Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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If we were having coffee this Christmas morning I would invite you to sit back and enjoy the fire in the wood stove and the candle lighting around the room. I am up early to enjoy this predawn time, as usual. I am in a good mood because I realize how wonderful defining this year of 2017 has been. I did not plan to do a major change this year, but I have certainly accomplished one. I sold my extra red estate and pared down the size of my possessions in order to fit into my condo. This has been extremely liberating and satisfying. I am left with much less stuff, which I love much more.
I am serving coffee, and an assortment of teas, including some iced green tea. We have celebrated all month, and today have no plans to go out or do anything. We are not giving gifts because we just spent months deleting items from our possessions, and are not in the mood to fill up our space with stuff again. We are truly sated.
I did go on a shopping spree this fall, all of which has upgraded our lifestyle. I did little frivolous spending. Most of the spree was spent on very practical home improvements. I wrapped up the spree by buying a new garage door opener last weekend, because mine was on it’s last breath, about to break forever. I was so happy to replace it before it caused a tragic inconvenience in my life. I continue to take a box to the Goodwill each week to fine tune my stuff, since editing is forever. I have new underwear, socks, wifi speakers, and Alexa can now answer the phone on speaker. I have one more planned expenditure with my real estate profits, a hot springs vacation in February. I have not traveled much since I started my job last May, so I am planning a reward for myself in California. I will spa down for a few days, then stay in Joshua Tree in an air bnb. I have already booked my favorite hot springs hotel, but there are many highly desirable air bnb rentals near the Joshua Tree National Park. The decision is part of the fun for me. Are you going anywhere this winter? Do you like planing, or like to take off and see what happens? I like a good accommodation reservation and lots of free time. That is the perfect combination for me.
My blogging is slowly becoming regular once more. I changed may schedule at work, and have started doing my writing before I go to my job. This is working a little better. I do appreciate the return of the weekend coffee share because I enjoy keeping up with the group and the writing you are doing. Please join us on the weekends to share happenings and feelings over digital beverages. Eclectic Ali is hosting this movable feast, which includes a diverse group of writers from around the globe. The party is always digitally delicious. Merry Christmas to all! Thanks for stopping by.
If we were having coffee this weekend in Tucson I would invite you to relax with an iced tea. I am enjoying a white strawberry tea that refreshes me in this muggy weather. Please help yourself to apricots while we kiss this summer good bye. The stone fruits (peaches, plums, apricots, etc) are a symbol of summer. Along with berries they have the lively colors and flavors that remind us of outdoor dining in the warm season. At this time of year I buy the best looking stone fruits at the market and savor the last of the crop from this year. These apricots are luscious.
If we were relaxing with tea I would tell you my week went well. I fit in dermatology as well as dental appointments and continued trimming down and organizing my possessions. I excavated loads of paper files to destroy, and a few to save. I can’t believe how much useless paper I have stuffed into the spaces in my house. This is all changing, and making me very happy. I listed the real estate, so vacating the barn and dealing with anything stored over there is a signal I am really ready to sell. I found the appraisal on the land I had done when I inherited it in 2008. I have lost a huge amount of imaginary money on this property, and payed Pima County about $15,000 in taxes over the time I have owned it. I will be pleased to give up the tax burden and end the madness. It probably will not sell overnight, but I am ready if it does.
Again this week I trended more into poetry and fiction. I enjoy the more creative forms. I think all of my writing needs practice, in every form. As long as I continue to work on it I am satisfied. I have started to dream up fiction scenarios in my spare time, which is new for me. Usually I am all about finding more facts. I have been invited to a mermaid parade next week in downtown Tucson. I do have an outfit I could wear. It has made me think about getting some photos and covering it as a real news story, and then writing some poetry or fiction using the images. That could be fun. I have done little photography lately, and the event promises to be a visual delight.
