The art of shopping, part one

Creativity, artistic ability and marketing at one of the very best, me thinks – – Do Your Thing – It will work, or you’ll tweak – Fantabulous! ūüôā

in the art cave

I mentioned in my last post that I‚Äôve been revamping some of the images in my Etsy shop,¬†so I thought I‚Äôd show you a few of my favourites. These were all created with digital trickery : ) and each picture is a combination of three different photographs: the original painting + my black travel easel + the¬†photo that inspired the painting (in the background & slightly out of focus to give a kind of ‚Äėdepth of field‚Äô effect)‚Ķ

Sidetracked, 12 x 12 inches ‚ÄėSidetracked‚Äô (12 x 12 inches), the railway tracks and golden sand near Koekohe Beach in Otago, NZ

'Boatsheds' (10 x 30 inches), the Banks Peninsula coastline and boat sheds along Duvauchelle Bay near Akaroa, NZ ‚ÄėBoatsheds‚Äô (10 x 30 inches), the Banks Peninsula coastline and boat sheds along Duvauchelle Bay near Akaroa, NZ

'Thursday, Avon River' (30 x 20 inches), ducks swimming on the Avon River in Christchurch, NZ ‚ÄėThursday, Avon River‚Äô (30 x 20 inches), ducks swimming on the Avon River in Christchurch, NZ

'Riding the Falls' (16 x 12 inches), a Huka Falls jet boat on the Waikato River, NZ ‚ÄėRiding the Falls‚Äô (16 x 12 inches), a Huka Falls jet boat on the Waikato River, NZ

The other idea I’ve…

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My Doggie doesn’t like Green Beans

So, after a melt-down over the attempt to be an¬†informed voter¬†and the loss of a friend and so many other lil Life Moments¬†I¬†either signed up a long time ago for, or brought upon myself these past weeks –

…I thought perhaps, I¬†might travel away on the lighter side¬†life –¬†or at least felt lighter, until I really¬†set down to write about it –

Oakley, the Wonder Dog –

… doesn’t care for Green Beans – I did realize, late in the supper game, tonight, maybe I should have chopped the¬†thin, softened/pre-cooked beans (to aide her type of digestion),¬†up into shorter, lengths, just in case I missed something in the how-to-ing section of Green Beans information.

I turned the left-in-bowl items into small, bite-sized pieces,¬†added some more deep ¬†bone broth with meat tidbits/etc., for her to try to eat – with a few stray blueberries/raspberries mixed in (ya know I can’t fully weed out everything in the crockpot – so she got too many anti-oxidants today – I’m sure it will work out – – )

All while she most likely thought, “Give it a rest lady – I’m in the Golden Years of my life and by gummy, I KNOW what I want/like…why the green, beans? ¬†Ain’t I eating the celery? ¬†How much green does a body need, really?”

With the extra broth, she managed to work loose and snag all the blueberries/raspberries, as well as the tidbits of meat, but wouldn’t ya know, there sat the green beans – on second attempt –

I’m willing to let it go –

I tried not to¬†make my kiddos eat what they didn’t like, I just studied the missed-out-nutrients by each¬†food snub, and tried to find a way to deliver it another way – more palatable and liked – enter sprouted wheat baked goods, because the youngest is, a bakery afficiando¬†–ūüôā

(Psst…Ex-hubby and sons¬†– I spent nearly 2 years feeding us¬†organ meats you stoutly promised a¬†riot/rebellion if I decided such things should be thought of as additions to¬†monthly menu –

Yes, I felt strongly enough about what I had learned and what I observed in you and me, that¬†¬†I simply¬†did an end-run and hoped a large enough portion of ‘good-for’ you nutrients would survive the slow-deep bone broth making process – without alerting your tongue or tastebuds, or mine, to such blasphemy –ūüôā ¬†I can’t wait to join with the Universal knowledge at the end of this life, to really know, “How much good did it do and did they suspect my duplicity, when I said, “Yup, I don’t like fried liver & onions or pate(?), either…?”)

