I Got a 70% in Blogging University

Blogging U.
And I’m 100% okay with that.

As many of you know, I tried my hand at poetry writing a bit ago. I’m always telling people how much I love Blogging University, and I was taking full advantage of the coursework by taking part in the Poetry class.

So here’s the confession: I only did seven out of the ten lessons. And it really bothered me that I didn’t finish.

And here’s the catch: One of the benefits of Blogging University  that I always rave about is the fact that you can do the free course at your own pace. It’s totally okay to skip lessons or fall behind.

But I didn’t listen to myself, and it ate at me. My pre-holiday life was filled with personal and professional deadlines, my energy level was fighting a sugar-induced dip, and my brain was starting to spin towards next year’s goals. I had the lessons on my to-do list, but kept pushing them off until the lateness was getting pretty embarrassing. Headaches ensued, and I considered staying up hours later to catch up. Not an optimal choice.

Then it hit me. I had the freedom to let go. That’s what Blogging University is all about. I can always take the class over, or write those prompts another time. It will still be free so no $ lost. Only wisdom gained.

The fact that I was three lessons behind did not take away from the reality that:

  • I actually wrote poetry for the first time in forever.
  • I learned about different poetry styles.
  • I met some seriously talented writers in my class who are now my role models.
  • I received critiques that made my writing stronger.
  • I was greatly encouraged by the community.
  • And now I have some incredible poetry to read when I relax with coffee and my WordPress Reader.

What an incredible take-away! Yeah, I only hit 70% of the assignments, but I benefitted 100%.

Thanks for the free courses, Blogging University!

See you on the Commons if you are in Blogging 101 in January 🙂

Fallacy – Poetry Day 6

Flat Earth

Today, let’s write poems that are wholly illogical.
Let’s see how miserably we can get reason to fail; both our reason and the reason that guides our readers.

Try not to consider this prompt as a call to nonsense but rather a call to use your good (creative) sense to arrive at firmly misconstrued ends. Surprise yourself!

Flat Earth
Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/a_siegel/2356136219

The earth is flat and all that
I was told by the man in the moon
As he munched on cheese
Imported by mice
Who saw (in blinding belief)
The edge of the world
From their vantage
Atop the clock

This post is part of the Poetry 101 course from the WordPress Blogging University.

I Get to Work in Blogging 101 Again – Yahoo!

Blogging 101Blogging 101 is one of my favorite courses, and we start again in a few days! Woot!

If you have ever wanted to learn how to make a free WordPress blog, this is a great way to do it. Just make sure you sign up before Sunday the 7th.

The WordPress Blogging University offers free month-long classes you can take at your own pace. Each weekday you get an assignment to work on with your own blog. The assignments get you publishing, customizing your site and engaging with other bloggers. It’s really fun!

One of my favorite aspects of the course (aside from meeting lots of awesome bloggers) is that one can take it at their own pace. While assignments are issued–nobody is keeping track of what you do. There are no grades. And since there are no assignments on weekends, you have time to catch up if you want.

For sign-ups just go to Blogging 101: Zero to Hero: June 8 – 26.

Hope to see you in the class 🙂

I’m Old Enough to Wear Purple

…But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

It’s been my dream for a really long time. Ever since a high school English class where we studied the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph. I wanted to wait until my hair turned grey, but I apparently inherited my father’s genes (he didn’t start greying until his 60s), and I got tired of waiting.  I don’t want to wear purple clothes, but playing with hair color is a treat. When I work, the purple ends dance across my shoulders, and it brings me much joy.

by Jenny Joseph

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Taken from the book
When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Edited by Sandra Martz
Papier Mache Press–Watsonville, California 1987

A Testimonial to a Tree

Yellow Transparent Apple Tree
See that beautiful yellow transparent apple tree over the shed, shading our kids as they play?

We almost chopped it down the year we bought our house. That was 20+years and un-countable pies and cans of applesauce ago. We had this large tree right smack where our driveway ought to be, and it didn’t even bear fruit.

Or so we thought.

An elderly couple stopped by and asked if they could continue getting fruit from the tree. Observing our baffled looks, they explained that we had a unique tree in our yard. It was the yellow transparent apple tree and bore fruit every other year. It was the key ingredient in applesauce such as you have never tasted before.

That tree inspired us to chop, peel, and puree and even inspired this high-powered applesauce gadget. When winter winds trapped us indoors, we could pull a frozen pie out and pop it in the oven. The aroma and slightly bitter taste brought back memories of blue skies and picnics up in the branches of this beautiful flowering treasure.

Two years ago we came home from a trip to my mother-in-law’s and discovered that the tree was so heavy with fruit that a giant limb fell. It was a sad moment for all. But time went on, and the tree still showered us with enough fruit to keep us super-busy at canning time.

