Category: Writing


One evening this week, I opened up my back door to let my dogs outside and I was hit with an incredibly wonderful aroma. Soft, sweet, and intoxicating, little white flowers bloomed by the hundreds on my jasmine vines. The amazing thing is there were no flowers on either of my vines earlier that afternoon. It’s like they all decided to pop open at once and surprise me!

The aroma was so enchanting, I decided to open all my windows in the back of the house. Jasmine wafted through the house all evening and its continued to linger in the air all week long. Aside from the springy smell, the vines themselves have double in size this year and now wrap around patio roof posts. After watching them struggle this winter, its so nice to see them thriving.

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Jasmine vine gone wild!

The sunflower is another interesting story. Our Monster Sunflower sprouted two more stems with buds and this one bloomed this week. The other one broke off due to an odd angle and the weight of the bud.  The main bloom was quite small (as expected), but weirdly enough it grew larger after all the petals fell off. That’s a story I’ll have to share once it stops growing!

Over on the plant rack, my seedlings are getting so big! While my vegetable starters are almost ready to go into the garden (probably this weekend), my flower tray holds the biggest surprise. I’ve never been very successful in growing any sort of flower except a wildflower mix in the yard, so it was really exciting to see several sprouts. In particular, four out five nasturtium seeds came up! This week, they graduated to a larger pot, along with another unidentified flower.

The garden rabbit took a break from sniffing the jasmine to help me celebrate graduation day . . .

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I hope these guys keep growing!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Poem A Day Challenge: April 11-12

The April Poem A Day Challenge is still going strong! So far, I haven’t a missed a day! Hope you’re enjoying National Poetry Month!

Here’s two more of my entries in the challenge:

April 11, 2014
Prompt: Create a statement and make it your title. Then, write a poem that responds to it or expands upon it.

For A Limited Time Only

Cue the countdown,
days are numbered
Fences are few,
so don’t hold back

Get up and stand,
rather than kneel
With just one shot,
everything counts

Toes to the edge,
dare to look down
Take a deep breath,
inhale the sky

Inspiration: I saw an infomercial with the title phrase and then I thought about how I always put my toes to the edge of a cliff, (seriously!).

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April 12, 2014
Prompt: Write a city poem.

A concret forest
replaces trees and fields
The roots go missing

Inspiration: My mother recently found out urban sprawl will be invading her rural ranch. Such a sad occurrence needed a poem.

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Happy Poeming!

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c.b.w. 2014

If you are participating in the April Poem A Day Challenge and are posting your daily entries on your blog, please leave the link in the comments below. That way we can all see what you’re up to and enjoy your poetic lines. If you are a reader who has visited a blog with some great poetry pass your find along!

Meanwhile, here’s another round of my recent entries in the Poem A Day Challenge:

April 9, 2014
Prompt: Write a shelter poem.

The rain is sudden
Haven of canopy trees
Nature’s umbrella

Inspiration: The prompt reminded me of a day in London when I took shelter under some large trees to escape a sudden rain shower, (What Londoners Do When It Rains).

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April 10, 2014
Prompt: Write a future poem.

Seconds unticked,
moments unlived
Fluid clockwork,
persuades the Fates

Forward motion,
belies the present
Always seeking,
never breathing

Still the voices,
lure the silence
Time unspent,
hours undone

Inspiration: I don’t know. This came straight from the muse’s mouth.

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Happy poeming!

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c.b.w. 2014

Poem A Day Challenge: April 7-8

I hope you’re digging National Poetry Month as I’ll be posting quite a bit of poetry this week. Thanks to the April Poem A Day Challenge, I have several poems backlogged that are ready to be seen beyond the comment section of Poetic Asides.

April 7, 2014
Prompt: Write a self-portrait poem.

A fashion moron,
addicted to jeans
Knitting is my thing,
but forget crochet
Grew up as a nerd,
proudly still called one
From comic book stacks
to Twihard status
A dork to the core,
you’ll never change me
Nose stuck in a book,
classics and mainstream
Pages turn each night,
a cat sleeps on my lap
Never a mother,
except for furkids
Teenagers, I teach
they’ll never scare me
When they learn, I smile,
my day is worthwhile
After a good run,
I search for my muse
She keeps my words safe,
while I find a pen

Inspiration: Me. Every word is true.

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April 8, 2014
Prompt: Two for Tuesday – Write a violence and/or peace poem.

Pastel petals,
innocent face
Elegant curves,
long and slender
The siren calls,
baiting the trap

Thorns lay hidden,
ready to strike
Bloodthirsty fangs,
aching to bite
To eat her fill,
Venus must lie

Inspiration: My first thought was a Venus Flytrap, so I ran with it!  Such a pretty little plant, but also quite deadly to those that fall for the trap. What a perfect incarnate of the prompt!

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Venus Flytrap Photo: Wikipedia Commons

 

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Happy poeming!

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c.b.w. 2014

It dawned on me earlier this year that I’ve officially been part of the workforce for more than twenty years. It all started when I was ten years old and wanted a Barbie Sweet Roses 3-Piece Wall Unit for my dollhouse. It cost $12.95 and with my allowance there was no way I could afford it. I ended up going to work with my mom, who was a master dog groomer. She paid me 25¢ for each dog I bathed. It was hard work, but worth it in the end.

