Fresh Pens and Paper

The Target commercial is already playing in my head… “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

It’s that time of year again. The displays are stocked with pens and pencils and markers. Shelves are filled with papers, spirals, and notebooks galore.

Even as an childless adult, it makes me smile to see back-to-school supplies. Shopping for supplies was one of my favorite things to do all the way through even my college years.

I remember one year, in middle school I believe, picking up a waterfall themed trapper keeper. It was covered with greenery and bright pink flowers. It was one of my favorites.

I am such a nerd. I still find reasons to stock up this time of year…pens, spirals, even little zippered pen holders now and then. It reminds me that cooler weather and fall is coming with its change of seasons… Soon it will be time to bust out the deep purple, garnet and orange shirts. I wish I could say sweaters, but, you know… Florida…

What’s your favorite time of the year?


Back to Nature – Part One

The wiper blades squealed across the windshield of their car. They didn’t have much choice when they landed at the airport following their 6-hour flight; at least it had four wheels, but not much more. The rain poured as they wound through the winding roads of the mountains. Finally, they arrived at the campgrounds, and a small break in the rain allowed them to check in with the main office.

Suzy was relieved they had booked a cabin instead of roughing it in a tent for the trip. With the keys in hand, they found their way to cabin 17, located on a roundabout. Inside the roundabout was a circle of chairs around a firepit. It looked to be a nice place to relax during their stay.

Rich parked the car and they hopped out and ran for the front entry, trying to avoid the raindrops. Suzy put the key into the lock, but it wouldn’t unlock. She looked at the keys, and frowned as she turned to Rich. “They gave us the keys to Cabin 11. Are you sure it’s supposed to be 17?”

Rich smiled, and emphatically said yes. He pulled out his cellphone, but couldn’t get a signal to call the office. “Wait here, I’ll go get this straightened out.”

Suzy smiled and kissed him on the cheek before he headed back to the car. “Don’t be long, it’s a little chilly.” She took a seat on one of the Adirondack chairs, rubbing her arms to keep warm, and let out a sigh as the rental car pulled away.

She looked out over the circle of cabins. Cabin 11 was just across the way. She laughed, thinking to herself that they probably are in 11 anyway. But, she stayed put.

Families and couples came through the area, donning various rain gear. Many were enjoying the sprinkling sky instead of avoiding the raindrops. Suzy watched a mother and child walking up the road, the little girl jumping in every puddle as they walked by. Suzy just smiled to herself over the scene.

Then, a man in a rain jacket turned the corner and started climbing up the stairs to the cabin where she sat without looking up.

Suzy spoke up, “Excuse me. Is this your cabin?”

He looked up at her, a shocked look came across his face as he removed the hood from his head.

She saw his face and froze, then stumbled over her own words. “Wow! Hi Steve. What are you doing here?”

Steve stared at her, hard to believe she was standing in front of him. “Well, we’re here on vacation. This is our cabin. How did you…”

Suzy interrupted him. “Rich apparently got our cabin number wrong. He thought we were in 17. He’s back at the office straightening it out.”

Suzy was visibly upset. She didn’t expect to run into Steve here. “Mind if I wait here out of the rain until he gets back? Then we’ll be off to the right cabin.”

“Sure, no problem. I have to get some things for the girls.” With that, Steve headed into the cabin, closing the door behind.

Suzy bit her fingernails. She wasn’t even a nail biter. She wasn’t ready to see Steve even after all these years. She paced back and forth on the porch, waiting for the rain to lift, or Rich to come back, or both. She wanted off that porch as quickly as possible. Finally, she saw the rental car round the corner. She made a beeline for the car, climbing in.

Rich looked at her. He realized she was shaken. “What’s wrong?”

She calmed herself. “Cabin 17 has other guests. Which cabin are we in?”

Rich didn’t believe that would cause her to be upset; he stared at her.

“I had a run in with one of them. Just,” she paused, “Just, let’s get to our cabin.”

Rich continued around the roundabout. They were in a cabin directly opposite from 17, in cabin 11. “Sorry I got the cabin number wrong. Are you going to be okay?”

Suzy wiped the rain off her cheek. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. We just should avoid the folks in 17, okay?”

Rich looked at her. “Do we know them?”

Suzy’s shoulders drooped. “I do.”


Synesthesia Overload

Voices jar my head, feeling like flashing lights.

I squint my eyes at each inflection,

The pain makes my brain throb.

My eyes need to focus, but the screen is a blur.

I just want to escape the noise of this call.

The voices drone on, one stab after another.

Quiet comes find me quick, only a moment.