Parent, student, teacher, or not, the whole world feels the back to school season. Here in my neighborhood we welcome back the U of A students and faculty along with many other locals who leave in the summer because the can. School and university traffic is noticeable on the roads, but then again so is the economic impact it represents. I don’t mind the students, but I saw my first set of ceramic pumpkins in a grocery store display this week. Hold on with the pumpkin spice and the Halloween gear until at least September. Let’s enjoy some Indian summer before you start playing Christmas music. How is back to school season for you, gentle reader? Do your local merchants jump the gun on holidays like ours do?
Join the digital beverage party every weekend at Diana’s parttimemoster blog. Catch up with news from writers around the world over your beverage of choice. Read, write, comment, or check #weekendcoffeeshare on twitter
When it rains it pours in the desert. We finally have our summer rainy season. If we were having coffee this weekend in Tucson you would notice the uptick in humidity, and the relief all the flora is now expressing. The long dry spell is broken. This annual event is met with great rejoicing here, no matter when it arrives. We would all burn in hell without our summer rain. Have a seat, relax, and tell me about your week. We are still up to our ears in dates, so help yourself. For tea, we have every flavor you can imagine. I can serve it up on ice to keep you cool for our chat. What’ll ya have today? I am guzzling white strawberry iced tea..makes me remember spring, when it was not so hot.
If we were having coffee I would tell you about the ironic timing of events in the last week of my life. First I crashed the back of my car and sent it to the shop for repair. This incident kicked off a virtual cascade of related reactions. This is the first insurance claim on a car I have made other than a cracked windshield. I know the insurance company will raise my rates, and I have been thinking that my car no longer suits my lifestyle. With my new job I now have a commute and it would be better to have a more efficient smaller vehicle (for which I will also pay lower insurance premiums). I visited the Prius dealer and picked out my salesman. He is extremely cool, from Senegal. He claims to be able to dance better than all the West Africans in France…we shall see about that!! Moustapha and I will be cooking up the perfect deal for my new vehicle and image. I will be sure to show it to you all when it happens. There is much to study before I make this move.
I had scheduled a light treatment at my dermatologists office before I crashed the car. The treatment to remove precancerous spots from my face requires that I spend a few days in total darkness to recover. I had changed my work schedule accommodate what I call the vampire days. If you have to have your car repaired anyhow it is the perfect time to stay home in the dark. I had a great time yesterday getting rid of things. I have decided that along with my car and a layer of skin on my face I will shed everything I own that no longer thrills me. This process will take some time, but I am determined to finish the job. I feel liberated already by making these decisions.
I was distracted by real life enough to skip two days of writing this week. I started to write a memoir on Monday because the alliteration just works. I wrote a short piece about my father and fishing ( because alliteration rules) I skipped #TeaTuesday because we had a very long meeting plus training at the grow. A doctor presented both an hour of basic cannabis training, required by the state for those of us who hold the dispensary agent license, and a more advanced lecture for the whole staff. Both hours were jam packed with information. The doctor was a good presenter with plenty of science to back everything he said. This job is the bomb. I shot some good footage for #WeedWednesday but did not get the post written this week. Lucky for me nobody really suffers if I skip some days. I only disappoint myself.
Since I discovered that alliteration is such a great way to create an editorial calendar I decided to write fiction of Friday. I chose a familiar real character from my youth and made up a story about her life. I don’t think it qualifies as historical fiction, but I did make a start, so I am pleased with the idea. I know it is corny but #SelfCareSunday, #MemoirMonday, #TeaTuesday, #WeedWednesday, and #FictionFriday make me very happy. I write either fiction or poetry on Thursdays because I enjoy Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts. Do you follow a writing schedule or do you just let it flow?
What are you working on now? I think many of you have inspired me to attempt fiction, and I thank you for that. What kind of subjects do you like to cover? Where do you get story ideas? What remedies do your employ for writers’ block? I am curious about your process. Let me pour you another glass of tea and listen. Tell me your news.
This weekly digital beverage party is hosted by our lovely hostess Diana at parttimemonsterblog. You can join the fun by reading, writing, and commenting here. The group is diverse and witty, and who doesn’t want to visit New Orleans every week?
