Friday, October 4, 2019
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Suddenly it's fall, and we're still in the throes of harvesting our garden and picking our orchard; putting things by for the months ahead.
The Fall semester began, nearly 5 weeks ago. I have 157 students, teaching six courses, three capstones, 2 internships, running an Arts program at Fisher that has this week provided the campus with three exceptional programs this week. So much work-- my eyes are spinning in oil.
A week ago, we lost my darling niece, Kiira Jepson. My heart aches over this. She was 54 years old and a light in our lives. I am thinking constantly of my oldest sister, her mother, and her brother who says she was his best friend. Her cancer moved very quickly. I was so hopeful that she would be the one to challenge the outcome; the one to set a new record for survival. And, she was determined to do so, too. I feel she has been with me, especially this week, going to all the events, attending my classes, with me while I'm making the next batch of sauce. I hear her voice and her laugh.
As some of you know from this blog, that in the past year, my family hit the cancer jackpot. I had a challenging cancer, and am now 7 months cancer free; my husband, as soon as I finished my course of treatment, began his treatment, and is now on the other side of it.
I am grateful for every day, every morning where my feet find the floor and I stand, and look both ways, and go in the right direction. Often, I wonder how I was cured. A miracle, really. But, maybe my work isn't done yet. Maybe, there is someone out there that I need to meet, have a conversation with, teach . . . Maybe I have to learn something more? Not sure.
In the meantime, I am going with the force. I am trying to be stress free. However, I would like to add 6 more hours to the day.
Today, some of my family will join me in picking apples and picking the garden. We still in full swing of harvest because of the late planting. Soggy Spring. Not so now. Every day has been gorgeous.
I will try to be more frequent with posts now, especially about art and writing.
Saturday, July 6, 2019
|Fourth of July, 2019. Photo: Meghan Rose Tonery|
Accomplishments Summer 2019:
Garden planted! It took 9 days, but all is well. We have been having warm weather, bright sun, a taste of rain. Grow, Garden, Grow!
We've had good company in June and July. More to come.
Renewed our fishing licenses!
Have been re-potting house plants. They have grown overnight.
Making cacti, succulent, rocks, seashells, dish gardens. Invented my version of cacti soil yesterday; then, found the bag of soil today!
Writing sporadically. Some hits, some misses. A lot of thoughts swirling 'round and about . . .
Recent published poem:
"Seeing the Sunrise"
Recent published 100 word story:
"She Looked on the Bright Side"
Theme song for Summer: "You Can't Stop the Beat!"
Sunday, June 23, 2019
Graffiti: Call A Cab, O Swift One
St. Brendan's Street
We were in Ireland from May 21-May29th, staying in Brooklyn NY on both sides of coming and going;
arriving home on 6/2/2019.
In Ireland, sunny and mild spring days, with temperatures hovering in high sixties. There were occasional rainstorms with looming fog, but it seemed to burn off by mid-day. We stayed in Galway for three days, experiencing the city on foot (mostly). We did an on/off bus tour to get a sense of the city's layout (1.5 hours), with historical explanations of buildings and bridges and landscape. There was music (buskers) at every corner in the Street of Shoppes, and the musicians were wonderful, playing alternative to traditional Irish music. Throngs of people milled about the streets, stopping in shops or cafes for a bit to eat. We did this, too. I loved looking at the Wall Art, and the people moving past these walls and the pop up art stalls selling their jewelry, paintings, photographs. I bought a photo of a sheep standing in front of a cottage, looking straight at the camera. It's called "Home Alone." When I showed it to my niece Suzanne, who met up with us in Sligo, she said,"Sheep were overrated." I thought her comment was very funny, especially since we stayed in the countryside, outside of the town of Grange, near Sligo, which had scene after scene of cows and sheep grazing in grassy meadows.
At every turn in this trip, there were elements of research that have fueled my recent writing. I have written several poems and lyric essays about our experience there. I wish we had stayed on a bit longer, or forever. I was just starting to settle in, especially in Grange. We stayed in a gorgeous stone house, with walking lanes and gardens, and one particular crow that would sit on our bedroom's window ledge and knock against the windowpane every morning.
Now back to our little farm and the onset of the growing season. The weather while we were gone was very rainy and gloomy. Our garden plot, which is very large area, was floating, so we had to wait it out before we could turn it over. Yesterday, (6/22) the second day of summer, we began making the rows, laying down paper, planting a variety of tomatoes and peppers(4.5 rows worth).
Our plants were getting tall and pot bound. You could actually hear their sigh of relief when I placed
them in the soil. This is "late" planting, even a few days later than last year. Last year, we had an exceptional summer (warm weather), and the plants did well, and we were canning produce into October. Today may be one of the first "summer" days, with temperature predicted to be close to 80 degrees and full sun.
Hoping to get the short rows in the North end of the garden planted with a variety of squash and zucchini. This worked well last year. The vines seemed to sprawl and thrive in this area. Hope we will be twice lucky.
Sunday, May 12, 2019
These are the cats that own the town of Scopello. Someone would cook huge pots of pasta for them. See the one standing on two legs, eating his dinner.
This year we will be going to Galway and Silgo, Ireland. Another island culture.Can't wait to see the Burren with its wild orchids.
The Spring semester is over. It went by so quickly. I worked constantly. Now its time to recharge the battery and reflect on the year thus far.