Back to Veggies….

I’m not really sure why I hacked the green beans into smaller pieces, and re-offered with some additional trimmings – I mean, c’mon, this is the dog that can weed out shredded portions of stuff she likes, from those she doesn’t¬†and leave the pile of “no thank you’s’ in one side of an other wise, sparkling, licked clean food dish – I submit for evidence a bowl of food wiped clean of carrot shreds, with left behind pile of zucchini squash shreds –

Green might be my fave, but apparently, not hers….

She has also managed to snag half a pizza off the counter, because child-unit didn’t wolf it down before she did – and I was rather harassed and distracted and forgot not to tempt her….

(store bought, frozen version, pizza – ¬†hurriedly cooked without thoughtful contemplation and prayer for the bounty to add to the nourishment of our bodies, nor with plea to bless the stressed hands that prepared it via¬†ripping off the plastic, paper instructions and cardboard bottom and shoving it into a non-preheated toaster oven, ¬†during a day from Hades, ¬†and the meal I¬†figured, would probably kill her over the night, but didn’t…¬†how much myth and how much fact and how long before I can tell the difference, does it really take?¬†)

Meanwhile, Back at the This Recent Moment In History- Ranch…

After licking the bowl clean,¬†of the second smaller portion, sans the pile of green beans left behind, a hard look was leveled at me and my stubbornness, followed by her trotting out to the yard to give me time/space in which to¬†contemplate my sinful (wrong-thinking) life choices –


In my defense, the second bowl was offered with, “Hey! ¬†I’m just trying in case the long thin lengths don’t work for you – if you don’t like it, fine, we can find other sources – just trying, okay?”

And she, in her way, indicated,

“My next to-do is learning how to use your smart phone, so I can call the authorities and report your lunacy – you need help – re-feeding me green beans AND discussing it with me as you engage in such nonsense – what were you thinking?!?”

All I can Say is….

Thank goodness the supplier I buy back-up reserves for winter doesn’t have dehydrated green beans for sale, (is there even such a thing? Or is everyone fairly worn out over them by the end of the season?)

For I did recently place a small order¬†to supplement the (finally!) well stocked pantry – first fall I haven’t had a heart attack over fall pantry stocking, in case we see a hard winter, and no supply trucks can make it in, (seriously! ¬†That has happened, many times/many places over the history of our country!) ¬†and another goal set in 2011, met, this fall –¬†

I Confess¬†– green beans aren’t my fave, either, unless picked fresh from garden/farmer’s market, drenched in balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with roasted minced garlic, some slivered almonds and ¬†a sprinkling of pink salt, ¬†some fresh minced onion, if on hand, wrapped up in tin foil and caramelized on the grill …while I manage to overcook the steaks, because I never remember to measure how thick they are –

This take it or leave it thinking about Green Beans was born during a bumper crop year of green beans in my childhood – I got so tired of the (child’s version of…) never ending picking, snapping, preservation¬†process and meal-time fresh veggie options, I’m certain that year deeply¬†affected me and my take on the matter –

Word on the street is, doggies shouldn’t eat such things as garlic, onion – haven’t researched the nuts angle, just yet – but figure she won’t eat¬†them – she hasn’t tried to eat me, right?

And it is a shame, over the whole garlic/onion thingee – supposedly, they are really good for middle-aged women heart health and immune system bolstering and I can grow both, here – if I ever get the cottage annual veggie garden in place –

I did contemplate¬†researching how big of a risk it would be to try – just in case, she doesn’t manage to pile the garlic/onions/slivers of almonds all the way to the edge, while ingesting a better offering¬†of palatable green bean –ūüôā ¬†Certain¬†I ¬†need to learn more, wait awhile before taking that adventure on –

I might mourn the destination of the journey –

So, next up on list to try, to get those nutrients/protein needs filled….

