This Sunday, May 9, 2021 is celebrated as Mothers Day in the US. Wherever you are, feel free to join in! Tell your mother you love and appreciate her. Spend time with her if you can. Call her, bring her flowers or candy, take her out to dinner…whatever is in your heart to do. If your mother is no longer alive, take a moment to remember her and all the good times you spent together.
Your support and encouragement mean the world to me! You have helped me to get through these dark days of the pandemic, the isolation, and the health issues. WordPress bloggers are talented, inspiring, kind, and helpful…friends who have treated me like family! You are appreciated!
Kritika of “Valorous Bird”, thank you for discovering my website and encouraging me to start my blog. I will always remember.
My first post was on June 18, 2020, and this is post number 112. As of today, I have 505 subscribers. Thank you all!
With our allergies and our declining energy levels in mind, we re-landscaped our front entrance, hiring landscapers to do the heavy work. The palm tree’s expected ultimate height is 10-12 feet. The plants are low maintenance, drought-resistant perennials, and the river rock is an inert permanent mulch. The one high maintenance exception is the red-flowering Dipladenia vine, which likes frequent watering.
Foxtail ferns and a Dipladenia vine, Photo by Cheryl Batavia
This historic bridge over the scenic Peace River in Arcadia, Florida holds fond memories for me. My father used to fish in the Peace River when I was a child, and our family vacationed in Florida. The Peace River flows into the Gulf of Mexico not too far from where we live now. Robert and I have walked along the river at Arcadia a number of times. Last year, my daughters and I took a breathtaking boat tour on the river near Arcadia.
Arcadia is a town that once had a fine train station and an opera house. Many historic buildings are now home to restaurants and antique shops. Mary Margaret’s Tea Room is one of Robert’s and my favorite restaurants located in an historic auto dealership and garage and furnished with antiques.
It is a tradition to go to Mary Margaret’s on my birthday, missed for the last year two years because of the pandemic. The restaurant has changed hands since the pandemic began. We want to visit again after it is over. I hope they still have our favorite crab Louis, quiche Lorraine, turkey sandwiches, flavored tea, and tea biscuits!
I have attempted to paint the old Peace River bridge several times over the last couple of years, but I could never quite capture my feelings for the place. I will try again, and post it if I get it right.
This poem is a Ziggurat, a form created by Paul Szlosek and presented by Eugenia at Eugenia’s Causerie. It consists of 14 lines and 4 stanzas. 2 lines, 2 words each, 3 lines, 3 words each, 4 lines, 4 words each, and 5 lines, 5 words each. The rhyme pattern is aa, bbb, cccc, ddddd. This was a fun form to work with.
I am sorry that I am so far behind with reading emails. I really wasn’t intending to take a break, but I have had a worsening fibromyalgia flare over the last few weeks. Though I have had fibromyalgia for over thirty years, flares are rare and usually only last a day or two. I have been dealing with some stressful issues and trying to do too much.
The good news is that energy and mental clarity are starting to return. I need to take it slow, but I will do my best to keep in touch. Thank you for understanding. ❤
I have a test and a couple of doctor’s visits coming up this month. It seems we may have found dietary solutions to the digestive issues. Too much caffeine and chocolate seem to be behind the tachycardia and palpitations. Time will tell. I finally got my first covid19 vaccine.
My Mom, Marian Nicholson (1924-2015) always encouraged me in a love of nature, art, and poetry. At the age of forty-five she fulfilled a lifelong dream and graduated from nursing school. We were very proud of Mom. As she grew older, my sister and I increasingly looked out for her. The last thirteen years of her life, she lived near me and we did a lot of things together. This poem is about the last four years of Mom’s life, when she was in an independent living center suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a sad time, but it gave us both pleasure to spend a great deal of time together.
I celebrate Women’s History Month by posting this poem in honor of my mother.
Texas is experiencing unheard-of back-to-back blizzards and below-zero temperatures. This may be one of many examples of extreme weather events due to global warming. Increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes and wildfires, craters forming in Russia’s Tundra, and melting polar ice are some other possible examples.
Texas is not well-prepared for blizzards. Items such as Snowplows and snow tires are in short supply. The low temperatures are overtaxing the power grid and causing power outages. Some people’s water pipes have burst. A few areas have orders to boil water. Many people are stuck at home with a dwindling supply of food and without heat. I am grateful that my daughters and their household have experienced only a very brief power outage.
This quote, as described in Plato’s Apology, is from the trial of Socrates, where he was convicted of “corrupting the youth” of Athens. Socrates believed so strongly in his philosophy that he chose the punishment of death rather than exile, and died by drinking poison hemlock. The “Socratic Method” teaches by asking questions and is still used today.
