Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: This Time Last Year

July 3rd: This time last year, we treated you to a pre-4th hike so you’d have the chance to relax and have fun before a day that usually resulted in you cowering in a dark, quiet corner, fan and music turned up high.


July 4th: This time last year, I was so proud of you for being social, tail wagging, greeting visitors and having a generally calm day.


July 5th: This time last year, you were still here.

Yesterday, I thought of you as I watched a lantern float up in the sky, floating farther and farther away from my reach, like your memory, like my recollection of the feeling of your fur, the shape of your face, the sound of your bark, the personality of your walk.

Next year, when I bring up “this time last year”, I’ll remember the myriad rhubarb desserts, deliciously unplanned like four girls at the prom wearing the same dress and each looking spectacular in their own way. I’ll remember the hilarity of mini confetti poppers.

But I won’t be able to say “this time last year, you were still here”.

Ah, time is a strange thing, isn’t it?

To Holding Tight to Precious Memories,


Posted in Making Memories Mondays

Making Memories Monday: Short and Sweet, but GRAND CANYON!

DSCN5167 Things to do Before I Die, #3A: Visit the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon

Well, you sure haven’t seen a checkmark in awhile! In fact, I feel like I’ve achieved quite a few checkmarks during my year-ish long break, and I plan to update this blog with them in time.

This was April 2014, which is really indicative of just how long it’s been since I’ve blogged on a regular basis.

I’m gonna say this, and I’m sure to get some eye rolls, but I have to say that my hubby agreed: the Grand Canyon wasn’t so “grand” to me. It was more like the Meh, It’s Okay Canyon. Proverbial big hole in the ground. And we were there for four days, so we had plenty of time to get different angles and colors and times of the day. Still, just meh. In fact, this trip was part of a multi-day (I want to say two weeks? I don’t remember) vacation where we visited stops from southern Arizona all the way up to southern Utah, and I would say other stops were more exciting and satisfying (some highlights included the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, BK’s for a Sonoran hot dog, Flagstaff Public Library, Lowell Observatory–where Pluto was discovered, and National Bridges National Monument in Utah–the first certified Dark Sky Park).

That being said, I am glad to check off one more thing on my Things to do Before I Die list, and I was also glad to see the more beautiful and fun parts of the canyon: Horseshoe Bend (technically the beginning of the canyon, but, in my opinion, so much more beautiful than the main part of the canyon that all the tourists visit), the bookstores and libraries, and the historical hotels. Hubby geeked out on all the fossils and geological treasures.

I don’t have much more to say at the moment, and I’m actually feeling kinda lazy, so I’ll just let the pictures and captions speak for themselves.

Gorgeous Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ: in my opinion, the most beautiful part of the canyon
Gorgeous cactus flower
Closeup of Horseshoe Bend’s floor
Grand Canyon watchtower
Watching a Grand Canyon sunset (at Yaki Point, I believe?), with OPI’s Grand Canyon Sunset nail polish on my toes. 🙂


So this doesn’t COMPLETELY describe my experience (I was actually part of the 3% that actually hike INTO the canyon, rather than drive the perimeter loop), but hilarious nonetheless.
Scene from the observation deck.
Early morning (and chilly!) sunrise.
Walking through Bright Angel Trail


Rest stop.
Gorgeous purple plant was a nice break from the warm fall colors of the canyon.
Even though I didn’t bring my dog, I was displeased by this sign. (I’m positive it was there for a very good reason, though!)
Another heart-shaped rock.
Grand Canyon squirrel!

Hope You’re Feeling Grand!


Posted in Written Word Wednesdays

Written Word Wednesday: NaPoWriMo Day 25

Dear Readers,

Soon I plan on writing a post that better addresses my return to the blogging world, but for today’s confines of time and “cares” (substitute more colorful language if you wish) given, this is what I’ve got.

For now, I’ll just come back slowly, with a very very rough draft of a poem in celebration of National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo for short.

Today is technically Day 26 of NaPoWriMo, but the optional prompt fits a poem I wrote over a decade ago, and I wanted to stretch myself a little bit, so I’m using yesterday’s prompt.

To summarize, the prompt asks

to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

So here’s what I’ve got. (Remember, it’s extremely rough.)

This is the beginning of me processing through writing the passing of my dear doggie Dexter. (And yes, he did actually die on an autumn day.) I started about a week after he died, but couldn’t finish, so this was nice and therapeutic for me. Enjoy (or not…I’m not forcing you to do anything), and I’ll be back soon with a happier, lighter topic!

To Unassuming Returns,


The Space of an Autumn Day


My Autumn Day

smells like calm after getting the news of your kidneys failing,

your head leaning on my chest,

breath warm against my face,

long black fur fuzzy and soft beneath my fingers.

Dex and Gem

It smells like the pumpkin patch

where you went through slowly, exhausted from your body not cooperating.

It smells like sudden sadness

When I fed you a hot dog from the stand,

Thinking it might be one of the last times I’d get to treat you.


The fragrance trapped in the space of that cornflower blue jar

is so much more than “crisp red apple,

Green fig, white birch, cedar”

Like it reads on the bottom.

It’s eleven and a half years together

coming to an end,

it’s giving you a modified sponge bath,

half-joking that “I don’t want you to get kicked out of heaven

for being stinky.”

It’s one last hurrah,

Summoning strength to give us the gift

Of a beautiful walk, your spirit strong,

Determined to get through the woods,

Across the street,

Dip your toes in the water,

Fall breeze heralding a storm,

But holding off for three more days.


