Thursday, November 30, 2023



This is what life does. It lets you walk up to

the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a

stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have

your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman

down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,

the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,

is this a message, finally, or just another day?...

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your

late night dessert. Pie for the dog, as well. And

then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,

while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,

with smiles on their starry faces as they head

out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.


          - - - Eleanor Lerman, b. 1952

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Little Dog's Rhapsody in the Night by Mary Oliver


He puts his cheek against mine
and makes small, expressive sounds.
And when I’m awake, or awake enough

he turns upside down, his four paws
in the air
and his eyes dark and fervent.

“Tell me you love me,” he says.

“Tell me again.”

Could there be a sweeter arrangement? Over and over
he gets to ask.
I get to tell.

                 - Mary Oliver, in “Dog Songs”

Sunday, November 26, 2023

As I've Aged by Margaret Berry


I have posted this before, and I will surely be posting it again.

Margaret Berry speaks words straight from my very soul as I turn 75 today.

❤  Life is good  ❤

Old age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now,

probably for the first time in my life,

the person I have always wanted to be.

Oh, not my body!

I sometime despair over my body -

the wrinkles,

the baggy eyes and the sagging butt.

And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror,

but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life,

my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.

As I've aged,

I've become more kind to myself and less critical of myself.

I've become my own friend.

I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie,

or for not making my bed,

or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need,

but looks so avante garde on my patio.

I am entitled to overeat,

to be messy,

to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon;

before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read until 4:00 am and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50s & 60s,

and if I,

at the same time,

wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to,

despite the pitying glances from the bikini set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful.

But there again,

some of life is just as well forgotten and I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken.

How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one,

or when a child suffers,

or when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion.

A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. 

So many have never laughed and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

I can say "no" and mean it.

I can say "yes" and mean it.

As you get older,

it is easier to be positive.

You care less about what other people think.

I don't question myself anymore.

I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question,

I like being old.

It has set me free.

I like the person I have become.

I am not going to live forever,

but while I am still here,

I will not waste time lamenting what could have been,

or worrying about what will be.

And I shall eat dessert every single day,

if I want to.

-  Margaret Berry

Some things never change.

I still love pretty dresses and nice jewelry.

And . . .

Chocolate cake for birthday breakfast 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Happy Birthday, Annabelle!!

 Princess Annabelle Turns Seven Today!

This is a post about the day we met her -

And now here she is, The Heart of Our Home

Happy Birthday, Annabelle


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving


Lion by Kay Ritter

Molly by Kay Ritter

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I hope your day is exactly what you need it to be

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Gratitude by Mary Oliver


Art by Kelly Rae Roberts

What did you notice?

The dew-snail;
the low-flying sparrow;
the bat, on the wind, in the dark;
big-chested geese, in the V of sleekest performance;
the soft toad, patient in the hot sand;
the sweet-hungry ants;
the uproar of mice in the empty house;
the tin music of the cricket’s body;
the blouse of the goldenrod.

What did you hear?

The thrush greeting the morning;
the little bluebirds in their hot box;
the salty talk of the wren,
then the deep cup of the hour of silence.

When did you admire?

The oaks, letting down their dark and hairy fruit;
the carrot, rising in its elongated waist;
the onion, sheet after sheet, curved inward to the pale green wand;
at the end of summer the brassy dust, the almost liquid beauty of the flowers;
then the ferns, scrawned black by the frost.

What astonished you?

The swallows making their dip and turn over the water.

What would you like to see again?

My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness,
her language beyond all nimbleness of tongue,
her recklessness, her loyalty, her sweetness,
her strong legs, her curled black lip, her snap.

What was most tender?

Queen Anne’s lace, with its parsnip root;
the everlasting in its bonnets of wool;
the kinks and turns of the tupelo’s body;
the tall, blank banks of sand;
the clam, clamped down.

What was most wonderful?

The sea, and its wide shoulders;
the sea and its triangles;
the sea lying back on its long athlete’s spine.