I may attempt soaked, cooked or sprouted¬†garbanzo beans (as soon as I discover which style may work well for her species’ digestion) and perhaps, a form of doggie hummus – she likes coconut oil, so why not mash the sprouted beans and mix with coconut oil? ¬†(Note to myself – research that idea – well, before you kill your best friend….)

Sprouts pack a lot of nutrients – they are easier to digest (at least for humans) and, I have watched her eat young blades of grass – not same family, but is that not, just a young sprout appearing in the world, that, left to it’s own devices, will become one of the ‘dreaded, NEVER serve grains” for doggies?

And I, recently discovered my boycotting of trying hummus, cuz it was a ‘trending’ food, promising all kinds of bennies – high on feeds lists, low on article submissions that showed anything other than sales copy – well – I finally tried it this summer and I like it – and garbanzo beans will be attempted here, next year, for I’m told, they might like growing here without me fussing day and night over them –

You see what a hard a life of increasing abundance, is (yes, I’m ashamed of myself…) – watching, observing and then researching to make sure what you think you are observing is REALLY what is going on – after all, lightening was mis-understood for years, along with its’ brother, thunder –

I, in me own lifetime, have been warned I would be struck down by lightening for offending the Powers that be AND that Thunder was merely a ‘Tator wagon in the sky, rolling over an old wood plank bridge – ”

Sigh –

I’ve researched for years – the topic of raw/traditional feeding your 4-legged family members is becoming increasingly trendy, so there are so many more online sources available, now, to weed through and discern what is safe to try –

It’s become rather like researching voting options….

And so, we truck on here, at Bally Bin – with the daily discussion of the Universal ruin of everything right on down to daily¬†roommate conversations and disagreements about what might work –

And yes, I’m starting to think I do always choose to do things the hard way -just thinking about the possibility, mind you – haven’t had a lot of time for pensive pondering the past few years – and this kind of stuff takes time, does it not?

Current working theory as to why this is a possibility:¬†Apparently, doing things the hard way fulfills an inner need left vacant by my disdain and avoidance of any extreme adventures/sports –

Say, like,¬†climbing the sheer, ice frosted cliffs of some lauded mountain with nothing but some rope and an ice pick – ¬†or running 26 miles, all at once, when no one’s life depends upon me ‘getting the message delivered’, just to prove I could¬†do it, if ever I am called upon to do so –

In the end,

Perhaps, I should¬†go back into silent retreat status¬† – After all, there are only so many ways you can make fun of your own stuff before you start to wonder if perhaps, you ought to just let that stuff go¬†and ponder it awhile longer –ūüôā

Thanks for listening…ūüôā

Indie Success ‚Äď10 things that really matter

This topic has come up, BIG-Time on my local radar – through friends, co-workers, colleagues as I walk in the world of my local library – re-visit topics with local artisans, writer’s, those who feel held back by this or that – Thank you, Sue, for, I can now focus on other ‘to-do’s’ with a simple re-blog or email link share, “Take Heart – Here ya go – What Sue said…” –ūüôā

Sue Vincent - Daily Echo

From the vaults ‚Äď June 2015:

Hans Christian Andersen by Anne Grahame Johnstone

Hans Christian Andersen by Anne Grahame Johnstone

There are a lot of articles and reports out there giving various and often conflicting figures about the Indie book market. All seem to agree, however, that the percentage of Indie writers and publishers is huge and growing. You only have to read a few Indie books to realise there is some seriously good stuff out there and marvel at the ingenuity and diversity of the imaginations from which they were born.

Yet there is still a stigma attached to independently published work. There are those, it is true, who see it only as a way to make a fast buck and churn out little more than rubbish. These are not writers in my opinion and it is not of their books I speak, they are little more than opportunists; marketeers who, seeing a potentially lucrative product…

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Update from BallyBin…

For those beloved connections that I love ‘connecting with, via WP comment feeds” – realized, I must do a small notice –

BallyBin is under Siege Conditions –


You’re shocked and surprised? ¬†You do realize it’s a presidential election year, right?