It’s the scent

of taking you in my arms,

telling you of the wonderful memories we’d collected,

not just during the year,

but during the span of your entire wonderful life,

telling you it’s okay

and that I was right here

while you shook with violent spasms,

most likely convincing myself more than you

not to be afraid.

It’s the scent

of lighting Autumn Day

on what would’ve been your 13th birthday,

remembering your sweet soul,

your head leaning on my chest,

breath warm against my face,

long black fur fuzzy and soft beneath my fingers.


Posted in Hey look! I'm blogging!

Spring Awakening

I’ve never actually seen the musical or read the play, so if you’re here looking for a review on either, I’m sorry to tell you you won’t find that here.

I do, however, feel like I’m coming up for air after pretty much being asleep this winter.

I loathe small talk, but I’m too polite to turn it away. I always try to respond when people ask me the banal, “How’s work?” “What have you been up to?” “Anything new going on?” “How are your parents?” Blah blah blah…  It’s most likely a part of my introverted nature, but every time I am asked one of these questions, I cringe internally.

But you know what? There are a lot of new things going on. In October, my dear 12-year-old doggie made his trip to the Rainbow Bridge. In January, we got a new dog. I also got a new job, and, after about a month of having to carry a fire extinguisher in the passenger seat for fear of my car spontaneously catching on fire, I got a new car.

All this newness came with relatively no pomp or circumstance; just exhaustion and disbelief. I haven’t really given myself to let it sink in that this is my life now.

Now that it is spring, perhaps I can snap out of the sleep I’ve been in last season. I want to do some significant spring cleaning, do more crafting, create and follow through with a vision board for the year, finally start reading and writing again.

And start this blog back up to maybe document it all.


To Starting Fresh (and all the caffeine with which to accomplish it!),


Posted in Uncategorized

Written Word Wednesday: Make Me Flourish,Teach!

When one hasn’t written in a long time, like I haven’t, one tends to rely on prompts to get the writing going again. So that’s what I’m doing today.

I’m actually combining the “Flourish” prompt from Daily Post with the first prompt in the book “642 Things to Write About Me” that I picked up from the bookstore several months back but never got around to filling out. The prompt reads,

Write a letter to the teacher (or coach) who made a difference in your life, asking him or her for help. What are you asking for? Why?

With respect to time, I’m just going to put down what comes to my mind first. I could literally spend hours thinking about all the teachers and coaches that have made a difference in my life, and for that I’m thankful. In fact, I may just take a journal day one of these days and write them all down and see exactly which one I want to focus on.

But for right now, I’m going to focus on an English professor I had at university. I had him for several classes–at least four, I think. He always had innovative writing exercises and projects for us. It wasn’t really until I took his classes that I realized how much I loved writing nonfiction pieces about my life.

What struck me the most was at an end-of-quarter review at his office. He was curious to know if I ever considered getting my writing published. I told him that I never have, because–and this is still the case today–I’m terrified of putting my opinions and mind musings out there for everyone to read or judge. I feel like my writing is such a personal, private thing (yes, I see the irony in keeping a blog here). I told him that as much as I loved writing, my personal goal when it came to writing was to encourage someone else to write and possibly get published (okay; in hindsight, I also see the irony in THAT).

He told me I should strongly reconsider my stance, because he thought I had really interesting and intelligent things to say (since he had read at least 4 quarters’ worth of my writing, it was safe to say that he had a good collection to go by). I was flattered and honestly a bit emotional with him saying that. I never thought of the things I had to say or thought was ever worthwhile, let alone interesting. I didn’t think anybody cared or paid attention to what was on my mind. The whole thing felt overwhelming, to say the least.

I told him I didn’t think I’d reconsider anytime soon, and that’s when he asked if I’d ever consider teaching at the college level. He told me that a lot of the English faculty respected me (again, news to me!) and that I’d make a wonderful colleague. (Don’t worry; it wasn’t flirting or anything like that–get your minds out of the gutter, people.) I said it was funny that he mentioned that, because he wasn’t the first person in my academic career that said I’d make an outstanding educator. I took this information, tucked it away for later, and left that meeting/review with him insisting that I keep in touch should I ever need a reference.


Stupid me, I never took him up on it. Flash forward more than a decade later, and I’m still determined to help someone else get their voice out for the world to hear. I got attached to poetry therapy, made steps to becoming a Registered Poetry Therapist, went to a few National Association of Poetry Therapy conferences, and did a few after-school programs where I’d help to foster the love of writing in youth, most of the time at-risk ones.

But where has that taken me? I’m still not a Registered Poetry Therapist, and I still haven’t really helped anyone get published. I’ve started the path many times, but I have yet to reach the end. So that’s where I need this professor’s help. For the sake of semi-anonymity, I’ll call him Dr. P.

Dear Dr. P:

What seems like a lifetime ago, you helped to convince me that what I wrote was something that mattered. You gave me confidence that I could achieve great things, which I think all teachers should do. You gently pushed me to go beyond my comfort zone and while I didn’t do it, it’s nice to know that someone believed that I would not only succeed, but thrive outside of that comfort zone.

I took off running after graduating, but it seems I have run out of gas. I’ve stopped thinking that what I say matters, and I’ve become unsure that I’ll be able to achieve my dream of helping others find their voice.

So what I’m asking of you is to help me flourish once more. To point me in the direction of the environment that will be best for me. I’m a little lost, and I guess I’m asking you to be my compass, as you have been in the past.

With Sincere Thanks,

To Finding a Way to Flourish in Life,