Extended Scoring Season Finally Wraps Up

Hello to all my readers! Long time with no post from me, sorry. I didn’t keep up with #NaPoWriMo this year very well either. I started my seasonal employment again back in April, and in the past two years scoring wrapped up a couple days after the Memorial Day holiday. They received more tests to score this year so I worked all the way through yesterday. Not that I’m complaining, it does mean bringing home more money with my seasonal gig, but I did lose motivation on the poetry front.

And in other big news, Gretchen graduated from high school on May 18th. She also completed the ACE program at EMCC on May 11th.

School years disappear
Tell me how she became a
High school graduate

Earn a diploma
Four years go by in a flash
So long to high school

I was so preoccupied with work and day to day housework, I wasn’t even trying to write haiku for the #haikuchallenge on twitter. My response to the challenge on Thursday was the first tweet I sent out in over a month! But now that work is complete for yet another year, I’m hoping I’ll get back into writing more poetry.

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Hello February

valentine 2019

WestGate Glendale, AZ

Shows up to class late
would rather see his sweetheart
than attend English

A long time ago, when we were in college, one semester Shawn would wait for me outside of one of my classes in the English building (remember I was an English Education major). At the end of the semester, he earned a C in the English class he was enrolled in and then I had the same professor for a class. I told the professor my fiance was not happy with the C he gave him. The professor smiled and replied, well he shouldn’t have skipped class and then show up in the building to see you. LOL! The moral of the story, don’t skip a class (very often) and then show up where the professor can see you and know you were at school.

The Westgate over in Glendale had a heart display up for Valentine’s Day. Shawn and I went over there on the 8th to take a selfie. Of course Shawn added his own fingerprint to the photo later. Then on Friday the 15th, we went to the poetry festivus at Alwun House.

butterfly

Shawn’s sculpture in Erotic Show 2019

Caterpillars know
anything is possible
Butterflies emerge

Then on Saturday night we went to see the Arizona Ballet and Phoenix Symphony performance of The Firebird and La Sylphide both pieces were very interesting.

Tickets to ballet
Dancers perform La Sylphide
and then The Firebird

On top of all this, I was also busy filling out my return to work paperwork. I’ll be busy grading essays again this season. Patricia over at poetry pea included one of my haiku in her sportku podcast, please go and have a listen. Since I could not play sports due to my CP that is what I wrote about. FYI – CBS 5 news in Phoenix is holding a phone bank February 27 to raise money for UCP (United Cerebral Palsy).

 

#PoetBlogRevival Part 2

BLOG BADGE 2019 Poetry Blogging Network

March also happens to be Cerebral Palsy awareness month and through the #PoetBlogRevival, I met Bekah Steimel, who was interviewing poets about their work as part of her blog. My interview appeared in March so I shared my poem Escape with her readers. And this brings us to April, National Poetry Month or better known to my readers as #NaPoWriMo where I insanely write a poem a day from the prompts at napowrimo.net

In 2017 I also got a job as a remote reader, grading the essays on standardized tests and I returned to this work in 2018, making April even more insane. Near the beginning of the month my poem. Pedernal, was published on ekphrastic.net. It was written back in 2011 when Shawn and I visited Ghost Ranch in New Mexico as part of our 15th anniversary trip. For anyone discouraged by rejections I can tell you your poetry will find a home somewhere. I actually got a rejection a couple weeks ago the same day I made the submission; and the editor said they send out quick replies so you can find the proper fit for your poetry. I know it’s meant to soften the blow of the rejection, but less than a day! Oh well, the poem went back in the queue.

Also in April, Patricia had a breakfast themed haiku podcast and despite the insanity of the month, I made a contribution. She also include a piece from my evil twin. Then we entered May and remote reading wound down for another year along with the school year. Rachael had a birthday – TWENTY; no longer a teenager and someone shared a quote by Sylvia Plath I found rather apropos. In July Patricia’s podcast focused on women; so you know me, one Sylvia Plath quote turned into haiku. The day the podcast was posted, I made my children listen to it while we were eating dinner. Hey, your mother’s a poet and you’re going to learn to like it.