You do understand, given pollster/number crunchers data (which should rightly ¬†be researched to prove/disprove, for yourself, no matter what your reaction) 49% of Colorado voters are registered “Unaffiliated” – this is news to me, because, nearly 30 years ago, I registered, “Independent” – (I liked the Freedom of such things AND figured I wouldn’t have to root out info, everyone would figure me fair game and send me their propaganda missives for free – except…for their poor, delusional supporters who think $10,000 per plate fund-raising dinner ticket(s) still nets some ‘clout’ – try again….

Much as I jumped in to support how I could, as early Facebook defector, to round up my friends who were still in love, to like/support Bella Groves Plantation Restoration¬†blog, because, if Memory serves correctly, the local town council demanded a certain number of “Social Likes” in order to approve some needed thing for them to frickin’ open and try –

Sigh – that was years ago – shortly after my Hot Leo Temper raged over the direction Facebook was taking –

And yes, I’m on Facebook, once more – understand, I was lured back and discovered – I can’t build/maintain a page for customers, without having my own account – so we can all keep track of what crazy, illogical thingee TamrahJo is doing, just now –ūüôā

Do I regret it?

Yes and No

Yes, I hate that my mind and psyche has to blend/adjust/retrain itself to “please give us fool proof silver bullet that will not fail or cause harm or incite lawsuit, into 2.5 seconds spiel” …

Yes, I hate that I view social media rather like I do real life connections – either I care or I don’t – either I sign up to follow/walk beside you on your journey, or I say “okay, not for me and you insist we do it your way? ¬†Well – if we disagree and you sign my paycheck, I’ll give my notice, and understand if you let me go right away –

If you try to bully me into doing what dastardly deed you truly believe is good business? ¬†Well….I’ll spend a couple of days assessing stockpiles of food, etc. ¬† I’ll touch base with my family & friends and say, “I’m thinking about this and here’s why, and, if I should fall on battlefield, will you look out for those left behind, that I failed?”

Does not matter to me if they say yes or no – if I made the call, and put forth the do-or-die question, well, I really want to know, should I rethink current take to keep my dearly held promises, or am I the only one who thinks important, AND, if I’m the only one – am I a genius/idiot?

It can really, truth be told, go either way –

Life has taught me that –

I’ve now spent an above average Medieval Lifespan in modern (so-called) America – and…I’m rather a cynic/hard butt about it all – cuz, yes, I do take the time to think/research about it –

I MAKE the time – even while I HAVE TO FIND EVER INCREASING TIME, just to be an informed, sane voter¬†–

I DO¬†NOT –¬†think highly of you when I’m watching out for you, your business venture, that you didn’t plan well and I didn’t vet you well enough for taking on (my bad, there, I’ll take my share of the responsibility and that’s exactly why, you got a final bill with ‘donated’ amount – I was willing to cut bait instead of trying to keep fishing with you….)

But, if I’m keeping track of what you say, how you react, the direction you say you want to go and what the next 6 months to 5 years looks like for you, better than you are, we have a problem –

When I remember you said ‘this huge problem and we can’t do this’ and yet, a year later – you repeat it – well, I’m going to double-check with you –

NOT because I’m trying to run your business, BUT because I BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO DO!

And, I’m not an expert in Your Field – I’m not an expert in flippin’ anything – BUT….

If I said yes, If I gave you a proposal…

Well, I’m rather Green Eggs & Ham and where I’ll eat them, until you make clear that you told me Green eggs and Ham, but you really prefer, Robin’s Egg Blue spectrum and now…

Well…we have a problem – cuz you changed and didn’t let me know –

You didn’t give me a chance to say, “I’m on board with your new vision” or “Okay – have fun with that – you may be right, but after asking in order to understand, I’m not satisfied that continuing to serve you and your endeavors is the best use I can make of the energy I have left to give, so, let us find a way to easily transition you to someone who better meets your needs….”


