Obligation Moon

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Another sleepless night for me,

why won’t my mind set me free?

Awfulized and analyzed,

chewed over and magnified.

 

A fear of failure or a desire to win,

what drives my brain to these sins?

I turn things over and over in my head,

when sleep is really what I need in my bed.

 

The pups are up and in my seat,

looking concerned, but still wanting a treat.

My husbands asleep and snoring away,

he’ll wake refreshed to start his day.

 

I stress, worry and fret

about things of little importance, albeit.

Calm eludes me, no bliss to be found,

believe me I’ve been looking around.

 

I stare at the moon and what do I see,

another obligation looking back at me.

A wasted life will be my fate,

if I don’t get some of these things off my plate.

 

Drink some tea and pop a pill,

these anxieties even they aren’t able to kill.

Sleeps elusive for a worried mind,

tomorrows another chance to turn this tide.

 

Why do I brood, worry and stew,

with my lust for control I guess it’s my due.

It’s another sleepless night for me,

so I write this poem while I sip my tea.

Maya

Maya Angelou passed away yesterday and sadness fell over my soul. I wanted to write something or offer a poem to honor her but all my drafts seemed unworthy. She was such a singular human being with an amazing voice and a full life lived.

A friend of mine shared this from author James Baldwin’s Facebook page and it blew me away.

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Photo: Maya Angelou and James Baldwin in the 1960s (From James Baldwin Facebook Page)

Maya wrote the poem “When Great Trees Fall” when James Baldwin died, and read the poem at his funeral.

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Photo: Amiri Baraka, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison at James Baldwin’s funeral, December 1987

“When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

She existed and we can be and be better for she existed.

 

Thank you to Random House for maintaining a Facebook Page for the wonderful James Baldwin.

Bookcrossing Booty Has Finally Arrived

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Bookcrossing Tools

My book-plates and other BookCrossing tools finally arrived and I am so excited to release my first book. I couldn’t understand why it was taking so long, until the package arrived from BookCrossing Europe in the Netherlands. I thought it was coming from Sandpoint, Idaho where the site was started and runs.

I am now trying to decide which book should get the honor of my first release. I am considering “A Girl Named Zippy” one of my favorite books and the first one I reviewed here at Random & Rhyme but there are so many others that I love too.

Do you have a suggestion for the book that I should release first?

Melting

gorgonzola-cheese

The rind of brie is so bitter,

the tang of sharp cheddar I like better.

Oh there is blue and gorgonzola,

but gouda is best to console you.

Feta, camembert and romano

have nothing on the best asiago.

A double G or havarti,

they’re just what’s needed to start the party.

On the counter to age and ripen,

they’ll pair nicely with that pear and melon.

So raise your glass of Chablis and taste that stilton,

because this ode to cheese is now melting.

My First Real Job

My first real job was as a berry picker in the Skagit Valley In Washington state. I started when I was 9 years old picking raspberries for a husband and wife that had a small farm that was just about a half-mile from our home. I was one of the few white kids in the field picking berries to make a little money for school clothes hanging out with my sister and having some fun.

But after the second half-assed day on the job, not picking my row thoroughly, Darrel the owner walked down my row before assigning another one to me and taught be a very important lesson. He spoke to me like an adult and explained how my low quality work impacted his life and the life of his family as well as took money out of the pockets of other adults working in the field along side of me to support their families. He told me I needed to decide if I wanted to be a quality worker and stay employed as a picker in his field or if I wanted to go home.

I decided I wanted to stay. I also believe I worked harder for him because he had treated me with respect, told me my options and let me choose. I worked in the fields for him for three more summers, each year getting better at the job and earning more. I would leave the strawberry fields of Sakuma Brothers as soon as the raspberries in Darrels fields were ready to pick.

A recent report on NPR about Anthropologist, Seth Holmes, who spend a year and a half working with migrant berry pickers had this to say about the work in his new book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies, Migrant Farmworkers in the United States.

Picking Berries At Speed, Duration Required Hurts The Body

Holmes says he often felt a lot of pain in his knees, hips and back while picking.

“It always seemed like whichever position felt the best, I was the slowest at picking, so I always felt like I had to pick in the most painful position, bent over with both knees as far as I could, in order to be as fast as I could,” Holmes said. “And at one point, I wrote in my journal, ‘This feels like pure torture.’”