AHHH… August the start of a brand new school year. Gretchen is now a senior in high school! How did that happen? It also happened to be the month I started not feeling well. One issue being the Cerebral Palsy, doing everything with one hand is catching up to me. My left arm/shoulder decided to spasm on me. I’m used to spasms on my right side due to the CP, but the left?! Come on I need that hand to work. A trip to the ER and explaining where the pain was located, the doctor swept his arm back and forth, Do you do this motion very often? Hmmm… let me think, yeah vacuuming,sweeping, mopping; chores I do everyday! So it was off to a physical therapist to learn exercises for my left hand. Ok that was new and different; I’ve only been to PT for CP related exercises.

At the end of the month three of my poems appeared in the summer issue of Unstrung. Then September, October and November were filled with doctor appointments I could have done without. I did not keep up with weekly blog posts for the poet blog revival 😦 But tomorrow begins a brand new year filled with new possibilities. And on a positive note, I do like my poetry short. It isn’t a huge strain to type out one-handed. Today’s #haikuchallenge word is place. And tying part 2 into part 1, I bring you another poem about the cold weather.

Freezing desert temps
Someone turn the sun back on
This place is too cold

My WTForecast app told me it was 31 this morning. Fortunately we had a bone-in ham for Christmas and split peas were set to soaking last night. I am off to make the split pea soup to keep us warm on the last day of 2018. Happy New Year!

October Disappearing Fast

 

Days dissolve quickly
First blog post in October
Busy holiday

The second week of October was fall break. Rachael had no school Monday and Tuesday; Gretchen had off the entire week. Saturday October 6th, Poppo flew down for the vacation time. Sunday we went over to Barnes & Noble – a tradition for this family of readers. Then we had dinner at Claim Jumpers. Monday we drove out to Scottsdale to visit with Caitlin. The first picture is me at P.F.Chang’s – the one in Scottsdale has an art sculpture kaleidoscope. Then Tuesday Rachael had work; we had to take Gretchen over to the orthodontist to fix her permanent retainer. We picked up some breakfast at McDonald’s and then went back out to Scottsdale in the afternoon. We picked up Caitlin and drove over to Tempe to see Rachael’s apartment. Shawn came over from work and we all ate at Oregano’s. Gretchen got the boneless Buffalo chicken. Then she treated everyone to StarBuck’s with her gift cards from the orthodontist.

Wednesday Shawn took Gretchen’s leftovers from Claim Jumpers to work for lunch. Rachael was back to school. Poppo, Gretchen and I spent the day at home until Gretchen’s eye appointment and then we went to Yogurtini. Thursday Gretchen wanted to go to the butterfly exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens. The three of us spent a couple hours there; Gretchen and I even got to release new butterflies into the garden. Then we went back to ASU to get Rachael for lunch. The three of us at Dilly’s Deli in Tempe. Thursday was the day Shawn took Gretchen’s Buffalo chicken to work.

First leftovers snatched
Rachael buys more on Friday
Dad strikes second time

On Friday Gretchen asked how to heat up her chicken. Umm… what chicken? My leftovers from Oregano’s. You don’t have any leftovers; Dad took them to work. Later I tell Rachael about the incident and she goes over to Oregano’s and gets more chicken before heading home. So Gretchen got more chicken. Everyone was raving about it; I had to try a bite. They are delicious. Rachael and Gretchen shared the order Friday night and there were a few leftover. Saturday Rachael had some for lunch and left a couple for Gretchen once she got home from school. Well Dad saw them in the fridge and ate them AGAIN! I told him we’re going to tape a big – Dad, Do NOT touch! on the next order!

Back from Buffalo

Vacation over
Housework keeps husband busy
while I supervise

 

Okay I did steam mop the bathroom floor and cleaned the shower before doing the hard work of supervising. It’s amazing how dirty floors get leaving three cats alone in a house for a week. I cleaned out the litter box yesterday before watching TV; then went down the hall to scoop out the one in the girls’ bathroom and found Rachael beat me to it. And somehow this morning Gretchen went off to 4 Paws with Rachael to clean more litter boxes. 😉 Actually Rachael says Gretchen plays with kittens more than cleaning.

Meanwhile we are still minus one dog. Nonnie worked yesterday not sure about today, trying to find out as 4 Paws is close to her house and the girls can pick her up on the way home, but haven’t heard anything from Nonnie. It’s strange not having a dog underfoot, but it has made it easier to sweep, mop and vacuum all the hair accumulated in the house by three cats.

