puerh Adventure Begins. In the meantime, if you'd like to read more about puerh, visit Stephen Shelton's web site at JAS-eTea.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tea Talk

Even without resorting to phrases such as Tea-fully Yours and Thanks for Your Hospitali-tea, one cannot live deep in the cup without sooner or later being steeped in tea word play. Here are a few revolving around my own tea world...

- "The love you feel for me wouldn't fill a tea cup in Texas"...Once said by a husband playfully letting his need for more attention be known." The temptation to edit was large - "You need more attention than a Texas teacup" - but quickly seen as counterproductive.

- "Only fannings and so much dust"...must be said with a sigh.

- "Well, tea this"...said properly said under one's breath it verges upon blasphemous and yes, hasn't the least hospitali-tea.

And no...I'm remain unwillingly to share the events surrounding the evening I became The Chocolate Mar-Tea-Nee Lady.

I am, however, rather fond of a nickname I've lately been dubbed by certain folks on Fort Myers Beach...Princess BrewHaHa. How funny is that!?

Tea on my friends.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Always a Time to Celebrate!

It's true. We tea lovers are not content with January's National Hot Tea Month. We needed a second month in which to celebrate the glories of our brew. Hence, June's National Iced Tea Month. 

Two Leaves Tea Company have also suggested a Get Out of Your Rut and Try a New Tea Month and Increase Your Mental Flexibility by Sipping Your Tea While Using your Non-Dominant Hand to Hoist Your Mug Month. I'm not sure, however, we can claim more than two months of the year without appearing grasping.

While May is a bit slow as celebratory months go - with Artisan Gelato Lovers perhaps leading the pack - June is a celebratory month for many. Tea lovers share June with Turkey Lovers (now there's a mystery), Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Lovers and Soul Food Lovers.

Anyway, Happy Iced Tea Month! Although I've lately been light in mentioning anything tea-ish (mentions of Steeped aside), look for much tea-talk this month.

For starters, allow me to suggest a few ways to celebrate the next 30 days...

1.  Plant a herbal tea garden -  mint, chamomile, basil and lemon balm - in a container of your choice either for yourself or a friend.

2.  Make ice cubes of rose petals or lemon and peppermint. Or, make them from tea so your iced tea remains undiluted.

3.  Master true southern sweet tea: Steep six teabags, 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of baking soda in two cups boiling water. Let steep for 8-10 minutes. Add six cups cold water. 

4. Invest in a popsicle mold and make tea popsicles by doubling both the amount of loose leaf tea and the steeping time. Add sweetner and any other ingredients your heart desires. Use within a week for the best flavor.

5. Stitch a tea cup and saucer travel caddy from the free pattern found at

6. Embrace adventure and taste one tea each week you've never before tried.

7. Cook one dish each week using tea as an ingredient. Hint: Use tea instead of water for noodles or gravy. Or, place 1-3 tablespoons of tea in the water when steaming vegetables, fish or rice. 

8. Host a unique tea for an intimate friend: Tea by the Light of the Moon or A Midnight Jammied Garden Tea.

9. Write a tea haiku. I heard a few's not hard once you decide there's a haiku waiting to pour from your soul. If you believe, at least part of the three-line and 5-7-5 syllables will come to you. The rest you'll have to work at.

10. Purchase Steeped: The Wanderings & Delights of a Tea Adventurer or And Then It Was Teatime for yourself or a friend. You must have seen this coming.

I was going to add scrub tea stains from grout of kitchen tile but upon reflection, that's clearly a post National Iced Tea Month activity. Hopefully one not cutting too deeply into July's Lasagna Awareness Month.

I've just re-read the above list and it occurs to me it's quite pro-active, brimming with verbs, much doing and the assumption you've taken the month off.  Follow my suggestions and you may well bid June adeiu with feelings of intense accomplishment.

But know this. It is indeed fine to simply be...and think tea.

Monday, May 27, 2013

See How My Garden Grows

Image compliments of Free Spirit Fabric

 How I wish you could have seen my Portland, Oregon garden. By the time I waved it a teary farewell, it owned "cottage". Wild and lush, you could slip into it anytime but during winter's dripping slumber and it'd forever toss you bouquets.

I've valiantly attempted to reinvent myself as a subtropical, Zone-10 salt-tolerant girl, but the results are less than spectacular. I now appear deeply rooted mostly in the concept of a garden.

Oddly, at this same moment I've attained "Expert Status" with my Through the Garden Gate articles at

Am I a poser?