What did you think was happening?

The green breast of the hummingbird;
the eye of the pond;
the wet face of the lily;
the bright, puckered knee of the broken oak;
the red tulip of the fox’s mouth;
the up-swing, the down-pour, the frayed sleeve of the first snow—

so the gods shake us from our sleep.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Honoring Older Women, Which Means Honoring Myself

Miriam Escofet
An Angel at My Table

Becoming Seventy by Joy Harjo 

Knoxville, December 27, 2016, for Marilyn Kallet’s 70th birthday.

This poem was constructed to carry any memory you want to hold close.



when the days

grew legs of night.

Chocolates were offered.

We ate latkes for hours

to celebrate light and friends.

We will keep going despite dark

or a madman in a white house dream.

Let’s talk about something else said the dog

who begs faithfully at the door of goodwill:

a biscuit will do, a voice of reason, meat sticks — 

I dreamed all of this I told her, you, me, and Paris — 

it was impossible to make it through the tragedy

without poetry. What are we without winds becoming words?

Becoming old children born to children born to sing us into

love. Another level of love, beyond the neighbor’s holiday light

display proclaiming goodwill to all men who have lost their way in the dark

as they tried to find the car door, the bottle hidden behind the seat, reason

to keep on going past all the times they failed at sharing love, love. It’s weak they think — 

or some romantic bullshit, a movie set propped up behind on slats, said the wizard

of junk understanding who pretends to be the wise all-knowing dog behind a cheap fan.

It’s in the plan for the new world straining to break through the floor of this one, said the Angel of

All-That-You-Know-and-Forgot-and-Will-Find, as she flutters the edge of your mind when you try to

sing the blues to the future of everything that might happen and will. All the losses come tumbling

down, down, down at three in the morning as do all the shouldn’t-haves or should-haves. It doesn’t matter, girl —

I’ll be here to pick you up, said Memory, in her red shoes, and the dress that showed off brown legs. When you met

him at the age you have always loved, hair perfect with a little wave, and that shine in your skin from believing what was

impossible was possible, you were not afraid. You stood up in love in a French story and there fell ever

a light rain as you crossed the Seine to meet him for café in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. You wrote a poem beneath the tender

skin from your ribs to your hip bone, in the slender then, and you are still writing that song to convince the sweetness of every

bit of straggling moonlight, star and sunlight to become words in your mouth, in your kiss — that kiss that will never die, you will all

ways fall in love. It doesn’t matter how old, how many days, hours, or memories, we can fall in love over and over

again. The Seine or Tennessee or any river with a soul knows the depths descending when it comes to seeing the sun or moon stare

back, without shame, remorse, or guilt. This is what I remember she told her husband when they bedded down that night in the house that would begin

marriage. That house was built of twenty-four doves, rugs from India, cooking recipes from seven generations of mothers and their sisters,

and wave upon wave of tears, and the concrete of resolution for the steps that continue all the way to the heavens, past guardian dogs, dog

after dog to protect. They are humble earth angels, and the rowdiest, even nasty. You try and lick yourself like that, imagine. And the Old

Woman laughed as she slipped off her cheap shoes and parked them under the bed that lies at the center of the garden of good and evil. She’d seen it all. Done it

more than once. Tonight, she just wanted a good sleep, and picked up the book of poetry by her bed, which was over a journal she kept when her mother was dying.