In other news before we left on vacation, Rachael started working at the ASU research veterinary clinic and Gretchen finished her summer classes at EMCC. She got a B in Public Speaking and an A in Sociology. Well I should get back to cleaning while I’m still minus a couple children and a dog.

Phoenix ComiCon Evolving

Today on Facebook I was reminded we attended our first ComiCon in Phoenix eight years ago. I heard Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) was going to be there. The last time I went to see him was in 1994 up in Toronto when Shawn and I attended a con with both Frakes and Sirtis (Counselor Troi). Last year we were able to attend the Con in Phoenix because I won a contest through Bear Essential News. This past weekend was the Phoenix Comic Fest; yes the name was changed. Apparently they are in litigation over the use of ComiCon. And Saturday the fest was closed early because of a fire alarm and I learned next year they are going to be Phoenix Fan Fusion. Of course anyone who knows me, knows I’m going to get a poem out of it.

Phoenix fan fusion
found last year’s ComiCon badge
crushed name has to change

Sunday’s #haikuchallenge word was crush. Saturday’s was found. I used two in one haiku. We didn’t make it to the fest this year. The remote reading has been keeping me busy. I actually had a shift yesterday. Despite working fewer days than last year, I’ve logged in more hours. I’m not complaining and because no one else was working yesterday, we went to see Solo – A Star Wars Story when my work day was done. We did have a sci-fi weekend. Then today’s #haikuchallenge word is career and I wrote about my job once again.

Make money reading
want a career in English
grade standardized tests

Gretchen started her summer classes at EMCC today. She had a small 4 day summer break. 😉 Actually she’ll only be in summer classes until June 28th and then can enjoy freedom until her senior year starts on August 7th. The same day Rachael is signed up to take the GRE. Rachael took Gretchen over to her first day this morning and is still waiting to hear about the ASU job she interviewed for a couple weeks ago.

Reading, Reading and Even More

Reading. 😉 Yes, it’s that time of year again. I’m doing remote reading and scoring tests. I have officially made up Rachael’s lost grant money with the hours I put in by the end of shift today. The rest of my time scoring this season is nice cushioning.

Since I’ve been reading, I haven’t really spent much time on poetry. But most years I’ve used May as a destress from writing 30 poems in thirty days in April. On the school front, Gretchen got an A in Eng 102 and Rachael got an A+ in OChem 2; she’s signed up for 20 credits this coming Fall semester. Gretchen took her AP US History test today; next Wednesday is her AP English test. The day before Rachael will be interviewing over at ASU to help out the veterinarian (one of the job opportunities I stopped waiting to hear on before I bought airplane tickets). Rachael is also signed up to take the GRE in August before the fall semester begins.

Tomorrow is the #Urbanwinewalk in downtown Phoenix, hopefully Shawn and I will be able to spend some time over there. And of course Sunday is Mother’s Day and then Monday is back to work. Gretchen has only two weeks left for high school. Then Tuesday May 29 her ACE summer courses start – Public Speaking and Sociology!

#NaPoWriMo 2018 Day Twenty-five

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My children know I’m crazy

Beware sleep deprived
mom who will walk into walls
may trip over cats

Do not approach her
without sufficient coffee
may misinterpret

Do not approach her
if she holds a sharp object
may take fork to foot            😉

NaPoWriMo Prompt – And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Today, we challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself! (Mine definitely includes the statement: “Do Not Feed More Than Four Cookies Per Hour.”
Happy writing!

Good morning and welcome to another installment of #NaPoWriMo a day late. This morning I already accomplished buying airline tickets. 😀 WooHoo! All four of us will be shuffling off to Buffalo at the end of June. Gretchen’s last day of summer classes is June 28th but I’ve been waiting to hear about Rachael’s summer schedule – which is still up in the air. Whatever she ends up doing, she will just need the 4th of July week off, because she’s going on vacation.

I did start working on this prompt yesterday, but then Rachael made pancakes for breakfast; Shawn went grocery shopping (I had to put food away); and Gretchen found out her ACT score – 24. I told her it is a very good score, but she was all moody because it isn’t a great score and she felt like she did really well when she took the test. Her SAT is 1160 and everything I looked up yesterday said 24 ACT is comparable to 1180 SAT. I told her at least you are consistent. Still did not help. I looked up ASU stats; she doesn’t want to go far from home. Their website said any ACT score 22 and above is accepted. They will take as low as a 19. She is good, improving her score will help with more scholarship money but she doesn’t have to worry about being accepted especially if she keeps up her GPA. Still none of this improved her mood yesterday.

