Sunday, January 5, 2020

Today is Sunday (all week has felt like Sunday)!
It's January 5, 2020.  To date, four (4) of my 100 word stories and two (2) new poems have been accepted for publication in Spring 2020. I have also received my first rejection of the new year.

I am making a commitment to mindfulness. I did a 20 minute meditation yesterday; and truthfully, the experience was so liberating.  I am hoping that these new-to-me tools will make the difference in my living. I want "out" of the things that bottle me up. After I did the meditation, I felt stress-free.  No aches or pains. A clear mind.

I am working on some poetry reviews right now.
Hoping to have them done and sent to the journals by the end of this upcoming week.  I have been thinking about the difference between details and images. I have an upcoming course  on Metaphor this semester.  I have selected some wonderful texts. Hopefully, my students will be willing to jump into this challenging material.  It requires imagination and wonder, which I think is the key to success in all types of work. The challenge is to present this  task of engaging one's imagination and wonder without making any of them feel self-conscious. It's like being a circus performer, straddling two galloping gray horses; one is called 'rational' and the other is 'irrational,' but both are dependent on each other, in order to turn so many revolutions around the ring, until there is a new way of seeing and thinking and talking about art.

I have been writing a lot poems with cloud imagery(metaphor).  I live in landscape that has magnificent skies, due to the Great Lakes, Ontario and Erie. It's also linked to the ephermeral nature
of living and writing poetry, which is very different from writing fiction or nonfiction; yet, all will get me through the oncoming years and what I can and can't control. Things are changing, moment to moment; things living and dying in the course of day, hour, minute, nanosecond . . . What am I going to say to my students this semester? What am I going to say to myself as the days gain  light, marching towards Spring and Summer, and another turn around the ring.

So much depends on balance, and keeping on.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

In the year 2020 . . .

Happy New Year!  New Decade! 2020

I have joined a community  of writers on Fb, who are journaling every day. I have never been successful at journaling, and believe me, I have tried, and tried.I have already broken the first rule of the community of making a comment on a post made by my cousin Lauren,who is a poet, writer, and quiltmaker extraordinaire.

The first prompt by writer Saundra Goldman is to write for 10-20 minutes on: Where I am.

I have a new journal, and so I began. I think this will be a part of my mindfulness practice.  I have already tapped into a website

I like the six steps meditation. I have been enjoying the articles, too. Some of the mindful practices are things that I already do, not knowing that they are "mindful."  So, it was a pleasant surprise,finding out the benefits of such practices.

Since December 15, 2019,  I have been writing, reading (mostly recipes) where I end up being the sous chef for my husband, who reads recipes all the time and has become a foodie over the past 5 years. It's been interesting "working" together in the kitchen, that is his domain.

Two days ago, on the eve of New Year's Eve, we made wild caught clams and this fabulous homemade pasta (not linguini).  Here is the link to the recipe:

I really like Once Upon a Chef website. Instructions and visuals=  mealtime success.

On New Year Day, I always pick my favorite things to do, as a guarantee that I will do them all year long.  I was busy: revising, sending out manuscripts, eating healthy food choices; drinking 6-9 glasses of water per day;  received my first rejection; but, also 4  of my new 100 word stories were accepted; reading; watching a few TV shows, which will fall to the wayside as soon as the semester begins.  But Flirty Dancing was fun to watch.  Although, I did feel badly for the dance partners that didn't get picked for a second date; and happened upon another show called Almost Family.  It's complicated; while watching nearly finished the scarf I have been knitting, using all leftover yarns from previous made scarves.  It's fun and very warm, and I may keep it for myself. I did dishes and put things away, and took a warm shower. Tried to go see Little Women but the theater was sold out. I really want to see this film.  Maybe today, or tomorrow.

Hope all of you are off to a good start.  Sun is shining and it's unusually warm (40 degrees) in western NY. I am going to enjoy this weather break.  Winter will be back in no time.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Not Chinese Calendar, but this Year, 2020, is self-declared The Year of the Cat.

I think the upcoming year, 2020, will be the year of the Cat.  Think of it, nine lives in one year. How are you going to live them ? I am hoping for a year full of surprises.  The unexpected joys of being present. This will be the year I let go of things that hold me back.  I will say good bye to things I have known (good and not so good) for a long time, and I think it will be the best decision I have ever made.

It always good to get new year plans ready in the the week before New Year's Day. This week has been luxurious and slow moving, and I have had time to write without interruption, which feels very serious and determined, but I hope as the days move on in the break, I will find another rhythm, something that is a bit less serious, yet still mine. Hopefully, I will be able to carry this through the Spring semester.  Again, six courses. But, at the end of this semester, the Earth will be green and ready to encourage us to take off our sensible shoes.  I will be listening. I know I am in a position to make each day significant in big and small ways, and like a cat I will see what I will see. I will nap, purr, hiss, mess around, ignore, annoy, hide all the day long.  It will be quite a year.  Hope it is for you, too.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

What Do I Know? What Do I Know?

What Do I Know?  Another semester of teaching, listening, thinking, considering has ended.  At 1:45 p.m. yesterday, I  finished the semester's grading for 157 students. Two colleges, six courses, countless portfolios and final exams and papers; not to mention the administrative work involved in keeping an Arts program alive and well.

I am grateful that I was able to do this work without falling behind. I stayed aware of every student, which can be challenging because some of them think they have a cloaking device and can be hidden in plain view.  There were moments of brilliance, and moments of surprise, and moments of  boredom.  It's what we teachers expect in our work.  It's what keeps me coming back.

Once again, after having family gather at our farm for Thanksgiving, I gleaned a cold and cough that has lasted for 3 weeks now.  My sad nose has had it.  It's going to go on strike. I did sleep well last night, for the first time in several weeks.  I sleep for a couple hours, then wake and work  in the early morning darkness.  You would think I would give up this ritual for more normal hours.

Maybe my spirit guide is an owl. I do love owls, especially Snowy and Long-eared Owls.  I hear them at night calling to each other.  In January, they will find their mates and set up their nests. In the thick of winter, their fledglings are born.  Now that I am "free' for the rest of 2019, I hope to spend my time wisely.  I want to take long walks, and see a few new movies, and meet up with friends that  I haven't seen in weeks. I want to write every day, without interruption.  I found my creative life (august-now) was caught in a vice grip. I literally had to filch time to do some of my own work.  Teaching is such a battery-draining enterprise.

For a teacher,the energy is flowing out.  For a writer, the energy has to flow in.  The creative process  demands no distractions or interruptions, and all I had this semester was exactly that-- interruptions with a capital I.

 Now, here I am, with weeks of free days on the calendar. Time to recharge and see what inspires me.

Happy holidays to all.

Artwork: Elizabeth King Durand May, 2019

Friday, October 4, 2019

October 4th, 2019: Kiira's Sunset

Photo P. Tonery on 9/20/2019 Kiira's Sunset. Moscow Road, Hamlin NY

Saturday, September 28, 2019

And, suddenly it's Autumn . . .

Photo K. Iuppa, The pond, or what I believe is the inside of seashell.

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

6th of July. Still celebrating!

Fourth of July, 2019. Photo: Meghan Rose Tonery

Still Celebrating . . .

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!"