If we were having coffee I would invite you to relax with a cup of tea or coffee of your choice. It is getting warm (hot for most of you), so I have a couple of iced teas on hand to quench your thirst and take the edge off the heat. We just returned from a road trip to take in the blooming trees and cacti. We always intended to visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, but have somehow managed to postpone the visit for years. The place is out of the way, so we created an itinerary around it. Initially we had planed to go to the Greek Monastery in Florence, then the ruins. When we passed the road to the monastery it was too early to visit, so we decided to drive a few more miles to a place we know and love, Queen Creek.
We stopped to shop and picnic at the Queen Creek Olive Mill which as expanded since we last saw the place. It was swarming with customers, but the ample outdoor picnic space is ample. We purchased a few choice groceries and a mimosa for me, then headed out to the porch to enjoy our fare. After lunch we went across the street to the Schempf Farms for a little more gourmet grocery procurement before we hit the ruins, about 15 miles down the road. My senior pass gets us in to all the National parks and monuments forever for free. It is my favorite senior benefit.
The ruins must have been a complete wonder when first built. The Casa Grande has such thick walls that even in the heat of summer the people could find great relief inside. At one time when the rivers flowed these people had a great civilization, which vanished. Like the Anasazi people the Hohokam had advanced agriculture that sustained a large population for a while. Nobody knows exactly how and why they vanished. The Parks Service does not restore, but does preserve the structures as much as possible. It is impressive that it is still standing. It gives one a very large sense of history.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I am still true to #NaPoWriMo, although I do not plan to combine the two this week. I will write another one with a poem in it today. I am really impressed with many of the contributors this year. I have been reading some very inspirational poetry of all kinds. I never knew there were so many formal formats in use. Some poets are incredibly flexible with all these various forms. I just crank one out in some form every day, and am satisfied just to do that. How are your writing projects going? I know many are going to novel writing camp this month. That seems like a very big challenge to me, but the poems I can handle. How are you handling your latest challenges?
Thanks for stopping by today for a beverage and a visit. I look forward to spending time on the weekends catching up with this talented group. To read, comment, or submit your own coffee share post, please visit Nerd in the Brain. Meet interesting writers from all over the world.
The movable feast known as weekend coffee share is itself on the move. Our gracious hostess Diana has arranged to hand off the coffee party action to Nerd in the Brain next weekend. We will still be a band of writers bonding over digital beverages and stories on the weekend. I am sure the move will not disrupt anyone. Thank you Diana, for finding us a new address to continue the party. If we were having coffee today I would invite you to taste some of the bread I just brought home from Barrio Bread. It is still warm, made from local grains, and crusty like crazy fire . I just had a smoked mozzarella sandwich, grilled, with all the trimmings. I can whip one up for you while you relax and tell me how you have been and what you have planned. We are very proud of this bakery, and would love for you to try our local organic, totally groovy food products. Our city is a UNESCO culinary heritage city because of our deep agricultural traditions and knowledge. I love to show it off to tourists.
It is warm here, and the peach tree is budding out. The grapefruit is still very full of fruit, although I am juicing like crazy. I hope you will help yourself to a big glass of ruby red grapefruit juice, with or without whipped vodka, as you tell me about your writing this week. Mine is rolling along, with the weekly photo prompt working for me very well. This week I wrote a short poem, still on the depressing side, a thinly veiled reference to current politics. The prompt picture was a fire, which gave lots of leeway. I wrote about pants and vanities on fire, since I feel this is our current backdrop for news in the real world. I plan to continue the once a week fiction with Sue Vincent’s prompts because it is inspirational to read all the other takes on the same picture. I do want to write more fiction someday. This is a good warm up for that day. I like taking a break from just the facts.
I am enjoying my correspondence challenge #InCoWriMo more than I imagined I would. I have gotten mail from several people I do not know, and a couple I know in on-line relationships. It is a blast to both send and receive the snail mail. Most of my pen pals have great penmanship and sealing wax, etc. I admire it, but that is not what I have to offer. My correspondence has enclosures and a little bit of art. My biggest advantage is all the cards and specialty paper I have collected around the world. I have started to enclose extra postcards so my pen pals can send them forward, and I get rid of twice as much collected choice paper. I also send a temporary tattoo and my biz card. Today I mailed some hollyhock seeds to Kentucky to a perfect stranger…Perfect!!