This Tuesday morning was pretty uneventful. My husband and I were were at my mother-in-law’s house once again while the kids held down the fort at home. The phone rang, and when I answered, my son said, “Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we are all fine. The bad news is that the apple tree fell during the storm last night.”

That tree gifted us right to the end. It blew down in the sweet-scented pile of its own blossoms. While it could have hit cars, the neighbor’s house, our house and/or our shed with kayak and canoe on top, it didn’t. It slightly scraped the neighbor’s house (and she didn’t care at all, bless her heart), and fell without damaging anything. I took pictures just in case we needed records of this in the future then put my phone away and moved on with life.

Later in the day, my phone chirped, telling me it put together a Life Events reel. I giggled a little at the dramatic impact music the device threw upon the saga of our fallen tree. But as I reflect, I do believe the phone was right. It was a life event. That tree gave us food and beauty, drew us closer to neighbors, gave our kids a hangout spot when they were younger, shaded our yard, and it will now provide warmth for my husband’s studio this winter. Thanks, tree.

Introducing Henry

IMG_20150420_231244978Once upon a very real time back in late January/early February, a glimpse of warmth appeared in our home. Outside winds blew, prolonging the brutal dip of our temps. But inside, a flurry of tiny little wings reminded us of warmth. It was sweet and endearing for about twenty seconds before thoughts of disintegrating clothes and blankets flashed through my mind.

A moth invasion! Kill it was my instinct. Before Hudi stopped me.

“Don’t kill Henry!”

Say what? The moth has a name? A pet? How can I kill it when my 15-year-old had already named it? And how much damage could a little moth do? My moth-murderous hands dropped.

Two weeks later I was re-evaluating the situation. Henry had a penchant for dive-bombing my face as I innocently walked through doorways and around corners. Henry also liked to share my evening drinks. Not cool.

After an incident where I narrowly avoided Henry’s rapid swoop toward my open mouth, I had enough. “Dude, I have to kill Henry.” I told my son.

He agreed.

Then another Henry appeared, and another. The Henry pictured here is, according to a very non-scientific guestimate, Henry the 128th. Where were they coming from?

IMG_20150428_181204424Friends shared their own moth stories, and we learned that Henrys can originate from birdseed (nope), furniture
(great, we had gotten a new-to-us couch last summer), and clothing (nothing seemed eaten yet). Some friends had lots of Henrys flying around at once (the most we had at one time was two).

As it usually goes, one day when we weren’t even thinking about Henry, Chris discovered the moth origin. A bag of rice we had never opened.

Now it’s warmer, and we can offer the last few Henrys a catch-and-release option. It’s nice knowing that the dive-bombing days are nearly over. Part of me is going to miss Henry a bit, though. Henry provided an interesting twist to our long, drawn-out winter.

A Random Letter in my Path

You stumble upon a random letter on the path.You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible. (75 words even)

I saw a letter in my path. Curiosity overcame my respect for your privacy. I read it, and now I know I need to return this treasure. Who are you? How do I find you? I now know your name, and you must have come by here recently. Weather hasn’t left its mark yet. Finding you will be my newest adventure in life. I’m off now to get see if you are on social media.

My Buddy – Who Was – Yet Still Is

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Well, he’s still part of my life, just not in a physical sense.

I make my living using technology, and one of my greatest teachers/supporters/technological playmates was a quadriplegic named Buddy.

Buddy went to school with my sister, who is three years older than I. They were friends, and I remember the day when I learned that he was injured during a football game (he was in 11th grade). He was paralyzed from the neck down.

TBH, I’m not certain when he and I became friends. Or the moment when he became more family than just friend. All I know is that by the time my son CJ was born, we (myself, my husband and Buddy) all jokingly called him CJB (with the B standing for Buddy, of course).

Back in the day of the landline, we would talk for hours. He made it through college with a degree in something computer-related, and it fascinated me. In the early 1990s, it was Buddy who got me chatting in IRC, and it was Buddy who introduced me to the magic of Dragon Naturally Speaking.

I started to learn code after Buddy died, and I landed my dream job with Automattic four years after he left our planet. But I still find myself mentally sharing my technological successes with him, and I will always thank him for his part in my journey.

When I go to WordCamps and see classes focused on Accessibility, I can’t help but think of him. How thrilled he would have been to see the Internet open for people with disabilities like his.

I was at an amusement park the day I found out Buddy died. As a non-crier, I resented the tears that flowed, but I could imagine Buddy laughing at me. Laughing in a body that was totally free. He didn’t complain to us, and he was always filled with hope and positive, encouraging messages. But I know his reality was far from ideal. I’m glad he is free now.

I miss you every day, Buddy. And I thank you every day, too.