It was very hard work, sore back, sore knees, sunburns, scratches from the needles on the bushes, I still have scars. My three summers of hard field work turned into 3 more seasons working in his small processing plant, standing on the line picking out the bad ones, dumping flats in to the clear freezing cold water to clean them for the line, preparing berries for jam by adding the exact right amount of sugar to the berries to get the ratio correct, packing the perfect berries for shipment overseas in special little boxes.

Every summer started with a stomach ache too, because the first day I would eat so many of the perfect, yummy berries that inevitably I ended up with a belly ache by the end of the day. But, oh it was so worth it. There is still nothing like a fresh Washington state strawberry or raspberry, no sugar needed.

My work paid for my school clothes each year, my first car (a used 1973 VW 412), school fees, band camp and any fun I had. Those summer jobs helped me in so many ways: it gave me a work ethic, helped me understand the economy of money and helped me appreciate people from other cultures. The migrant Mexican workers were the first foreigners I ever met and all of them that I worked beside over those six summers were kind, funny, hardworking and an inspiration to a young impressionable kid about taking care of your family, working hard and enjoying your life.

A summer job and responsibility should be on every kids resume before they graduate highschool.

Did you have a summer job as a kid? Do you expect your kids to work in the summer?

 

A Wasted Day, What Can I Say

A wasted day, what can I say,

to be productive was not my way.

A rest, a stop, a nap, a talk,

a glance at the clock, but no where to walk.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

with no energy, no not even to play.

A drift to the kitchen for a cup of tea

and a glance out the window to see.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

I’m ready to go, but just want to stay.

Up, then down, and around and around,

to and fro and no where to go.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

I am feeling so sad, but wish to be gay.

A sigh, a slump and a shrug,

but still there’s no one to hug.

 

A wasted day, what can I say,

my mood it just can’t be swayed.

But if I’m lucky, tomorrow will come

and my wasted day will be all done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning Our Summer Road Trip

IMG_0359 Nothing is better than a summer road trip!

I am starting our plans for our road trip to California, this will be our third annual meandering down the west coast. The anticipation is starting to build and I can hardly wait to get the dogs in the car, load up the iPod with some great tunes, fill the cooler with snacks and drinks and hit the open road.

Our Santa Cruz Beach

View out our window at our little place in the sun.

We have ended up at least in part at little place near the beach in Santa Cruz where the dogs are welcome, the beautiful beach is right outside our door, we have a little kitchen to prepare meals and an awesome burrito place just 3 blocks away.

Our route has changed the last two years, the first trip involved a trip to Arizona to visit my grandfather at his “snow bird” location in Sun City West near Phoenix, a stop in trendy Palm Springs the same weekend as the Coachella music festival (there were some sites and a crazy price for a bare-bones motel in a sold out town – sometimes timing is everything) a stop in Northwest Portland with a visit to my very favorite bakery in the world, the St. Honore’ Boulangerie for a yummy Croque Monsieur and some pastries and bread for the road.

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Our last trip was more of a direct trip to our spot in Santa Cruz with a short stop in Medford, Oregon. We ran into a couple at one of the rest stops in Oregon, they were driving an older VW Eurovan(so jealous) and traveling with their dog. Our dogs had to smell each other, the way that only dogs do, we smiled and said hello and headed back out on the road. We ran into them again the next time we stopped to let the dogs walk and take a break. We laughed and decided to introduce our selves, they were traveling back to their home in Santa Cruz from visiting relatives that lived less than 20 miles from us. Small world. We visted, shared business cards, let the dogs sniff and play for a few minutes and then headed back to the road.

Meeting people on the road is one of my favorite things about a trip, but I have to admit my husband is much better at that (if that is something that can be rated) than I am. He can strike up a conversation with just about anyone about just about anything. I am a bit more shy and striking up a conversation with a stranger is not an easy thing for me, I guess I feel like I am intruding on their lives or maybe that I just have nothing of note to offer them. But when it does happen, I really do love it.

As I begin poring over maps to plan some possible routes and look for dog friendly hotels along the way; my spirit rises, I feel giddy inside and am back to being a kid in school watching the calendar slowly click by waiting for the day school will be out for the summer.

Do you have any summer travel plans or dog friendly hotels to recommend on the west coast?