"Wonk, wonk, wonk..."

You're right! My writing projects are my garden.

I've asparagus, aka Escaping Neverland, which takes two years (or more) to mature...

(sighing heavily as she speaks into a cell phone)
How many times do I have to tell you? You're not lost! Just turn the car around.
Yes, it's really that simple. Look, I've got to go. 

(hangs up) 
How do they keep getting my number?

I've radishes, aka The Monaco Don, which are famous for quickly approaching harvest...

...Could I interest you in a glass of Cold Duck?

Cold Duck! Jake, that's so expensive! What's the occasion...Oh Good Lord, you did it, didn't you!?
(gleefully spins in a circle)
I can't believe it! I mean, I can believe it because I knew you could do it but...oh my gosh...Monaco!

I've the quickly multiplying but fleeting crocus, aka I Can Fix It. Fleeting isn't enough for some crocus, by the way. Certain of them refuse to truly step within your reach...

The edges are frayed,
Here's a tear,
It's unraveling there.

But I can fix it,
Mend it,
Let my needle fly through it. 

The light is gone,
Only shadows
And shattered fabric remain.

But I can fix it,
Mend it,
Let my needle fly through it. 

Put it down,
It is done,
Walk away.


I've an ever-blooming rose waiting to be fertilized, aka A Shark's Tale...

I knew something bad was going to happen because I saw a shark in the leaves...the tea leaves. Although, I purchased Your Fortune In a Cup only a week ago so I couldn't yet call myself an oracle of the cup. I could be seeing a zebra for all I knew. I would have preferred that because I'd then be destined to begin a long journey by water...

Garden tours are a lovely diversion, don't you think? Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to find my garden gloves. I mean, my notebook.

Care to peruse my Through the Garden Gate Series? If so, click on the links below:

1. Through the Garden Gate with Vita Sackville West 

2. Through the Garden Gate with a Victorian Exotic 

3. Through the Garden Gate with the Ambassador of Love

4. Through the Garden Gate with Sunflowers

5. Through the Garden Gate with the Queen of Annuals

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Mark of an Educated Mind

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it...Aristotle

Back in the days of The Ladies Tea Guild and our beloved quarterly, The Gilded Lily, I was apple, lime and kelly green. This lead to occasionally being cold cocked and rained upon. You learn quickly how to drop and roll and where the windshield wipers are. 

And you know you'll always be in for a surprise.

Take the Autumn 2001 issue of The Gilded Lily for instance. A Pleasurable Shudder, was the feature - a well-researched historical piece about the Victorian ghost story as a genre of writing. I was pleased with it.

My pleasure slightly dimmed after receiving emails from a woman threatening to cancel her subscription if..."this publication continued  featuring blatant non-Christian text."

Whoa, Missy! Hang on to your teacup! 

I didn't drop and roll. Rather, I grew taller.

A Pleasurable Shudder did not claim the existence of ghosts or mention my own thoughts on ghostly subjects. It didn't even express my irritation with ghosts refusing to show themselves despite my eagerness for an introduction. 

I was, "Just stating the facts, Ma'am."

It's hard to fathom those possessed of such delicate sensibilities. Even the facts of history set their hearts aflutter? Poor things.

But one of us here had to draw a line in the sand. I immediately sent a full subscription refund.

I bring this up as a friend offering pre-publication thoughts on Steeped fretted over the following lines:

Before going any further, I’m compelled to mention I find politics less than enthralling. Imagine a woman dressed in
high Victorian style sitting in an opera box, sighing as she occasionally gazes into lovely sterling opera glasses at the action below her. That woman would be me.

That said, I could not miss even a political tea party when it came to town. Not only could I not resist, I was fearful of missing something. After all, John Adams, had this to say of the Boston Tea Party:

“This is the most magnificent movement of all! There is a dignity, a majesty, a sublimity, in this last effort of the patriots that I greatly admire. The people should never rise without doing something to be remembered - something notable and striking. This destruction of the tea is so bold, so daring, so firm, intrepid, and inflexible, and it must have so important consequences, and so lasting that I can't but consider it an epoch in history.”

On the chance this Tea Party was indeed a “most magnificent movement” or an “epoch in history” in the making, I was determined to be on hand. And my expectations were high. Did I understand the original tea party was about taxation without representation? Absolutely. For the record, I did not expect the Eleanor, the Beaver, or the Dartmouth to be sitting at the water's edge. Neither did I anticipate men dressed as Mohawk Indians to be in attendance. Although, personally, I think costuming adds immeasurably to any event.

