Monday, June 17, 2019

Poetry Discussion: How it Works

This post is for Terra, who asked.

The Poetry Discussion Group I attend is one of the Burlington Writers' Workshops events. It's open to anyone with interest is discussing poetry, but since space is limited and also to facilitate good discussion there is a sign up procedure and the group is limited to 12.

The woman who leads the group sends out a theme to those who are signed up for the Saturday morning (10:30 to 12:30) discussion. Themes can be things like celebrations or sense of place, etc. Participants select a poem by any poet that is  related to that theme in whatever way is personally meaningful. The poems are read out loud and whoever selected the piece can talk about why it was picked and others can respond with their own reactions. It's a good way to be exposed to new poets and different ways of interpreting a poem.

After everyone has read, the leader gives a prompt and we spend about 20 minutes writing. At the end anyone who wants to share what they have written can, but it is not a requirement or even an expectation.

There is always tea, coffee, and water available. Sometimes there are cookies.

I enjoy this group. The only downside is that finding a parking space in downtown Burlington can be the pits. I need to learn to take the bus instead of thinking I can just hop in my car. It would be far cheaper for one thing and probably less aggravating than driving around in constant road construction.

Sunday, June 16, 2019


It's hard to believe that it is already half way through the month of June. The official start of summer will be here in a week. Good thing I finished spring cleaning yesterday.

There are so many things that I would like to be doing this summer and it seems as though I don't even have the time to adequately plan for anything. I have decided to volunteer at the town library here in my "new" town so I will be working on the annual book sale by sorting the donations that come in before the July 4th town extravaganza that includes the library book sale.

I have my group meditation practice on Sunday nights, yoga classes on Monday and sometimes Thursdays. Poetry workshop is also on Thursday night twice a month and there is a poetry discussion group that I attend one Saturday a month.
I meet with the group of women (some of whom are former work colleagues) to make cards. And there are the friends and family I meet for socializing, walking, talking and other entertainment events on a regular basis. I barely have time to read anymore! My gentleman friend is very understanding and seems glad that I enjoy my life.

I do miss my line dancing class from Florida. There doesn't seem to be such an opportunity here in VT although I did just see an ad for adult ballet lessons. I had ballet lessons as a child and my father had rather unkind things to say about my gracefulness. My maternal grandfather had hopes of turning me into a famous ballerina but he died when I was three or four so he didn't have to face that disappointment. My paternal grandfather taught me to polka -- don't have much in the way of opportunity to practice that lately either! I like to dance even if I am not so good at it.

Isn't there some expression about jack of all trades, mater of none, Captain Obvious?

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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Trip to Boston

I had to go to Boston for a medical follow-up. Turns out I could have totally skipped it since all it accomplished is that "we will see" in September. I was not planning on another trip.

I once read that the streets of Boston were designed by a civil engineer (he was Italian in the story I read, but let's not perpetuate ethnic stereotypes) who was pondering a city layout as he enjoyed his dinner and a glass of chianti. He was so engrossed in thinking about this project that he jumped up to spread his drafting papers on the table and managed to knock the plate of spaghetti onto the floor. As he looked down on the mess, a tangled sprawl of pasta -- voila! an inspiration was born!
And if you have ever tried to navigate the streets of Boston, you could actually credit this as a true story.

You can buy this stainless steel laser cut image on Etsy:

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I have no affiliation with the site, but other cities are available as well. It's really pretty cool.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Cooking School

Cooking School -- that's where I need to go for remedial instruction.

I mean I seem to be a real cooking slump right now. It's not an aversion to cooking. At least I don't think it is. It may be a lack of attention. Perhaps I need to have a more meditative, mindful attitude toward meal preparation.

I made a quiche yesterday and when I was putting it in the oven, I spilled the custard onto the oven door. I like a custardy quiche so uncooked it is quite liquid.
Well, since the oven was preheated, the egg mixture instantly cooked onto the oven door.

Today, the very next day, I wanted baked potato. For some reason I forgot to give it a good poke with a fork so when I foolishly stuck a fork in it to test doneness --
BAM! Potato explosion.