I send or hand deliver more than one letter a day. I may get carried away with this and just keep mailing letters until all my paper is gone. It is so much fun, and I do have the supplies. I am meeting people and getting such a thrill out of checking my mailbox every day. I guess it is like riding a bike because I used to be a big letter writer, but not for many years. If anyone in coffee share wants to receive mail from me in February please send me your snail mail address on this secure form. I promise I have no reason to share it with anyone and will only use it to send you handwritten notes and surprise gifts from my exotic stash.
If we were having coffee today, I would recommend the grapefruit juice and invite you to stick around to go with us later to the local beer garden and metal arts village where there will be yoga with a DJ followed by live music, fire performers, stilts, acrobats on silk, and lots of hipsters. We will rock the full snow moon in our summer clothing. It is free and all in the hood. Stay and soak up Tucson before you go back home. For those of you who want to read, write, or post this week visit Diana here. See you next week at Nerd on the Brain. Cheers!
Welcome to a rainy cool afternoon in Tucson. Please take a seat by the wood stove and let me know if you want tea or coffee today. I have expanded my tea collection to fully enjoy and celebrate National Hot Tea Month (January) by rotating white, rioboos, green, oolong, herbal, and chai in various flavors to warm the winter mood. The chocolate chai is very stimulating for those in a spicy mood. Help yourself to some blue cornbread in the skillet, and spread one of the many jams and jellies I have set out for our tasting pleasure. Relax, take a breather with your feet up on the ottoman and your warm drink at hand. Tell me about your week and your adventures. I look forward to hearing about your news and your writing projects.
If we were having coffee today I would tell you I am pleased to have written another short piece of fiction this week. I used a photo prompt rather than one of my ancestors as the subject. I had a good time with it, and plan to continue to write at least one piece of fiction each week this year. I think eventually I might be good at either mystery stories or fantasy style fiction. To keep me going I started a bullet journal to log ideas and find new subjects for my factual posts. I enjoy this too, but have not been very prolific at posting in it. My first journal is general purpose and small enough to carry all the time. I think the size is not ideal for weekly and monthly goals and planning, so I have pulled out a new notebook to begin a larger version tomorrow to go with my portable idea notebook. The large format will help me track my writing goals and develop story lines for fictional work.
I guess our story this week is our birthday month. Both my partner and I have January birthdays. His is in Capricorn and mine at the end of the month in Aquarius. We are downsizing our possessions, so no gift giving is in order for either of us. We like to go out for fine dining when we have an occasion to fête. Bob chose Feast, one of our favorite restaurants, for his lunch party yesterday. It was perfect. I tried to coax him into trying a new place, but he is the Capricorn, and was not into change at this time (or any time, for that matter). He pointed out that I can choose a place new to us for my birthday dining experience. I have a couple of weeks to decide between a few trendy places I have wanted to try.
There is a small gremlin attacking various working parts of my life. The filtered water spout the kitchen sink broke off and needs to be replaced, as does the filter itself. My vacuum cleaner dumped all the dirt on the floor when I started to empty it. The latch is broken, so when I take the canister out I must now always hold the bottom so it will not leak all over the floor I just cleaned. My Triberr feed has lost its mind and forgot to tweet for a couple of days. This digital tragedy is now being averted by manual tweeting of my tribe members posts. I hope this will be resolved quickly because the manual stuff is taking a load of time. Last, but not at all least, my car started saying service engine soon on the dash when we drove to lunch yesterday. It may have an electronic glitch, or a real need to be serviced. Sadly, this is not something I can jerry rig or do myself. The car has not been to the mechanic since last February, so I just hope it is not suffering from some major (expensive) ailment. My mechanic is located very near my home, so I pack my bike and drive home when I drop it off for service. I have my pressing business and shopping done, so I can live without the car for a few days if I must. I consider myself lucky, but still have my fingers crossed that this will be a minor repair, and the little demon who breaks stuff will leave my life of his own accord.
