Not Yet, November


Autumn is my favorite season of the year and I really love November. I am not ready to say good-bye to autumn or 

to fall colors,

to leaves changing,

to cooler weather,

to the first snow,

and so many reasons to be thankful.   \

Greenhouse Tour


The warmer temperatures and welcome sunshine created a lovely haven in the greenhouse this week-end. Whether deadheading, smelling the scented geraniums, rearranging pots or repotting, it was a place I could have stayed for hours. Take a tour with me.

I Am Thankful

I am thankful the family that could come to our house arrived safe.

I am thankful the weather cooperated so people could sleep nice and warm.

I am thankful the dogs enjoyed each others' company.

I am thankful for all those who couldn't join us and glad we could talk or text. I am also thankful for time to rest, relax, laugh, read, play games, visit, and watch movies.

I am also thankful I have one more day of time off!

The Fullness of Life

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  Melody Beattie

Whether I am home with my little family, home with my extended family, or home at the place I was raised Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on gratitude. It is the time to remember the little things, the big things, and the precious things in life. 

It is the time to gather around the table, spend time with family, share a good meal, and remember those that couldn't be with us. Thanksgiving is enjoying fullness in life.


Today I am Grateful For The Place I Call Home

I enjoy four seasons and find beauty in each of them. Today I am grateful for the place I call home. Around my place there is never a day I can't find something of beauty to capture with the camera. Here are some of my favorite shots after the snow. 

I love how the snow dusted the roofs of these birdhouses.

I love how the icicles formed on the ivy under the eaves.

This tree almost looks flocked!

The Plain Sense of Things


The Plain Sense of Things


By Wallace Stevens


 After the leaves have fallen, we return

To a plain sense of things. It is as if

We had come to an end of the imagination,

Inanimate in an inert savoir.


It is difficult even to choose the adjective

For this blank cold, this sadness without cause.

The great structure has become a minor house.

No turban walks across the lessened floors.


The greenhouse never so badly needed paint.

The chimney is fifty years old and slants to one side.

A fantastic effort has failed, a repetition

In a repetitiousness of men and flies.


Yet the absence of the imagination had

Itself to be imagined. The great pond,

The plain sense of it, without reflections, leaves,

Mud, water like dirty glass, expressing silence


Of a sort, silence of a rat come out to see,

The great pond and its waste of the lilies, all this

Had to be imagined as an inevitable knowledge,

Required, as a necessity requires.


Simple Beauty After Snowfall

There is a simple beauty when sunshine and snow are combined. I had to catch these images before the snow melted!

Creativity in Action

I knew when we began our study of Africa in social studies that masks would be a creative project to create and research. My seventh graders displaying their creativity from beginning to end.

11/11/11: Three Wishes

The topic today for NaBloPoMo is three wishes. My first wish is to live closer to my brother and sister. We always enjoy any time we can spend together, but it usually doesn't happen more that two or three times of year because of distance, jobs, and other commitments. My second wish is to have more water. We live in a rural housing community that has limited water during in the summer months. Well water is shared and we would love to be able to have our own unlimited free water so we could expand our gardens. My third wish is health. I wish good health for all my family and friends so we can experience joy in our lives for many years to come.

My Secret Passion

Today's topic for NaBloPoMo asks the question, "What is your secret passion?" Now I have very public passions which include photography,poetry,gardening,baking, and writing. My secret passion? Mary Janes. I always loved Mary Jane's when I was a little girl. They went out of style when I was in high school and college. A few years ago I became obsessed with finding Mary Janes that were comfortable, yet stylish. My collection is growing! It is one thing my students always notice... my Mary Janes.... especially my red patent leather ones. 

I Am Thankful for Words

These are some of my favorite words I am thankful for:

The Joy of Writing 

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence - this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word "woods."

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they'll never let her get away.

Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.

They forget that what's here isn't life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof's full stop.

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.          By Wislawa Szymborska


Again, I Am Thankful

Today I am thankful for my camera.

One Word Project: Thankful

The Shutter Sisters  hold a One Word Project each month. This month the word is thankful.I am thankful for my husband.

Leaves Growing Old

"How beautifully leaves grow old.  How full of light and color are their last days."  ~John Burroughs

With November came chilly weather, a threat of snow, more leaves turning orange and yellow,  and still more plants shriveling up. On my walk today I focused on leaves. I love Burroughs quote. It is very true. The leaves are full of light, color, and beauty.

NaBloPoMo Glorious Madness: Keyboard vs. Pen


The NaBloPoMo prompt today: "When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?" My answer is pretty cut and dried. When I am writing at home I always word process. Somtimes I print a hard copy for revision or editing, but writing is always done on the computer. When I teach writing I always do it on notebook paper. It is easier for me to project my writing on the screen and teach a lesson with my writing sample if it is hand written. Of course, when I am camping or outdoors I write in a journal. I don't feel like either way produces more writing, better writing, or either helps more with revision. For me it is what I have on hand that works the best. What about you.... computer or pen?

NaBloPoMo Glorious Madness: Writing to Piano Music

Today's prompt on NaBloPoMo: "Can you listen to music and write? What song did you hear today?"

It depends. If I am working on academic or professional writing I work best with the sounds of silence.

If I already have an idea and am doing my first draft dumping some lively music can be playing on my iPod. To be perfectly honest I don't even know how much I pay attention to the music. It is just there in the background.

When I am searching for ideas, brainstorming, webbing, prewriting, or planning I enjoy quiet, calming piano music in the background. Not too intrusive,just there. Enjoy one of my choices for quiet, calming music, "Thanksgiving" by George Winston. I think I can brainstorm to anything by George Winston.

NaBloPoMo Glorious Madness: Christmas Goodie Feast


The prompt today: "If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?" 

This is difficult. I am a fanatic foodie. I love the sight,smell, texture,and taste of many foods. I love comfort food, Mom's homemade food, restaurant food, hot lunch on occasion, my own food, and farm fresh food.

My last meal? Knowing myself and how I can't resist all the Christmas goodies when I go home for Christmas, I think my last meal would be all my favorite traditional Christmas goodies baked by my mom. I would have them all arranged beautifully on a lovely platter. The splurge would begin with buttery Spritz, rich and gooey Seven Layer Cookies, a bowl of savory, salty Nuts and Bolts, a yummy caramel popcorn ball. Then with coffee I would enjoy a slice of pumpkin bread and Sesame Seed cookies. I would save the best for last....a hunk of my favorite fruitcake with the aroma of brandy, fruits, and nuts all combined to make a delicious, moist bread. Such a Goodie Feast! Such Glorious Madness.

photo above of my mom's kitchen in my childhood home

NaBloPoMo Glorious Madness: First Draft Dumping

The prompt for today on NaBloPoMo is: What is your favorite part about writing?

My favorite part of writing is first draft dumping.  I dump eveything from my head on paper or the screen. I don't judge, value, evaluate, second guess, rethink, revise, edit, or give up. I just keep the flow going until the dumping of the topic is complete. Somtimes the draft is in sentences, other times it is phrases. Lists or sketches work also. Once all dumping is down I stop and review, reread, and then begin my real first draft. This strategy works well with my student writers also. Sometimes we set the timer so we are forced to keep dumping without stopping, judging, reviewing, or revising. I save  the draft dumps and these collections of words often become a polished piece later. The key is taking time  to draft dump often.  That is part of the Glorious Madness. That and capturing photo images for inspiration like these.