I’ve spent the last year being accused of trying to ‘get rid’ of folks – not really – I’m just not really in tune for hanging around, drawing a paycheck while someone takes 3 years to decide they can fire me without losing money –

Cuz, after all – I can read all the “vet your potential clients’ articles – I can invest in me own self-funded education as much as I like – BUT- in the end – I’m human, too – and I have my trigger points –

I have my overload moments –

And, quite frankly?

I’m sick and tired of saving drafts to edit so I don’t offend some facet of folks who are currently disenfranchised by current trends –

I’m tired up to my eyeballs of people that only are interested in sharing their own version of truth instead of learning the real facts –

I’m LONNNG ago tired of nightly news, cable channel offerings/TV service, Think as I do or ELSE thinking, etc., etc., etc.

I’m tired of reading trending, new published books that I long to write a missive to author and say, “I hear ya! ¬†But, in chapter 4, page 33, you mentioned (insert item…) you are aware it wasn’t always like this and those you call the betrayers were betrayed, first, in the 1860’s, right? ¬†Just curious if you knew this – cuz yes, you’re right, but your timeline/take on the matter missing some key pivotal points and, for good or ill, this portion I think I know and you don’t, a part of our shared history – so wondering…do you know? ¬†and if so, your thoughts?”


I spend more time getting my nose bloody going through the wall and/or trying to outrun the pitchfork mob, than time permits for me to bust waaay past my strictly adhered to 1,000 words or near/less mark, as part of my, ‘can I relearn to write eloquently and speak/connect with other hearts, worldwide, in 1,000 words or less without being an ignorant arse over it all?”

And so, ladies and gentlemen, this is what the past year of items culminates into – I’m surviving – I’m eating – (poorly, cuz I ain’t been cooking much and no fresh annual veggie garden this hectic year – working on infrastructure/long term permaculture areas – )

It’s what being a non-party affiliated voter looks like, in Colorado – do you realize? ¬†There is a ballot issue up for vote that lets me vote in primaries, even if I’m not a staunch supporter of the either of the major 2 party heirarchy –

I read the Voter’s, (supposedly neutral) manual to decide, and wonder, why do I have to vote to okay the retention of a judge when no other option exists =- do you just vacate that seat on the state bench if I fail to vote?

OR do you clap with glee that you just now gained another empty slot for your empire building infrastructure to be filled, via appointment?


I’m still an idealist – yes, I most likely still suffer from the clinically recognized signs of PTSD, but seriously, in my mind? ¬†Every one here should be worried about such diagnosis – let us rejoice not big enough ‘political problem’ just yet, we must all be medicated by law into submission and getting with the system –

I love my country –

I love the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, even when their take, in their time, rather sets my nerves on end, because, in the end, they were human, and some paid, some gained, BUT to me?

They all finally said, with one, agreeing and sometimes disgruntled voice –

“Well…YES! ¬†We want different! ¬†We DON’T Agree, just now, on what that Different looks like, really, BUT, can we lay a foundation that allows for growth, moving forward and Heaven knows when we actually might accomplish such things, but at least, we gave the base to protect the trying of, all the same AND argued/fought hard enough for our DEBATE POINTS to get A MAJORITY of US to say, “Yes! ¬†Not exactly what I want, but close enough and I’ll be ready for you, and your narrow viewpoint, you privileged, spoiled, protecting your empires SOB, next round – :)” –

I’ve been told by many, this year, on both sides of political fence, that America was founded as a Christian nation – that America was founded as a “Freedom from Religion” country – from my view?

You’re both wrong –

America was founded upon a dualistic viewpoint of the world – good/bad, white/black, male/female, rich/poor, landowner/renter. business innovator/worker, Protestant/Catholic, Classic Education/No Education, Can Read/Cannot Read, Capitalism/States Rights, Federal Government/Confederate of States, Common Control/Common Defense, Agrarian/Industrial, Meritocracy/Nobility Inheritance…etc., etc., etc.