This morning there is no sleep deprived mom to deal with because I slept in – first day of teacher walkout. The high school campus is open for half the day, they’re dismissing students at 10:15, but do to the low number of teachers expected to show up; they are having a big tutoring, extra help session. Gretchen’s last day of Eng 102 is May 5th and she has a paper to write for that class and figured it would be good to stay home and work on it without being penalized with an absence. This afternoon after I’m done working, it’s back to the orthodontist to pick up her new retainer. And at some point I hope to get to today’s poetry prompt.

#NaPoWriMo Day Seven

IMG_0372

Poet vs Housewife

April

wars between writing verse or cleaning house.

Poet crafting lines, meter and rhyme tops her list while housework falls short

NaPoWriMo Prompt – And now for our (optional) prompt. In our interview, Kyle Dargan suggests writing out a list of all of your different layers of identity. For example, you might be a wife, a grandmother, a Philadelphian, a dental assistant, a rabid Phillies fan, a seamstress, retiree, agnostic, cancer survivor, etc.. These are all ways you could be described or lenses you could be viewed through. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. Now write a poem in which one of the identities from the first list contends or talks with an identity from the second list. This might turn out to be kind of a “heavy” exercise, emotionally, but I hope you will find the results enlightening.

Good morning and welcome to day seven of #NaPoWriMo. I had a small problem with my list of identities; I couldn’t really divide them. Am I the only one who waivers from feeling powerful to feeling vulnerable? The two identities I picked – poet and housewife, depending on the day each can make me feel great but then each can make me feel overwhelmed. Also I’ve written poems on my different identities before so for today I decided to experiment with a one-bun. I read my first one-bun yesterday over at Ken’s blog. He explains it – One-bun, a form created by Jim Kacian, is a short-form haibun with one line of prose (including title) and a (one-line) haiku.

When I think one line haiku I think American sentence especially since I write poetry in English. I’m not sure the one-bun form really works with this prompt, but I couldn’t quite create a “pep talk” between my identities since they don’t really separate into two distinct groups. The two identities should be fleshed out more than what is possible in this form. I’ll see if anything more develops through the day. Monday I start my remote reading assignment, so daily posts may have to wait for afternoons here. But I worked and wrote thirty poems last year; I think it’ll be fine this year, too.

 

2017 – Year in Review

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For the last day of 2017, I decided to look at my yearly stats. This past year my blog views went down from 2016. The reason why, I simply have not posted as often. I noticed in March I wrote about Shawn’s 45th birthday. Wow that feels like it was more than a year ago. Still one of my favorite photos of Shawn and me; I can’t believe the canvas print has been on my wall for such a short time. Then at the end of March I started an honest to goodness job (you know something with more reliable pay than writing). Despite working in April, I finished another year of NaPoWriMo – go me!

Of course after that my posts really became sluggish, not sure where my muse went off to this year. It was a little disappointing Silver Birch Press went on hiatus and then decided to close. Melanie always came up with refreshing prompts. I did not write for all of them, but I enjoyed reading everyone’s work and recognizing names of poets who became regular contributors like me.

At the end of May, my job wrapped up and Gretchen began a new adventure, taking courses at the community college. Rachael finished her first year at ASU, working hard to maintain her 4.0 GPA. The hard work seems to be paying off as the honor society invites have rolled in this past semester. Then in July I flew up to Buffalo and then my family (Dad and three sisters) traveled to Germany. I learned about the elevenie (German elfchen) during NaPoWriMo this year and put it to good use when I got back from Germany. You know me, I like short pieces. Pecking on the keyboard with one hand, short and sweet is much easier.

And that pretty much brings us to today as my blog lacked many posts in September, October or November. At the midpoint of December I blogged about my November; I had a nice birthday dinner at the Wigwam Resort. Then we had a quiet Thanksgiving and Rachael finished her fall semester by the first week of the month. An early end means an early start, school resumes for both girls on January 8th and the routine begins over again in 2018. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year. And to friends and family back East – stay warm.

Contemplate finish
Keep thrill alive; transition
See new beginning