These words from May Sarton she kept in the fourth room of her heart, “Love, come upon him warily and deep / For if he startle first it were as well / to bind a fox’s

throat with a gold bell /As hold him when it is his will to leap.” And she considered that every line of a poem was a lead line into the spirit world to capture a

bit of memory, pieces of gold confetti, a kind of celebration. We all want to be remembered, even memory, even the way the light came in the kitchen

window, when her mother turned up the dial on that cool mist color 
of a radio, when memory crossed the path of longing and took 
mother’s arm and she put down her apron

said, “I don’t mind if I do,” and they danced, you watching, as you began your own cache of remembering. Already you had stored the taste of mother as milk, father as a labor

of sweat and love, and night as a lonely boat of stars that took you into who you were before you slid through the hips of the story. There are no words when you cross the

gate of forbidden waters, or is it a sheer scarf of the finest silk, or is it something else that causes you to forget. Nothing is ever forgotten says the god of remembering

who protects the heartbeat of every little cell of knowing from the Antarctic to the soft spot at the top of this planetary baby. Oh baby, come here, let me tell you the story

of the party you will never forget, no matter where you go, where you are, or where you will be when you cross the line and say, no more. No more greedy kings, no more disappointments, no more orphans,

or thefts of souls or lands, no more killing for the sport of killing. No more, no more, except more of the story so I will understand exactly what I am doing here, and why, she said to the fox

guardian who took her arm to help her cross the road that was given to the care of Natives who made sure the earth spirits were fed with songs, and the other things they loved to eat. They like sweets, cookies, and flowers.

It was getting late and the fox guardian picked up her books as she hurried through the streets of strife. But it wasn’t getting late. There was no late, only a plate of tamales on the counter waiting to be

or not to be. At this age, said the fox, we are closer to the not to be, which is the to be in the fields of sweet grasses. Wherever you are, enjoy the evening, how the sun walks the horizon before cross

sing over to be, and we then exist under the realm of the moon. There’s where fears slay us, in the dark of the howling mind. We all battle. Befriend them, the moon said as a crab skittered under her skirt, her daughter in

the high chair, waiting for cereal and toast. What a girl she turned out to be, a willow tree, a blessing to the winds, to her family. There she is married, and we start the story all over again, said her father

in a toast to the happiness of who we are and who we are becoming as Change in a new model sedan whips it down the freeway toward the generations that follow, one after another in the original

lands of the Mvskoke who are still here. Nobody goes anywhere though we are always leaving and returning. It’s a ceremony. Sunrise occurs everywhere, in lizard time, human time, or a fern uncurling time. We

instinctually reach for light food, we digest it, make love, art or 
trouble of it. The sun crowns us at noon. The whole earth is a queen. Then there are always goodbyes. At sunset say goodbye to hurt, to suffering, to the pain you caused others,

or yourself. Goodbye, goodbye, to Carrie Fisher, the Star Wars phenomenon, and George Michael, the singer. They were planets in our emotional universe. Some of my memories are opened by the image of love on screen in an

imagined future, or broken open when the sax solo of “Careless Whisper” blows through the communal heart. Yes, there’s a cosmic consciousness. Jung named it but it was there long before named by Vedic and Mvskoke scientists. And, there is

a cosmic hearteousness — for the heart is the higher mind and nothing can be forgotten there, no ever or ever. How do I sing this so 
I don’t forget? Ask the poets. Each word is a box that can be opened or closed. Then a train of words, phrases

garnered by music and the need for rhythm to organize chaos. Like right here, now, in this poem is the transition phase. I remembered it while giving birth, summer sun bearing down on the city melting asphalt but there we were, my daughter

and I, at the door between worlds. I was happier than ever before to welcome her, happiness was the path she chose to enter, and 
I couldn’t push yet, not yet, and then there appeared a pool of the 
bluest water. We waited there for a breath

to catch up, and then it did, and she took it that girl who was beautiful beyond dolphin dreaming, and we made it, we did, to the other side of suffering. This is the story our mothers tell but we couldn’t hear it in our ears stuffed with Barbie advertising,

with our mothers’ own loathing set in place by patriarchal scripture, the smothering rules to stop insurrection by domesticated slaves, or wives. It hurt everybody. The fathers cannot know what they are feeling in such a spiritual backwash. Worship

boxes set into place by the need for money and power will not beget freedom. Only warships. For freedom, freedom, oh freedom sang the slaves, the oar rhythm of the blues lifting up the spirits of peoples whose bodies were worn out, or destroyed by a man’s slash,