There is not, so far, this election season as I get blasted by vehement arguments, some knowledegeable, others lashing out, cuz they are under the gun for survival – I watch it all -and, for the first time, I side with the baby boomers – you know the ones…

The ones that answered the call -December 7th, 1941 forward –


Because enough of them realized –

“Well, this just isn’t right and we can’t just keep thinking about our own backyard anymore -”

And why do I get so wrapped around the axel?  Because,

Well, I’m not a PhD. lauded historian, but I’m an observer of human nature and I tell you – if WWI hadn’t been closed out by severe restitution treaties, I do believe the fertile ‘need’ ground for Hitler to come to power would have never happened – I could be wrong, I’m rather after life, Universal Vision type of believer and IF I CAN MANAGE TO DO, once I KNOW ALL, I WILL FIND A WAY TO TELL YOU SO…

Other than that promise, who knows? ¬†I may just be another unenlightened arse-wipe who wants to scare you into thinking your only way to survive or protect your loved ones is believing everything I write –

And…I’m not really into that mode, never was, though, I thought for awhile 2,000 word discourses might make a difference – for the world we all inhabit – for the water resources we all share – for the problems we all face – for the strife we all struggle with – for the political factions that divide all of us –

In my heart, given me own lil take on life – I truly believe –

No matter where I travel –

If I have the honor of being invited to the home of another …

Middle aged woman –


Who loves her children and family –

Who serves how she may, how she may, to care for those dear to her –

Who stands up against false rumours when she knows something publicly said is simply, NOT FACTUAL,

Who realizes greater forces at work than she may be able to fight/conquer in her own lifetime, and chooses to betray her own self, while working for the continued existence of her grand-children, great-grandchildren – KNOWING – such offspring are likely never to appear AND, she may be wrong –

If you can, over and over again, open yourself up to ridicule, harsh judgement, punishment for being honest, pay for service that defies all truth in advertising laws on the frickin’ books –

If you can boldly and steadfastly say to others, “I’m sorry, but the answer, “That’s just how it is, get with the program…” is not an acceptable response to moi – but I still wish the best for you – but, know, we may, given our ideals, someday meet face to face upon the field of battle – no hard feelings, but I’d love to fight beside you, rather than against you, but I simply cannot sign up for what you are proposing – because…(this…this…that…and this…and what about…?)

And so, now I blew by nearly 1,100 words of what’s been goin’ on here – right?

Well – I did wait 6 months or so – and, decided, you can read it in the same time frame – not my job to tell you when/how to read –ūüôā

But, I’ve committed, to my way of thinking, several,

Epic Fails

I am fan of history – I realize I have deep seated ‘pain/trigger points’ based upon my own experience – BUT, I still, am naive enough to try until I get burnt –

AND then?  You burn me, personally?

Good luck with that – wouldn’t cross the street to pee on you if your guts were on fire –

Just saying –

Cuz I’m rather hard-arsed about such things –

But if your great-great-grandfather engaged in things that negatively impacted my great-great-grandmother?


I’m a little more circumspect – I won’t raise my kids to hate you for your blood ties, name, religion, culture or nation state, on the other hand, I will MOST LIKELY trigger your OFFENDED I EVEN HAD TO ASK trigger, when I query – “Okay! So this is a huge issue – tell me why…I’m listening.” ¬†And I may argue, ask questions, drive you insane, but in the end, I REALLY do want to know –

How deep is thing that’s a problem buried and what must we work to towards bringing to light and how do we educate folks on why it’s a problem, when they have not a snowball’s chance in hell of it personally touching them unless they actively go out and try to learn, on purpose, themselves –

See why I don’t write, anymore? ¬†because I’m stuck in the swamp of philosphor’s swamp –

I believe in the inherent goodness of the human soul –

I also believe it can easily be led vastly astray given the right circumstances –

I’m not certain, yet, if the previous, free-wheelin’ post will spell the death knell of my 6 year blog or not –

BUT, I do believe, I cannot stay quiet,

Be absolutely correct, and non-prejudicial while I talk about why life is so hard – some may say, “that’s not hard” –

Others might say, “OMG! ¬†Why do You Even Entertain the Idea THAT S**T is Okay?” –

All in perspective – we all have it.