While others think. But soon it resumes.

The waves in my periphery start again.

Holding my head, listening with eyes closed.

Flashing patterns still fill my sight.

The end of the day cannot come soon enough.



She had a vision, a thought of beauty.

Slowly, she worked on her canvas,

Not very skilled at holding a brush

it would never bring in a dime,

But she had a vision she needed out.

So she painted the background,

Trying to get the colors right

Should it be light or dark sands?

Then she showed it to him,

He was supportive and kind

So she continued to push forward,

Adding a figure upon the sand,

To be dressed in gauzy white

“Give her big boobs!”

It started to spiral, he was no longer sincere.

She worked on, adding the dress, the face,

The shading and brown locks on her head.

She was close to done,

knowing finishing touches were next

told him about adding her hair,

And he turned it vulgar once more.

Her face saddened, the spirit she had

For the work disappeared in that instant.

Deflated, she let the canvas dry,

Packed up the paints, and put them away.

Other things needed her attention anyway.

poetry, writing


The man frantically waved at the cars to stop.

A limo, a town car, and a hearse pulled out.

The other cars paused, a sign of respect,

For the grieving family mourning their dead.

The line of cars continued, at least 30 deep,

As the processional moved down the road

Then turned down a side rural street.

Off to say their final goodbyes.

poetry, writing


She dances across the golden dune,

her bare legs, lightly kissed by the sun.

Her body, wrapped in translucent white silk.

She extends her hands to the skies,

fabric floating freely in the breeze,

appearing as if she has wings.

Her raven hair rides the wind,

and dark eyes pierce through.

A picture of beauty and grace,

upon hot desert sands.

poetry, writing


A young lad or lass, hard to tell, frozen in time.

They watch over the garden by day and by night.

Their icy gaze chill all who approach,

Many move on, disrupted by the sight.

But to others, the figure appears serene,

especially when sitting in the light

Knees tucked up grasped by clasped hands,

The figure looks so right,

Hidden amongst the flowers.

Waiting on midnight’s showers.

Inspired by a statue found in the Temperate House at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Belfast, Northern Ireland

poetry, writing


She walked with downcast eyes

Everywhere she went.

Her lips were not curved,

Neither a smile nor a frown.

She moved with attitude

Emanating from her soul.

But she had been marred by life

And her story was sad and beautiful

All at the same time.

However, she kept it inside,

Letting demons feast on her soul,

While struggling to find her light.

Unable and unwilling to ask for help.

Pushing away those who loved her so.

Will she learn before its too late?


Snowy Owl Lane – New Year

Part Five

Suzy brushed off her boots on the front porch, knocking off the clumps of icy sleet and snow. White crisp snow blanketed the meadow and their drive. The skies were gray with winter.

She looked back down the drive, relieved the snows had waited until their holiday guests left. They were now snowed in. Suzy didn’t mind one bit.

She opened the storm door they had installed to replace the screen door, then slipped out of her boots and stood on the threshold. Slowly, she opened up the front door, trying not to wake the napper on the sofa.

He’d had a long night writing out all the thoughts which filled his mind the night before. There were days she would do the same, staying up late or waking up early with a mind swirling with imagery or thoughts, dreams and visions.

She softly closed the door and made her way to the kitchen. Quiet and kitchen didn’t usually go together, but she needed to warm herself up, so she made herself a cup of cocoa, then slid into one of the dining table chairs and opened her tablet.

Now it was her turn to write on this quiet afternoon on the first day of the new year. She looked out the window towards the frozen stream. A blue jay sat on their outdoor table. She loved watching birds, really any kind. She was amazed at how they could fly with so little effort.

She often found inspiration to write in small things, flowers, birds, nature. Today, however, she sought inspiration from the history of their home. She picked up a journal and opened it. The cover was inscribed with Sylvia Miller’s initials, and the year, 1918. She opened the journal and began to read:

Today is the first day of 1918. Last year was a rough year for us, but Hirsch keeps us strong. My hope is 1918 brings us much prosperity and joy.

It’s snowing this New Year’s day. I get lost in the beauty of freshly fallen snow. There is a peace which only comes this time of year.

Mary selected a suitor to marry. I do hope Jon is a good match for sweet Mary. Jon was so nervous when he asked Hirsch for her hand. Jon comes from a good family, a hard working one from down the way.

We worry though that Jon may need to serve in the great war. I hope it doesn’t happen for a while if he does; we’d love to hold the wedding in the meadow for Mary when the weather is warmer and the flowers in bloom. She will make a beautiful bride.

