A to Z Blogging Challenge · Blather · Life

A-to-Z Theme

There was an occasional blogger
Who was something of a slogger
She decided to see
If she could go A-to-Z
Using finish-my-limerick fodder

It looks like I missed the Theme Reveal for the A-to-Z Challenge. I read March 12-18 as INCLUDING March 18 — which is today. When I went to the site though, it said that the theme reveal was closed.

I’m learning to take these things in stride.

Seriously, does it really matter? Does anyone really care what my theme is?

The older I get, the more I realize how few things there are that really matter.

The self-portrait exercise (from my Lenten devotional) was meant to force an eye to the basics, to the things that really matter. My 15-second self-portrait could have been drawn by any child who recognizes those basics: eyes, nose, mouth, hair.

In my room, I often stare at the row of portraits that my parents had done of their five children. The boys are all looking off to the right. My sister and I are looking at the artist. Mine is the only one with a tilt to the head.

I do that still — tilt my head. When I realize it, I upright it. I like to think, though, that the head tilt is a listening posture. Listening, and trying to understand. I do that, too.

The Stream of Consciousness Saturday word is “tape.” In my room, I often also stare at the many things I have taped here and there. On the back of the door. On the wall. I even have something taped on a piece of artwork to cover a place it’s damaged and to remind of a poem that the picture brings to mind.

Tape is a handy-dandy thing.

Back to my theme-reveal. I realized that limericks neatly fit the 23 word limit I’ve given myself most days. Especially if I let YOU finish it. Also, there’s no ache in writing a limerick. They’re light and silly. I have enough struggles in my days that I thought, maybe a month of silly — with an occasional collage thrown in — would be fun.

So starting April 1, I’ll post the first four lines of a limerick, and you can tape your answer on to finish it. The A-to-Z part will be the name of the person in the limerick. For example, “A” might begin “There once was a man named Arnold” — but I can’t really think of anything that rhymes with Arnold, can you?

And even though I missed the theme reveal, I’m revealing it today, because, you know, it doesn’t really matter. Right?

Blather · collage

The Obliviousness of Tigger

The other day I was trying to explain to someone my artistic process. It was an odd conversation from the get-go because I don’t consider myself an artist and I don’t know what my process is.

“The collages happen,” I said. “I start cutting out pictures not really knowing what the final piece will be. Somewhere along the line, it takes a turn and I’m looking for specifics. For backgrounds or animals or people. It’s like shopping for a gift for someone you love; I know it when I see it.”

Today the Stream of Consciousness writing prompt is “wild animal.” I knew immediately what wild animal I wanted to do — a tiger. I had been to the zoo a few weeks ago with my granddaughter. The tiger there fascinated me.

It was so beautiful and huge and sad, pacing back and forth along the fence at the far side of its enclosure. Padding, padding, padding, down and back, its huge paws silent and powerful.

I read the explanation at the zoo about how tigers are losing their natural habitats to human expansion. According to the World Wildlife Fund, they have lost 95% of their historical range. They are also poached and their body parts traded.

We “save” them by putting them in zoos.

So tigers — for a collage. I cut out half a dozen of them last night, then sat down this morning to create my collage.

My favorite tiger didn’t make the cut.

I mean — he made the cut from the book, a beat-up scribbled in copy of Where is Christopher? by Anne Lawrence. He didn’t make the cut for the collage. Tigger, however, did.

Oblivious Tigger. Goofy smile. Happy-go-lucky. Oh, the wonderful thing about Tiggers, right?

I think his obliviousness is less about the danger from the tiger and more about the greater plight of the tiger, don’t you think?

It would be so easy to extrapolate this to humans. We are oblivious to the plights of our fellow human beings.

It would be so easy to jump on a soapbox about this, but I will be the first to admit my own obliviousness and my ignorance.

It feels like too much for me to take on.

I will pad back and forth in my enclosure.

And pray.

Lord, help me to see.

Blather · collage

A Sunflower from Maggie

In 2022, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston decommissioned this piece by Georgia O’Keeffe and sold it at auction to benefit acquisitions for the museum. However, it fell short of the $6-8 million estimate of what it would bring in, selling for a mere $4.8 million.

I heard on the news the other day that Manchester United, the soccer team, was for sale. The price was in the billions. $4.5 billion? $5 billion? $8 billion? I can’t fathom numbers that high.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the price of eggs.

Mimic the master attempt #2 — I tried to make a collage version of “A Sunflower from Maggie.”

This will not win a prize. Every time I try to collage I learn something from my frustrations.

  1. Glue stick is sticky, messy, and dries too quickly.
  2. Mod-Podge is sticky, messy, and makes the paper buckle and curl.
  3. Art requires infinite patience — and I’m sadly lacking.
  4. Art requires time — and I’m sadly lacking that too. I’m surrounded by far more important things I should be doing, but I’m stuck. So I cut up books. Sheesh.
  5. Prestigious artists earn their prestige. I doubt anyone just wakes up one morning and starts creating masterful art. It takes practice, time, patience, and maybe some Mod-Podge and glue sticks.

When I look at other collage-art, it’s very different from mine which makes me think I’m not doing it right.

But it’s mine.

And I like it.


Blather · collage · Februllage

House, Home, Property

In America the word “home” is a synonym for “house“; it is a traveling concept, one which you carry around with you — your home is wherever you happen to be living. One might speak of a “development of new homes” in America; in England, such a phrase would be nonsensical, because a house, in England, is merely a “house”; “home” is an altogether broader concept, implying rootedness and long residence.