What a ness!!

Going out to eat tomorrow night sounds like a plan!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Well, May is coming to an end. So far we have had rain 21 out of the 28 days. Everything is very green -- it is the Green Mountain State after all. The spring blooms are coming and going in their timely succession so it has been beautiful to look at, but often wet. And often cold. I has the gas heater going tonight and a sweater over my sweatshirt.

I do remember heading out for a Memorial Day weekend camping trip, 1993 as a matter of fact. We went back in the house to get winter jackets because it was snowing. And, yes, we went anyway and it wasn't too, too bad.

Growing up Memorial Day was always a trip to Pennsylvania where my grandparents are buried. We would usually be making the trip at night after my dad got home from work. There was a trip to the florist the next day and then making the rounds of the cemeteries.

At school we would have to memorize the Gettysburg Address and then walk from the school to the village green where there was a memorial. These days it seems forbidden to recognize any kind of holiday in schools. I'm glad I grew up when I did. I know there were plenty of things going on then that were not great, but being a kid was okay.

I have most of my doctor visits out of the way. My eye pressure is good and cataracts will go for at least another six months. My teeth are polished and clean. I did need to have a cavity refilled but it took less than a half hour and the Novocain did not make my face swell up so that was okay. My doctor did some blood tests but was not sure what is up with my white fingernails so if it gets worst I will get a referral to a dermatologist (or perhaps a nutritionist. I distinctly hear my mother's voice warning me to eat more eggs whenever she noticed white spots on my nails. She would be force feeding me eggs if she saw them now!)

My mother did have her opinions. She was actually ahead of her time on a lot of things and more and more I realize she was a lot smarter than people/I gave her credit for.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


I belong to a writers' workshop in Vermont and a private writing group (three writer friends who meet in each other's homes to discuss our writing and offer each other support) and feedback). I also participate in a poetry group when I am in Florida where we discuss our poetry and offer each other support. I consider myself very fortunate to have the people in these groups in my life. Some of them have become true and wonderful friends.

The Writers' Workshops host all kinds of opportunities for writers -- fiction writing, creative non-fiction, song writing, all kinds of groups. I join poetry groups, whether workshopping our own work or discussing the work of known poets. I always learn something. Gotta keep learning!

Today I spent my Saturday in a revision workshop. I know that would not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was an excellent way to spend a day. I have ambitions of being a poet when I grow up.
I thought it was interesting that I was the only left handed person in the group of ten today. Just something I noticed.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Quiet Week

My first week back from Florida was extremely stressful and hectic. I was little more than a spectator, but it still left me exhausted.  This second week was needed. I spent time with family and relaxed. I got to a couple of yoga classes, a poetry discussion, and a group meditation. I caught my breath.

The week coming up is all about appointments. I will go to the dentist on Monday, the eye doctor on Wednesday, and my primary care physician on Thursday.

My PCP is retiring at the end of this month and moving out of state to be closer to her grandchildren. I am happy for her but not at all excited about having to find a new doctor. One of the minor annoyances of aging -- doctors retire. So now do I look for someone young and starting out or someone who is very experienced and might retire in what remains of my life time? Perhaps I am just overthinking things? (Ha! Not that I ever do that.)

My eye doctor is annoying: Your eyes are very healthy; see you in two years. Your eyes are very healthy but you have that little wrinkle in your retina; see you in one year. Your eyes are very healthy but we're getting close to talking about cataracts and your pressure is up; see you in six months. I focus on the healthy part but the six month thing does bother me.

My doctor's appointment is because my fingernails are turning white. It's disconcerting, one, and Dr. W.W. Web has nothing good to say about it, two. Of course I can also hear my mother's voice telling me I need to eat more protein. I felt foolish calling the office to say I might be in liver failure because my fingernails are turning white (it could be a vitamin thing) but the intake worker didn't laugh or tell me to stay off the internet. He just gave me an appointment. At least I will get to say good-bye to my doctor. She will be missed.
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