I have reached several conclusions about our national politics and my mission in life. I can contribute to and support change and justice best by doing it in my immediate vicinity. The inauguration ceremony may offer the perfect time to go out to a restaurant to enjoy off peak dining. I don’t plan to watch it, but will probably live tweet it for the comedy involved. The future will be a mixed, highly unpredictable bag. My place as a citizen and tax payer is not to jump to any conclusions, but to pay close attention to what happens now. At the conclusion of Trump’s presidency we can analyze how history is altered. Now we can only guess. We need to tune in and not tune out. Discernment has never been so important.
Stop by Diana’s blog to take part in the coffee share this week. Share your thoughts, your personal stories, with writers from across the globe who enjoy a digital hot beverage. Thanks for visiting with us today, gentle reader.
If we were having coffee this weekend I would tell you my life is healthy and happy with few exceptions. I had a quiet week experimenting with historical fiction and multi camera live streaming on Facebook. I produced nothing of great artistic import, but have challenged myself to develop these skills in order to do so. I wrote one very undeveloped story in which I mixed some outrageous truths about my paternal great-grandfather with some embellishment I created. It was short and kind of silly, but I feel happy to have started down this path. I published it. I have studied my genealogy for a long time, and have many factual stories on which to base my future efforts. I believe in time I will write longer and more involved stories, but also have been reading and studying flash fiction. This burning hot brief format insists on an outstanding title, a perfect last line, and usually the events presented out of chronological order. I want to work up to that too. I started a bullet journal and joined a Facebook group on the subject. This calendar system is a brilliant way for me to incorporate my new writing styles into my regular blogging. I have much to learn from the Bu-Jo peeps, as they call themselves. They are inspiring and highly educational, much like the food preppers.
If you are here in Tucson at my home today I will invite you to drink a hot cup of coffee or tea of your choice. I had a big fire in the stove last night so the house is staying warm this morning. We have not had our first real freeze, so the flowers are still in bloom. Help yourself to fresh grapefruit juice from the giant crop I am harvesting in the garden this year. I am serving a large fruit salad with berries and watermelon. Enjoy our sunny day and some fresh fruit flavors while you tell me how your week has been. I so appreciate sharing this time will all of you on the weekends. In fact, many of my new efforts as a writer have been inspired by all of you. I love to learn about your writing studios, the writing challenges you accept, and the way you make it work with daily life. I admire the fiction writers and poets who tell stories from imagination. I also love to see the photography from your own environments. I get to travel without leaving my office. I look forward to your visits. You have encouraged and inspired me to transform and expand my writing skills. It reminds me of being in beginners’ ski school, where you see that everyone falls down, but with practice they get better. You fiction writers are like the intermediate skiers who make me want to be that good someday. Starting is key.
If you want to share some digital coffee and some relaxation with a group of writers go to Diana’s weekend party link. She holds this regular gathering of inspiring individuals from her home in New Orleans. Please join us to read, write, or comment on your week. Thank you all for stopping by today.
If we were having coffee this morning I would serve you any hot or iced tea you might like or a cup of medium roast coffee. For those of you arriving at cocktail hour from other continents I have some cranberry vodka for cocktails. It is pretty and tasty at the same time. Have a seat, put up your feet on the fireside ottoman and tell me what is happening with you. I have the room seriously scented with lavender and citrus essential oils. The wood stove is a perfect diffuser. I need to replenish the moisture it sucks out of the air, so I position two containers of water on top to continually evaporate. It is a little bit shocking to see how much goes into the air. I dump substantial amounts of essential oils in those vessels, which become my giant air fresheners all winter.