I can’t begin to say how proud I was to go to Toys R’ Us with my hard-earned money and buy one awesome Barbie Sweet Roses 3-Piece Wall Unit. The funny thing is, I still have it.  Every time I even think about putting it the donation pile, I remember how hard I worked for it and I just dust it off and rearrange the “China” plates and cups inside of it. (Yes, I still have my dollhouse, too. My Grandpa built it).

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Not a single piece is missing! Intact since 1988.

Despite the money I earned, dog bathing just wasn’t for me. I got my first “real” job when I was fifteen (and a half). I spent my summers with my grandparents in small Northern Wisconsin town, so it was only natural that my first job would be in a tiny family owned business. For two summers, I worked at the Christmas House as a cashier and stocker in the midst of tourist season. I still consider it the most fun job I’ve ever had. It was literally Christmas every day! I set up Department 56 villages, decorated Christmas trees, hung up lights, and created beautiful displays of dishes and figurines. In the middle of all that fun, I learned about collectibles (what’s valuable, what’s not, and how to tell) and Christmas traditions from all around the world. Sadly, the Christmas House closed it’s doors last year.

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The Christmas House as I saw it last summer. So sad to see it closed.

My love of animals led to a job at Petsmart. I was a cashier and also did some floor work (cleaning up shelves). While I loved the animals, I hated the corporate atmosphere. I also hated having to wear a back brace every day (I sometimes had to lift enormous bags of dog food). The only take-away I got from this job was having a healthy respect for anyone who works in a big store. It’s not easy cleaning up after customers who don’t put things away or make huge messes down each aisle. To this day, if I change my mind about something I want to buy in a store, I put it back where I found it instead of on some random shelf.

After leaving Petsmart, I went back to working for a smaller company. It must’ve been my artistic side that drew me to the idea of working for a flower shop. My job was to unpack, clean, and display each day’s shipment of fresh flowers. Then, keep the floors and cooler clean, water the front showroom plants, and take orders over the phone. Being around so many beautiful flowers was wonderful, but the work was brutal. My hands paid the price with cracked skin and permanently green grooves. On the up side, I learned how to do a variety of floral arrangements ranging from corsages, funeral wreathes, and wedding bouquets, along with the standard vase and bowl arrangements. Not a bad skill set, indeed.

Desperately needing to fix my damaged hands, I started working for The Body Shop. This is the job where I learned how to sell, sell, sell. Every day I was responsible for meeting certain dollar quota. Talk about pressure!  I never thought of myself as a salesperson, but I dug deep and learned how sell every product in that store. That meant learning everything about perfume oils, lotions, body washes, and creams. I even learned how to do in-store make-overs to sell cosmetics. Make-up has never been my favorite thing, but it was a lot of fun to make people feel pretty. I would have stayed at The Body Shop longer, but the arrival of a new fragrance ignited a pretty severe allergic reaction. I couldn’t even touch the bottle, so I had to quit.

In the same mall, just around the corner was a locally owned store called the Hobby Bench. It sold everything from cross stitch patterns to radio controlled cars. Even before I applied for the job of cashier, the Hobby Bench was one of my favorite stores. I was hired instantly and stayed there for almost five years. Aside from learning a number of new crafts, this is the job where I learned how to handle crabby and attitudinal people. Within a year, management had me working returns. In a store that didn’t give cash refunds. And always on the day after Christmas. I took a verbal beating often and that caused me to develop some pretty tough skin along with some witty diplomatic strategies. I was studying to be a teacher at the time, so these skills ended up being an essential part of my education.

It may seem amazing that I stayed through all the verbal assaults, but it really wasn’t a hard choice to remain at my post. The Hobby Bench was where I met my soul mate. While I rang up customers in the front, he sold and fixed R/C cars and trucks in the back. Even the crappiest jobs feel like heaven when you’re best friend and love is working just a few feet away. It’s been fifteen years and we’re still together, even without the Hobby Bench, (about three years ago, “our” Hobby Bench closed down).

I continued to work at the Hobby Bench during my first two years of teaching. Then, one day I decided it was time to let it go. My focus had shifted from a job that just paid the bills, to a career that means so much to me. I’ve been teaching for the past thirteen years and it is every bit as rewarding and challenging as I thought it would be. Some days are difficult, but most of the time I’m thankful to have a job that brings me so much joy. There are million things I could complain about, (as the public education system is far from perfect), but this is the only job I’ve ever had where I have an immense amount of control over my day. I get to decide how to teach material and I can be creative in everything I do. However, the best thing of all is watching a kid learn. I love it when a student tells me “I hated history until now.” Yup, that’s a good day at work!

I will likely remain in the teaching profession until it’s time to retire. I honestly never thought I would last this long, but it turns out I’m tougher and more patient than most. If I’ve learned anything from this job, it’s that the key to staying in the classroom is the willingness to learn as if you’re still a student. No one knows everything, not even a teacher.

But, I do still know how to make one hell of a two dozen rose vase arrangement!

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c.b.w. 2014

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