This poem contrasts the “unexamined life” in the first half of the palindrome with the “examined life” in the second half of the palindrome. I believe that we should not drift through life, accepting conventional wisdom without question. We should take responsibility for our own lives by asking the difficult questions to discover our true purpose. A purposeful life is meaningful and is in service to others.
For the last couple of months, I have been having increasingly severe cardiovascular symptoms. I am not sure of the cause, but suspect so-called “long covid.” I had a mild heart attack in 2007 and have two stents in my heart. Maybe one is blocked.
I will let you know when I find out about what is happening. Until then, I will carry on the best I can. I would rather talk about ideas, emotions, family, the environment, nature, culture… and not my health! I just wanted you to know that if I don’t read as many posts as usual, it is not because I don’t want to.
The change of seasons is subtle in South Florida. Times given vary, but are approximate for where I live.
In Florida, most trees and plants are green all year, but some are deciduous. Red Maples and Virginia creeper are among Florida’s deciduous plants. Their leaves turn red in late December and fall around New Year’s.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and grow well in South Florida. They typically bloom in December, and their red bracts stay on the plants for several months. Pink and white are other popular poinsettia colors.
As is true in many places, winter sunrises and sunsets tend to be especially vivid.
Male cardinals get their bright mating plumage in mid-January, and the woods, which have been silent for a while, are alive with bird songs. Spring and baby birds will not be far behind.
Looking forward to 2021, I think the situation looks very fluid. We will need goals, but even more, we will need to be flexible. I usually make New Year’s resolutions; this year, I have settled for good intentions! 🙂
My late husband, Drew, and I adopted Katey and Joe from Russia in October, 1995. We lived in Miami Beach, and Drew, AKA “Papa,” was a very devoted father until his death in January, 2003. Katey now lives near Dallas, Texas with her older sister Ellen, a cat, a dog, and two other roommates. The new Barney, the Purple Dinosaur, just joined the household.
The acrostic is an old fashioned staple of school and Sunday school programs. Each child holds up a letter and recites his “piece.” The letters often spell MOTHER for Mothers Day, HAPPY THANKSGIVING or MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the rededication of the second temple. There was enough oil in the temple lamps to burn for only one night, but miraculously, it burned for eight nights. “A great miracle happened here!” is the message conveyed by the Hebrew letters on the dreidel. A dreidel is a top that is spun in a traditional gambling game. Our children and their grandma played for pennies.
Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights. At sundown, the Hanukkah menorah is lit. One candle is lit on the first night. Another candle is added each night until, on the eighth night, all eight candles burn. Children receive a present on each night of Hanukkah.
A traditional Hanukkah food, latkes are grated potato pancakes fried in oil often served with applesauce and sour cream. The oil symbolizes the oil that burned for eight nights in the temple lamps. Hanukkah gelt is chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Our family also enjoyed chopped liver on matzos (similar to crackers) and matzo ball soup at Hanukkah.
This poem is based on a true family story as told to me by my grandmother and my father. The first three verses are an imagined conversation showing how the Sunday school class decided to send the cactus cat to my father in the hospital.
The cactus-tailed cat is ready to send to my daughter, Ellen, in Texas. Ellen is an ordained Baptist chaplain and is taking seminary classes. She has taught Recovery classes for several years and is an administrator for the program.. I am not sure what her future plans are.
Disclosure: The cat is posing for this photo with an improvised cucumber tail. She is looking forward to getting a new cactus tail when she arrives in Texas.
Harvest festivals have been observed all over the world since ancient times. Several States claim to be the site of the first Thanksgiving in the US, but Plymouth, Massachusetts, though probably not the first, is the most well-known. Native Americans rescued several struggling American colonies in the early days. The Wampanoag befriended the Pilgrims at Plymouth, teaching them to grown corn and celebrating Thanksgiving with them.
The history of our country, as in many countries, has been blemished by racism, persecution of indigenous peoples, slavery, and religious intolerance. Many people have fought these evils, and many wrongs have been righted. The fight continues. The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation is a hopeful example of brotherhood and peace.
This poem was written in response to Ingrid’s EIF Poetry Challenge #8, and was awarded third place. My sincere thanks to Ingrid for posting the challenge on Experiments in Fiction and to Jaya Avendel of Nin Chronicles, who judged the challenge.
The following poem may be disturbing to some readers. The examples given are fictional.