Citrus is the scent of the season for me. I have purchased a full set of citrus essential oils for December which are going quickly because I love using them liberally. Now I am rocking sweet orange and mandarin, mixed with a lot of lavender. These are all high notes in aromatherapy, or uppers if you will. The idea is to extend comfort and joy in the atmosphere. I have my ceramic gingerbread diffuser rocking the scent with a scented candle as the heat. This is the only time of year when I burn wax candles in my house because it does pollute the air inside that we breathe. I am not worried about the amount of pollution a few tiny tea lights will emit. I also have my digital candles with remote control LED lights that change color. They make me very happy. My decorating theme is not exactly geared to a modern religious holiday but to the winter solstice, and a celebration of light that seemed to happen universally in ancient times around the darkest night of the year. I am fully ready of Old Man Winter. We are stocked with wood for the fire and I have mounted all manner of solar twinkle lights in the front and back yard. We are warm and, if I do say so myself, lit.
If we were having coffee and American politics came up I would tell you that yesterday I attended a meeting to organize a satellite protest march to show support for the Million Women March on Washington, 21 Jan. Many American women are traveling to DC to march on the mall to protest the inauguration of the Donald. I have much sympathy for this movement, but not enough to travel to DC. I decided to find out what the Tucson group looked like, and what they planned to do. I live streamed the event to my FaceBook page. The meeting was at once very uplifting and disconcerting. The median age of the women in attendance was around 55 or 60, with very few under 40, and I saw nobody under 30. They debated the language of protest and how to best express the outrage they felt. They talked about Gandhi and Martin Luther King, which was predictable. There were 3 men over 60 in the crowd. One with his wife, one with Occupy Tucson, to convince the group to join their march, and one who had very good sense who came out of nowhere. He suggested the group use positive rather than negative language. A lot of women wanted to show off and talk about their previous political involvement and how they knew Trump supporters who were poor and underserved who needed to be converted. When I asked them if they knew how hashtags work I was told they planned to find high school girls who would instagram and hashtag the whole thing for them. These old ladies have missed the point. They can march until the world looks level and will have little sway on national politics. They need to learn how to lobby, how to hashtag, how to trend, and how to relate to the youth. The times they have been are a changin’ and they need to acknowledge that the problem here is not HOW Americans voted, but that half of Americans did not vote at all. I am in favor of their march and movement, but the medium is the message. The most efficient and effective mediums must be exploited along with the labor intensive.
If you were relaxing by the fire today I would now end my observations of politics and society in general and find out what you have been doing. I have a killer nutloaf of spinach and almond with a nice parsley sauce. Let me heat up a slice and serve it to you while you enjoy the fire. I have almost used up all the nuts from last year, but am still pitching the nuts to guests because they are so healthy and tasty. Thanks for stopping in today. You are welcome to take a nap by the stove after your snack, especially if you have a long trip home. Alexa is loaded with Amazon unlimited music, so please ask her to play your favorite music. Just say her name and tell her what you want.
Ending the year with this sophisticated group of digital coffee drinkers is a pleasure. I appreciate knowing you, sharing with you, and learning about your writing journeys. Thanks to Diana for keeping the party going from New Orleans even week. Drop in and comment, post, or just enjoy the coffee. Cheers!
This is a perfect weekend to be in my home town of Tucson, so you are all invited to use your transporter cloaks to join me for coffee downtown Tucson at Cafe Coronet. I have recently been told how delicious the food is, so I decided to try it. The small bistro on Fourth Avenue has more space on the patio than inside the restored space. Today the U of A basketball team is playing in the NCAA finals, so the street fashion was distinctly Wildcat as students and others geared up for the game party. The Coronet patio is the perfect vantage point from which to take in the scene without being crowded. Pull up a chair and order a beverage of your choice. They pride themselves on the coffee as well as the cocktails. Today I sampled the Orange Blossom Special with Luksusowa vodka, Cointreau, Creme de Cacao, and a couple of shots of espresso.
The menu offers plenty of choices. I ordered the “Bunnies”, a selection of three different salads, chosen from a list of four. They combined to create a brunch just to my liking.