hit of greed. This is our memory too, said America. Heredity is a field of blood, celebration, and forgetfulness. Don’t take on more than you can carry, said the eagle to his twin sons, fighting each other in the sky over a fox, dangling between

them. It’s that time of the year, when we eat tamales and latkes. We light candles, fires to make the way for a newborn child, for fresh 
understanding. Demons will try to make houses out of jealousy, anger, 
pride, greed, or more destructive material. They place them in a

part of the body that will hold them: liver, heart, knee, or brain. So, my friend, let’s let that go, for joy, for chocolates made of ashes, mangos, grapefruit, or chili from Oaxaca, for sparkling wine from Spain, for these children who show up in our dreams and want to live at any cost because

we are here to feed them joy. Your soul is so finely woven the silkworms went on strike, said the mulberry tree. We all have mulberry trees in the memory yard. They hold the place for skinned knees earned by small braveries, cousins you love who are gone, a father cutting a

watermelon in the summer on the porch, and a mother so in love that her heart breaks — it will never be the same, yet all memory bends to fit. The heart has uncountable rooms. We turn to leave here, and so will the hedgehog who makes a home next to that porch. We become birds, poems.

Source: Poetry (September 2017)

Friday, November 17, 2023

 It's never too late to be who you might have been.

- - - George Elliot

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

No one told me

Painted by Artist Dame Laura Knight

 No one told me 

it would be like this— 

how growing older

is another passage

of discovery

and that aging is one

grand transformation,

and if some things become torn apart

lost along the way,

many other means show up 

to bring me closer 

to the center of my heart.

No one ever told me

if whatever wonder 

waits ahead

is in another realm

and outside of time.

But the amazement, I found,

is that the disconcerting things 

within the here and now 

that I stumble 

and trip my way 

through, also

lead me 



And no one told me 

that I would ever see

an earth so strong 

and fragile, or

a world so sad 

and beautiful.

And I surely

didn't know 

I'd have

all this life 

yet in me

or such fire

inside my 


            ~  Susan Frybort

Monday, November 13, 2023

Let's get this celebration started


This month I will be celebrating a milestone birthday.


75 years old.

Holy Kittens.

I'm going to be 75 years old . . .

Too many years to celebrate with just one day, so we're starting early.

Since i love to eat, there will be much eating.

Starting this morning with breakfast at Cracker Barrel with my best guy.

A very big breakfast at Cracker Barrel with a delicious Vanilla Latte topped with whipped cream and caramel syrup.

Calories be damned.

And there shall be poetry!

 I counted my years and found that I have less time to live from here on than I have lived up to now.

I feel like that child who won a packet of sweets: he ate the first with pleasure, but when he realized that there were few left, he began to enjoy them intensely.

I no longer have time for endless meetings where statutes, rules, procedures and internal regulations are discussed, knowing that nothing will be achieved.

I no longer have time to support the absurd people who, despite their chronological age, haven't grown up.

My time is too short:

I want the essence,

my soul is in a hurry.

I don't have many sweets

in the package anymore.

I want to live next to human people,

very human,

who know how to laugh at their mistakes,

and who are not inflated by their triumphs,

and who take on their responsibilities.

Thus human dignity is defended and we move towards truth and honesty.

It is the essential that makes life worth living.

I want to surround myself with people who know how to touch hearts, people who have been taught by the hard blows of life to grow with gentle touches of the soul.

Yes, I'm in a hurry, I'm in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.

I don't intend to waste any of the leftover sweets.

I am sure they will be delicious, much more than what I have eaten so far.

My goal is to reach the end satisfied

and at peace with my loved ones

and my conscience.

We have two lives.

And the second begins when you realize you only have one.

                         Mário Raul de Morais Andrade

                       (Oct 9, 1893 – Feb 25, 1945)

                        Brazilian poet, novelist, musicologist, art historian and critic, photographer

Life is Good