Her fear was some might find these lines offensive and, by association, myself as well. Really?

I realize my having long retained a private cabin on the Good Ship Lollipop sometimes leaves me in the lurch, but...really? Those lines are a small part of a larger essay having not a thing to do with politics? The essay is called Searching for Tea High and Low for heaven sakes! She said as she stood taller, thinking some need put their big girl panties on.

The text stayed put. 

And...I confess to having attended EVERY Tea Party held in my part of the world. Need it even be a confession? Really?

I had to go. It still pains me that I missed the Boston Tea Party. 

But beyond often do you get to experience news in your own backyard with the opportunity to form your own first hand opinion? I'd hate to be the only one saying, "Well, I saw it on TV but...." What if John Adams was right?

I'm sure Aristotle was right. And I think he would have love Steeped.

That Autumn 2001 issue of The Gilded Lily is still available, by the way, at

Friday, May 17, 2013

We're Having None of It

Picture this...

I've been writing all morning and, like Van Gogh, have been "hard at it...with the enthusiasm of a Marseillaise eating bouillabaisse". 

I make a cup of the luscious Big Red Robe oolong I'm lately enamored of. Steamed asparagus and arugula rolled in thinly sliced roasted turkey - delicately peppered - waits for my lips. And Fritos.

I now plant myself, legs outstretched, in front of the television. I'm alone so I can flip through channels to my heart's content. 

And then, just as the intoxicating bouquet of Big Red Robe discovers my nose, Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP, begins talking.

Referring to the Tea Party he says, "They are the American wing of the Taliban."

The asparagus-arugula-turkey-roll falls from my hand into the Fritos, Fritos dive into my Big Red Robe lobbing Big Red Robe drops pretty much everywhere.

I am saucer-less! Actually that's another story...

I am speech-less! And now restless with discontent. No, that's not quite right. I'm %{(*&@!<+% white hot, storm-producing enraged. 

And yet, blowing up something or beheading someone never occurs to me.
As a matter of fact, I pause to consider why I would waste lunch, a lovely cup of tea and outrage worthy of an audience on a man whose speech renders him worthy of nothing but my ridicule. 

History for starters. At this moment, specifically suffrage. 

It's long been a strategy of those in opposition to vilify a grass roots movement gaining recognition. When unruly suffragists would not behave as expected - refusing to stop picketing the White House, for instance - they were spoken of as Bolsheviks, dangerous to national security, unpatriotic, unnatural...women who might eat their own children given the chance. They were also beaten and jailed and, as we know...

Although pleased with my critical thinking and ability to make historical correlations, my ire is fueled by Bond's blatant manipulation. At the risk of the truth to be sure, but the offense goes beyond that. 

Those who manipulate - for whatever reason - see themselves as smarter than you, as knowing better. They see you as...less. Collectively, you and humanity are controllable. Like a vast herd of sheep.

And that? Well, we're having none of it. We're not beginning a hunger strike or anything but...we're having none of it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In Need of a Lie Down

I planted myself at the beach this afternoon where I realized such activity was foolishly long overdue. These lines came to me...

I'm weary of weaving webs,
Of energizer bunnies
And salad spinners.
I want to lie me down,
Be covered with lettuce,
A rabbit foot in my pocket
And listen to the song a spider sings.

 And now? It's teatime.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The List of 25

On FB and in magazines I've lately been seeing people share 25 Things People Don't Know About Me. It got me thinking.

First off, there's the risk of sharing too much. But even greater is the risk of sharing such mundane bits of personal trivia that people associate your List of 25 with nap time. Does reading I now put sugar only in my morning tea cause you to yawn?

Are there those who, upon reading such a list, believe they now know you? Will some attempt to use such information to corner you in conversation? "Wowsa, Laurie. You ARE uncomfortable by that old wooden wheel chair!"

Upon deciding to develop my own list, I immediately ran into glitches running deeper than "Who Cares!" Will some feel betrayed you never shared such details with them? Will they despise having to read the List of 25 with the rest of the world? What if they develop their own List of 25 about you more insightful than your own!?

On the chance you want to develop your own List of 25, know it takes longer than you might think. My own required much waffling. Vastly different than waffles, which I love - especially when all the holes fill with butter.

25 Things People Don't Know About Me....


1...was the youngest baby to survive open-heart surgery in 1959.
Figured beginning with a biggie would keep you reading 

2...have been doing yoga for 35 years. 