Ruth Brandon, A Capitalist Romance (1977)

I guess I’m not as American as I thought.

My parents bought an old farm in 1967. At that point in my life, I had lived on four different army bases and I have memories from two of them. My roots, however, are here, on this piece of property.

And they are deep.

When I first heard the concept of “thin places” — that Celtic-Christian idea of physical locations where the distance between heaven and earth is barely perceptible — I immediately thought of this place, from the river to the crest of the hill, where I am rooted and from which I draw strength.

It goes beyond my parents’ property. It’s this community, the streets in this town, the shores of this lake. It’s the seasons here — the rain, the snow, the blaze of color in autumn, the long days of summer, the short days of winter. It’s the fog that covers the road some mornings. It’s the whitetail deer. It’s the peepers in spring.

I move away. I come back. I move away. I come back. I’m here to stay.

“I worry about you,” my sister said to me the other day, “all alone in that big house.”

No, no — don’t worry about me.

I’m home.

23 words · Blather · collage · Februllage

Shoes — Heart — Dream — Blather

Saturday. Blatherday.

The Februllage prompt is SHOES. And I put a shoe — singular — in my collage. Fail.

The collage is way too busy. It reflects my mind and my life. Semi-chaotic.

But a girl can dream, right? I needed that little girl, looking ahead to something beautiful, to appear in my collage.

It’s been a hard week.

Honestly, I don’t even feel like blathering.

Let me focus on some positives.

  1. My daughter-in-law came to where I work and gave a presentation on silos. It was so good and so well-received. I wrote 23 words about it in a post called Letters of Introduction, but I forgot some of the letters that go after her name — CEO. She’s the CEO of the organization where she works. Those are pretty important letters — I can’t believe that I forgot them!
  2. Game Night — Last Sunday night we had a family game night via Zoom. Honestly, one of the good things that came out of this pandemic was on-line group games. Maybe they existed before the pandemic, but they’re more prolific now, right? Despite some technical issues, family members in St. Kitts, British Columbia, and various parts of New York were able to join in the fun.
  3. Cake — I’m such a sucker for cake. I heart cake. Yesterday at work, we had some drummed-up excuse for a staff get-together to improve morale. And there was cake. It may not have improved overall morale, but it WAS cake — chocolate cake with thick creamy vanilla frosting.

Next week — better blather.

Blather · Leaning In


Here it is, another Saturday, another Stream of Consciousness writing prompt (perfection), another day when I allow myself to write more than 23 words — in other words, another day of blather.

I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who wants things to be perfect. Seriously, are there people who don’t? Doesn’t everyone like that feeling of having done something really well — in fact, so well that it falls into the realm of perfection. I mean, I get satisfaction from a perfectly folded towel, a perfectly baked cookie, a perfect question (you know one when you hear one), a perfect answer (easily recognized as well), a perfect evening spent with a friend.

Imperfection plagues me.

I read a poem by Brian Doyle earlier this week in which he talked about rejection. “Learn to be neighborly with no,” he said, and I thought, I need to learn to be neighborly with mistakes; specifically, MY mistakes.

Seriously, who wants mistakes as neighbors? Who wants to invite them in for a cup of coffee and a chat?


It’s so much easier to show grace to others than ourselves.

Perfectionism is almost a cancer. Strike that — it IS a cancer.

But what’s the cure?

Leaning into imperfection.

God help me.

Blather · Life · poetry


The following blather is brought to you by “Stream of Consciousness Saturday.” This is the day of the week I give myself permission to write more than 23 words.

Last Saturday, I promised a reverse poem (one that can be read top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top). Good golly, I stared at my scribbles too long. And then, came up with a reverse poem that’s too short and a little awkward. But, oh well. Here you go:

History is boring
Some people actually think that
All those dates and foreign-sounding names matter
And eccentric people worm their way into
Those stories where the world changes
I find history fascinating

Meh — not the best, but I’m going to check the “Done” box and move on.

I spent a few hours yesterday in the research library.

I wrote a post called The Negative Split not too long ago. I think I research in negative-split mode.

I got to the library a few minutes after my scheduled appointment. (Yes, we have to schedule appointments at the research library now. And wear masks.)

I had given myself two hours. For the first 45 minutes or so, I leafed through photographs, not really finding anything I wanted. Or maybe I did. A few new names, therefore a few new rabbit trails. (Side-question for you: What could the nickname “Dell” be short for, for a man in the late 1800s or early 1900s?)

The librarian left to find a few more boxes for me. I feel a little bad. She’s new on the job, and I kept saying Joe (the former librarian) did this or brought me that. Comparison to a predecessor has to be the worst.

Anyway, she brought me some boxes that Joe had never brought me. Suddenly I was lost in old correspondence and organizational reports. I looked at the clock and saw that I had been there well over my two hours.

“Let me just look at one more thing,” I said to the librarian. I was in my groove — researching faster and stronger than I had been at the beginning.

“Do you think you have a photograph of this?” I asked her about a specific place in town. She started hunting.

I kept reading.

And searching.

And wishing time would just stop long enough that I could pursue these many lines of inquiry.

I snapped a photo of a bit of correspondence because it had made me laugh out loud in the quiet of the library.

“Yours till Pancakes are a thing of the past.”

I could have spent the next three weeks looking for the pancake story that inspired that closing sentiment, but I’ll almost bet it’s an inside joke between two men that I will never know. Plus, it was way past time for me to go.

But if I had those three weeks to spend, who knows what other little stories I would have uncovered?

And I would have had great fun doing it.

You can count on it.