Some people seem to have everything we want and don’t have. We might not be eager to change places with them if we knew their secret heartaches.
Many people have problems we don’t know about that would explain their negative behavior. Some may need professional help in solving their problems. Others could benefit from just a little kindness and understanding. Judging them isn’t helpful.
Although people must be held accountable for their actions, some circumstances call for a little leniency. Everyone accused of a crime deserves due process.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — supposedly Mahatma Gandhi said that. (Isn’t this picture of him great? He’s drafting a document at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. My novel-writer side can’t help but wonder if he knew that writing longhand enhances creativity — and I bet intelligence!) First off, he didn’t….
Second off, if anyone said it, is it true? I love animals and have followed a vegetarian diet for years. All the same, I’m definitely nowhere near a saint, particularly given my now-and-again deviations into the hypocracy of eating fish. My father was wicked to his family, yet tears rolled down his cheeks when he heard that local geese were slaughtered. Hitler and was a vegetarian for the last part of his life. And he adored his dog…
If you are a student, please don’t do as I did! Or as my father did, either! Find the balance between earning good grades and educating yourself about the things you want to know. Take it from someone who learned the hard way…Grades and following your interests are both important!
Remember to be kind to your teachers. Karma may get you if you are rude to them! As a teacher in inner city schools, I got back a little bit of what was coming to me. So, if you are ever tempted to give your teachers a hard time, remember my advice, and don’t go there!
This poem was written when I was in high school, about 1966. I remembered it when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. I am not sure whether my father, who was a minister, was pleased when I teased him by writing this poem. However, he may well have laughed about it when I was not around! He did have a sense of humor.
HOT & COLD, Poured acrylic painting by Cheryl Batavia
What a Strange Creature is Man!
A satyr rescued a freezing man and took him to his cave. The man began to blow on his fingers. The satyr inquired why the man was blowing on his fingers. “My hands are cold and I want to warm them up,” said the man.
The satyr prepared the man a bowl of steaming soup, and was surprised when the man began to blow on the soup. “Why are you blowing on the soup? “asked the satyr. “I am trying to cool the soup,” the man replied.
“What a strange creature is man!” the satyr remarked. “He blows hot and cold with the same breath!”
Retelling of an ancient Greek/ Roman myth. A satyr is a drunken, lustful woodland god with the lower body of a horse or goat and the upper body of a man. I read this myth in Illustrated Classics when I was about eight or nine years old. I have always remembered this story and gradually came to understand the meaning as I grew older.
What does the saying, “What a strange creature is man! He blows hot and cold with the same breath.” mean to you?
After experiencing eye discomfort and blurry vision, I went for an eye exam. I will have a slightly updated prescription and the new glasses will have a specialized reflective coating that shields my eyes from excessive blue light.
My eye doctor told me that the blue light emitted by computer screens and other devices with screens can be a cause of eye problems, including macular degeneration, which can eventually cause blindness.
There are several options to protect eyes from blue light. If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, you may want to check with your optometrist. If you already use eye protection from blue light, feel free to comment about it. I’ll let you know how my experience goes.
Follow-up: After 10 days of wearing my new glasses that filter the blue light emitted by screens, I have not had another major episode of blurry vision. After some twelve-hour days on the computer, I did notice slight blurriness.
My eyes are definitely better with the new glasses than they were before. I am also using eye drops from the optometrist for dry eyes, trying to drink more water to keep from becoming dehydrated, and keeping room air humidified. I know I should cut my screen time further, and maybe more frequent breaks would help.
I have been noticing a return to my normal sleep patterns–seven hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights. Again, I know I should be getting off the computer a while before trying to sleep, because blue light can cause insomnia. I think the glasses are helpful in preventing insomnia caused by blue light.
Good luck to anyone who is having vision problems due to longer computer time. I appreciate all the helpful comments about this subject, and I hope this post has been helpful.
“I can give You Many Things” is another one of my high school poems remembered out of the blue today. It also has a vintage melody that is only in my head and sounds like it could be straight out of 1900.
“The courtesy of kings,” is an old expression referring to being on time. I assure you, I was always late in high school! I might not have been able to keep that promise. E. A. Poe, of course, is the macabre American Poet, Edgar Allan Poe, a perennial favorite of high school students.
Another necessary disclosure: In 1965, you could buy bubble gum for a penny, but it came with a baseball card, not a ring. To get a prize, possibly a ring, you could buy Crackerjacks, a snack made of popcorn and redskin peanuts and coated with a sugary glaze. What can I say? I liked bubble gum and rings, not baseball cards. Maybe it was poetic license. 🙂