3...always quit exercise classes.
Wasted much money on this discovery phobic about touching cigarettes.

5...remain amazed I became a public speaker.
I used to be quite shy...truly. fascinated by serial killers. 90% grey.  
This could be a vicious rumor but it'll be years before we know for sure.

8...wake up almost every night at 2 a.m.

9...will never eat sushi.  
I mean never.   

10...could live on crab and creme brulee.
With a smattering of mashed potatoes occasionally thrown at me 

11...always drink coffee on tea event days.
I am not a traitor! 

12...currently am working on two plays, one short story and one eBook. 

13...salivate at the mere thought of soy sauce.

14...must make my bed, even if it's right before I get in it.

15...could care less about diamonds but have more opals than one woman needs.

16...once accidently turned my dryer on when my cat was in it.

17...faint occassionally.

18...still like Love's Fresh Lemon perfume best.

19...was a massage therapist for 18 years and am working on returning to it.

20...have used mostly my own homemade skin care products for over five years now.

21...have a great love affair with essential oils. 
Ah...Ginger! Lavender! Rosewood! not good with improv or snappy comebacks. 
Always need a script or a moment! not feel I'm an actress.
I'm a story teller! 

24...could easily be a hermit. losing my passion for gardening.

26...had my babies at home.
Sorry...found myself on a roll

Hey! Wake up! Are you still here? 

A list of 25 Things You Should NEVER Know About Me might have better held your attention...;)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Mother's Day Thought

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I grow less and less enamored of Mother's Day as the years pass.

A day devoted to honoring mothers is a grand idea yet the day simply doesn't possess the gleeful feel of a birthday. There is neither poultry nor cake associated with it so it's rather grey from a purely culinary perspective. 

And what of the ubiquitous and always packed beyond leisure and comfort Mother's Day Brunch you ask? It only adds to my curmudgeon-ness.

While I appreciate President Woodrow Wilson's signing the joint resolution (May 8, 1914) that made Mother's Day possible, its endless commercialization now makes it all terribly contrived. There's a degree of pressure and stress associated with it whether you're the mother, the child - young or old - or the father of the child.

Mothers, alone or collectively, are a force to be reckoned with. Rather than Mother's Day being a day mothers take off in anticipation of flowers and gifts, perhaps it should be a day when we work harder...collectively. 

While Julia Ward Howe's 1870 Mother's Day Proclamation may be naive given the current state of our world, it's message is one all mothers relate to:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar but of God... 

What might happen if we mothers, even on this one day, took Julia Ward Howe's words to heart? What might happen if we took the fierce passion and determination we possess for our children and consciously threw that energy into the ether - knowing mothers everywhere were doing the same thing? How would it change our world? 

I think we should try it. 

I confess to still wanting a card though. Homemade. With my children's own words written on it.

I still have all the others.

Friday, April 12, 2013

More on Poetry & Poets

Now where were we? Oh yes, we were discussing how poetry should be easy to write. 

My last argument for its apparent ease of creation is that you find it everywhere...

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~Leonard Cohen 

The sad truth is this: There's nothing easy about writing poetry...

If the author had said "Let us put on appropriate galoshes," there could, of course, have been no poem. ~Author Unknown

It's a world unto itself...

Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. ~Carl Sandburg
It requires the tossing about of impressive yet mysterious words such as abecedarian, acatalectic, clerihew, dactyl and trochee. This is but one reason why so many find themselves in awe of the poet. There are others...

Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science. ~Sigmund Freud

The poet doesn't see the world differently but he's more in tune with its shadows than are the rest of us. He feels the world deeply... 

A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music...and then people crowd about the poet and say to him:  "Sing for us soon again;" that is as much as to say, "May new sufferings torment your soul." 
Soren Kierkegaard

The fact we almost expect poets to experience a certain degree of suffering is perhaps why they're allowed a great deal of latitude...

If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.  ~Thomas Hardy 

We expect to be moved by poetry, and even if we don't understand a certain poem, we know somewhere someone does and that person is certainly moved... 

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. ~Thomas Gray 

However, we also expect poetry to outlast us...

Browsing the dim back corner
Of a musty antique shop
Opened an old book of poetry
Angels flew out from the pages
I caught a whiff of a soul

The ink seemed fresh as today
Was that voices whispering
The tree of the paper still grows.
~Terri Guillemets 

And lastly, why this is true, I don't know. But, it is... 

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.  ~G.K. Chesterton