Suzy looked up from the journal and looked around their quiet home. The tree was still up from the holidays, twinkling lights making the living room seem magical. The snow outside started falling again and Suzy’s mind spun up a wintery tale. Her fingers went to work on the keyboard with such speed, it seemed her fingers were chasing the story her mind was spinning.

An hour passed in the blink of an eye. Steve woke up from his nap and looked toward the dining area. Suzy was almost in silhouette, the afternoon’s winter sun streaming through the westward facing window. He gazed at her for several minutes, amazed at how she could have such concentration. Her mouth twitched up as she worked through the plot of her story. It could be an unpleasant expression, but he loved when she was so engrossed. He knew being consumed by your imagination could be cathartic for the heart and mind.

Suzy finally came out of her mind with a blink and a shift in her seat. She felt like she was being watched and slowly turned her head. “Good afternoon, sleepy head,” she cooed.

Steve just looked at her, one of his come here stares. Suzy’s story had come to a stopping point and she looked forward to the break. She clicked save and set the tablet aside, then walked over and sat on the floor, next to the sofa, resting her arm along his chest and leaning her head against his heart.

“Did you have a good visit with all our family?” she asked, looking at him.

“Of course, but I really wasn’t ready for your mom. Wow.” Steve replied.

“Yep, I know. Thank you for being patient. I’m like her in some ways, but completely not like her in others. I think the girls had a good time though. Do you?” A little squinting around Suzy’s eyes popped up when she asked.

“Yes, I think their visit went really well. It’s nice how they have warmed up while they were here. See, I told you to relax and not worry.” Steve paused a moment, looking for words. Finally, he just asked, “What would you think if either of the girls asks to have their wedding here?”

Suzy’s eyes lit up and she smiled ear to ear. “Definitely! I’ll do anything I can to make each of their days special. You know that, right?”

He shook his head yes as her fingers caressed his cheek. He took her hand and kissed it, then gave her the look…The look that melted her heart every time. He pulled her up on the sofa atop him and they rang in the new year again.

It’s going to be a good year.



The smell of fresh baked vanilla cake filled the air. Sally pulled the two round cake pans out of the oven and set the cakes aside to cool. It was a recipe she found in an old cook book.

She picked up the container of fresh strawberries they picked at the u-pick yesterday and pulled out the prettiest berries. She rinsed them off, patted them dry, and set them aside. Then she took the rest of them and poured them into the colander, rinsed them thoroughly then set the colander on a towel to drain.

Sally then pulled out a sharp paring knife and went to work hulling and quartering a bulk of the berries, then tossed the berry quarters into a bowl nearby. She poured sure-jell, sugar, and the quartered berries into a large pot on the stove. The mixture cooked down and thickened, filling the house with the smell of strawberry fields.

Once the berries finished cooking, about fifteen minutes later, she set the mixture aside to cool. Freezer jam containers stood by, ready to receive the luscious preserves just cooked up. She snuck a spoonful once it cooled just enough to handle; it tasted close to her granddad’s recipe.

Next she took the room temperature butter she set out earlier and powdered sugar along with the Madagascar vanilla and set it by the mixer. She whipped the butter, then slowly added in the powdered sugar. She added in the vanilla when it was time and finished whipping them together to make a beautiful buttercream frosting.

By the time she had all the components ready, the cakes had cooled. She pulled out a cake stand, covered a cardboard base with foil, then set it with the first layer on the stand. Next she leveled the top of the first cake, placing the crumbs into a side bowl.

She spooned some of the frosting into a piping bag and carefully built a dam along the edge of the first layer of cake. Then she poured some of the preserves which were cooled down into a small bowl and then spooned from the bowl some of the preserves onto the center of the cake. Sally spread the preserves on the cake until they covered the top completely to the icing edge. She then inverted the second layer out to a separate plate and leveled that layer, then carefully stacked it on the first.

She turned her attention to the fresh made preserves which remained, pouring them into the containers sitting nearby and sealing them. Once they cooled down a little more, one would go in the fridge, while the other into the freezer for later. Now on to ice the cake.

She picked up the piping bag and generously covered the top then the sides of the cake with icing. Next she carefully smoothed out the icing. She switched out the tip of the piping bag to a decorative tip then piped a scalloped edge along the bottom of the cake where it met the platter.

She took the the beautiful strawberries she set aside and placed them randomly atop the cake, leaving an area to scribe a small message. She then took a large dollop of remaining icing and placed it in a bowl and mixed in a little food coloring. She placed this icing into another piping bag fitted with a small tip then with it wrote atop the cake ‘Happy Birthday!