If we were having coffee (and maybe a bite to eat) I would tell you that I have taken a big leap. I have committed to writing 30 poems in 30 days as part of the #NaPoWriMo program in April. I do publish my poetry, but I have not done so here, on my grown up WordPress blog. On one hand I am inspired to do it and feel it will be a super challenge from which I will grow. Another part of me is wondering why I did not just register my tumblr for the event, as I have in past years. It is symbolic in a way I don’t yet understand. Wish me luck, my coffee friends. I will continue to write a weekend coffee post (not necessarily in verse) to stay in touch with you. I enjoy our visits and don’t want to lose track of any members of the group.
It is starting to heat up fast in Arizona, which is not a personal problem for me because I love the heat. My senior dog with kidney problems will need extra care and more frequent trips in and out of the house. She is holding out well even though we know she has more limits all the time. I am considering a radical change in schedule to leave me more time with her. If I go to the gym when I wake up in the morning instead of the middle of the day, which is my habit, my dog will be outside in the coolest part of the day. It may also be a good way to switch things up to be poetic every day. Perhaps by moving first and writing after vigorous exercise I will come up with a new approach. I listen to poetry while I work out very often, so it could be a source of inspiration. Have you ever turned your schedule upside down for results? How is your daily grind going thee days? Do you have anything new planned? Thanks for visiting my city this week. Fly over town and check out all the flowering trees and wild flowers that are blooming right now. These flashy colors appear and fade very quickly while we return to summer temperatures. There is horse racing at the Rillito Downs today, so take a turn up First Avenue to watch the excitement before you take the trip back to your home. You will see some true cowboy culture at the racetrack. The entire city is fixated on the basketball team, so if you will excuse me, I need to go Bear Down!!!
If we were meeting for coffee we would use our teleporting cloaks to visit different parts of the world. This is a weekend to take an imaginary trip to a Paris coffee house. The pace of current events has been swift and frightening. Sophisticated cosmopolitan citizens are shaken. Let us sit in the corner with scarves drinking dark roast coffee with hot frothy milk. At this moment let’s take in the vibe of our fellow customers and feel the anxiety flowing through the waiter, and into the pastries on the counter. Our conversation is hushed and our gazes are focused on each other. I feel a refuge in the stories you tell me about your week, your writing, your will to survive in grace and beauty. We are comfortable gently criticizing or joking about our private lives, but are concerned about public life. This is a propitious time in history.
I often think about history because of my study of my family tree. This hobby/obsession has improved my knowledge and sense of history by revealing the stories of my ancestors. I frequently notice the differences as well as the similarities between my ancestors alive at the same time. This week I have done research on two topics that have given me superb insights into historical events. I learned that my 15th great-grandfather was a famous poet who was executed by Henry VIII on 19 Jan., 1547 at the Tower of London. I read and listened to his poetry, which I admire and like. I decided to write a poem in honor of his beheading. I hoped to create a Monty Python or Dorothy Parker style witty ditty about Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey to commemorate the 1468th anniversary of his death. Nothing rhymes with beheading. Howard and Surrey both summon up a set of unflattering words that are not very funny at all. This comedy execution poem haunted me for a couple of days before I gave up the limerick format. I wrote one today, but it contains no humor.
The other subject of my genealogy research this week has been my own Confederate soldier ancestors and the ownership of slaves. I have searched through census records before the Civil War and learned that my 3rd great-grandmother owned land before the war in Old Cahawba, Alabama. This is now suburban Selma. Her husband died young and she had a patent on119.91 acres of land in the old capital of Dallas County. Her family lived with her until after the war, when they all moved to Texas. The family arrived in Texas by oxcart and bought land with gold. Her son and grandson both served the Confederacy, but there is no sign that this family ever owned slaves. I looked back in time until I did find slaves in Mississippi on the maternal side, but the Taylors were too poor or morally opposed to the idea. When they moved to Texas they started a church and deeded part of their property to the church. I have wondered a lot about the journey and the gold, but now that I know how difficult story poems are to write, have not dedicated myself to telling this history in a poem.
Thanks for hanging out this weekend in our imaginary coffee house. I look forward to hearing your stories and finding out how you are feeling this week. I appreciate sharing this delicious time with you, gentle reader.