Looking forward to getting things in order now. Set some summer goals besides maintaining the garden. It's been a cold spring. This past week, the weather alternated rain, then sun, then rain, then sun. It's raining now. Yesterday, after attending St.John Fisher's graduation, Peter and I decided to do some errands. We found a chicken house on the side of the road (in really good shape) and drove up
to the homeowner to see if he was selling it or giving it away. Our good luck. Free! So we stopped everything and figured out a way to drive the chicken house back to our house, which wasn't far away. This little excursion could have been a total disaster. The chicken house in splinters in the middle of the road. Another hand of good luck, and we were able to make it back to our house without an incident. Soon this will be a happy chicken house!
Lyric essay and Poem.
I am grateful to all the editors who have supported my writing, and have given me the opportunity to reach so many writers and readers worldwide. It's been such a gift.
During poetry month, I only wrote a fistful of poems, not 30, as so many accomplish every year.
I only went to a couple of readings. My energy is slowly coming back, so I am hoping I will have more get up and go through the summer months.
I have a lot to do now. Time to switch gears and focus on things that are within reach.
Happy Mother's Day!
Friday, March 8, 2019
March 8th, 2019:
It’s Friday morning. The sun’s shining, the air’s still quite cold. We have a yard full of new snow. I have been working on lyrical CNF essays and poems for several weeks now. Wrote a sonnet Wednesday, much to my surprise. It’s a single sentence with internal rhyme (another surprise), and it’s about the first day of Lent (yet, another surprise). I have no idea what’s going on in my mind’s writing room these days, why some things are so out of the blue, but this poem seems to be a gift. Inspiration began with looking out the kitchen window, watching cardinals that flit branch to branch in the crab apple tree, then make their way to our feeders. I love watching the dance.
Sonnets are not my forte. Those who are successful writing sonnets do so without any hint of cliché. I have always felt the heft of cliché in my attempts. My hunches were confirmed by poets(mentors) I trust. Yep, that isn’t so good, they’d say. Consequently, I have steered away from sonnets. However, I love reading them, and really I admire poet Henri Cole’s sonnets. So gorgeous and witty and new. Some critics have called these “pseudo-sonnet form.” Doesn’t matter. All that matters is I remember them. His words and images.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
In the month of February, we have experienced all kinds of weather in western NY. Ice storms, snowstorms, wind storms, and patches of sun and warmer than usual temps, then plunging cold, Polar Vortex.
It's the last day of February. I have just updated by web site, which was long overdue.
Publications in 2019:
“(Un)resolved” The Pangolin Review, January, 2019
“May Life Be Kind White It Lasts” Blue Heron Review February, 2019
“For a Glimpse of the Sea” Amethyst Review, January 11th, 2019
“Fighting Death” Amethyst Review, February 18th, 2019
“With and Without” Amethyst Review, March 23rd, 2019
“Nothing” Blueline 40th Anniversary Edition, Spring, 2019
“The End in Sight,” “these woods” (couplet) and “slow moving fog” (haiku)
The Bamboo Hut, February 2019.
“The Lopsided Ticking of Dali’s Clocks” The Ekphrastic Review, January, 2019
“What Can I Spare?” Subterranean Blue Poetry, upcoming issue in 2019-2020
“The Kiss” Quill and Parchment, February, 2019
“One Breath— ” Clementine Unbound March, 2019
“Look Up, Slowly” (Haibun) Plum Tree Tavern, February, 2019
“Soap: Snow” Third Wednesday, June, 2019
“Once, Removed” Tiny Spoon Literary Magazine, 2019
“Waiting on the Edge of the Invisible” and “Distance between Stars” Red Eft Review, March 2019
“Thinking of A Cure for Cancer after Looking at Thousands of Eyeless Fish Wash Up on a New Zealand Beach” Otoliths, March, 2019
“Over (cast)” A Story in 100 Words, January, 2019
“Snow” A Story in 100 Words, January, 2019
“(Re)do” Grey Sparrow Journal, February, 2019
“The Hold-up” A Story in 100 Words, February, 2019.
“The Orchard” Nature Writing, February 2019
“Hair(cut)” Eunoia Review, March 2019.”
“Mirage” Otoliths, March 2019
“Cry, Baby” Lost Balloon nominated for the Best Microfiction Anthology, 2019
Finitude, a micro-chapbook, Origami Poems Project, February, 2019
Last year, I finally made my goal of 100 publications in a year. I am hopeful that I will do that again this year. Of course, this success depends upon my ambition to write and revise every day.
Teaching can slow this process down a bit because writing is an inward practice whereas teaching is outward.
I have been extremely busy with workshops, going into the schools, working with students, 6th -12th grades. I have been inspired by their originality and ways of seeing and understanding the power of metaphor. It makes me hopeful. The strong critical thinking skills. Kudos to their teachers who have encouraged them to have big ideas.
I have just finished 6 cycles of infusion therapy; with robotic radical GYN surgery in December for ovarian cancer. As of this moment, I am cancer free. Once again, I am looking out upon uncharted territories. The six months went by quickly. I had wonderful care, and now I am on my own, trying
to create a new routine, which includes everything I love to do.
What am I planning?
Another vegetable garden, I have stacks upon stacks of seed catalogs to peruse daily, and I do, imagining the rows, leafy and green and abundant, despite the new 8 inches of snow.
Travel! Near and far, with good humor and a light suitcase. I think this will be the decade of many experiences(good, bad, ugly) you know how that goes, when you are out of your element.
Writing and making art! Of course.
Onward! Follow your snow angel!