I have recently had a co-worker tell me how poorly off they are, while talking about what they must have and what they signed up to be responsible for – which is more than I could sign up for meeting, just now –

I’ve had single moms tell me what they do to make it, and I wonder, how could I feed my children well, if I didn’t have the community to trade with for good food?

I’m better off, here, now, than many,

I’m worse off than many, just now….

And I can rail all I wish about how things ought to be and what needs to happen, but in the end, I like to believe I think of the same things my fellow man/womankind think of: “Well, that sound awesome, but, WHO is going to pay for it? ¬†WHAT does it impact for the future of my children/descendents AND, do you even really have a frickin clue how to fix your own supper?:

Yes, I think we all think this – cuz, I’m a dreaded Feminist – I think Men are really good Cooks – cuz ya know – they had to eat while tracking the hunter trail –ūüôā

**I will read and NOT respond to those who couldn’t read nearly 3,000 words – I WILL hit the publish button sans editing, spell check, grammar check, ideal and fact check, just now –

Let the Roasting Games, Begin – (someone has to get their nose, bloody, big time, to state – over and over and over, “we are all in this, together, and ain’t no one getting out alive – ”ūüôā


Comes the Dawn

I’d like to tell you the following is share of a poem, correctly bearing it’s official title, full copy of and proper spelling of author name¬†–

A poem shared with me when I was 17 years of age – that I’m often reminded of as I walk through Life – via a newspaper clipping from Dear Abby column, lost during one of my hurried flights from the terror of a¬†reality¬†I thought was just the place for me to be, and discovered, wasn’t so –

Alas, I cannot promise or vow the below is really true, complete or correct – –

Too many versions, mutations, memories of, spellings of author name exist online and, really,  how much time does one life have to dedicate themselves to proving, once and for all, they really did attempt to share remembered reality and are not just making stuff up?



Comes the Dawn

by Veronica Shoffstall

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,

And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises.

You begin to accept your defeats
With your head held high and your eyes open,

With the grace of a woman,
Not the grief of a child.

You learn to build your roads
On today because tomorrow’s ground
Is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in midflight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you can really endure,
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth

And you learn and learn … and you learn

With every goodbye you learn.

New Beginnings and…Heartbreak…

I recently was hired to work at my local library part-time.

Seriously, I’ve yet to find one thing that consumes me to the exclusion of all other possibilities –

(Yes, okay, okay, I will add the¬†caveat of, “for any long-amount of time, for it could change tomorrow, next year or next second as I learn more about me, my world and navigate the whole “Why I’m here” conundrum –

I freely confess to being accused simultaneously¬†of Procrastination, Stagnation and Life Motto¬†of, “Oh, that was so two seconds ago!”

And just as¬†frequently accused¬†of “Dog with a Bone” tendencies, since I tend to remember¬†history and past patterns¬†–¬†social, cultural, governmental, religious and personal.)

This Sunday Morning Spent…

Reading the American Library Association’s collected information for¬†Banned Books Week – Information¬†on our shared American history of Freedom of Speech and Changing Times, Current Trends, Perennial Trends,¬†etc., etc., etc.

What I learned made me want to cry in frustration

For, you know…

Over the years, I have read many of the books contained on the Top 100 Banned & Frequently Challenged Books List, that, apparently, still make the damn top Most Wanted 100 List Every Year.

(Yes, I just cussed, online and outloud – be grateful I showed restraint and didn’t use the ‘f’ word…)

My¬†thoughts turned to…

  • How very lucky I am to have been raised in a home full of books and by parents who loved to read,
  • To have been educated by teachers who saw the beauty and wisdom to be found in literature
  • To have had the¬†support¬†of¬†¬†School and Public Librarians who didn‚Äôt ask why I wanted a book, but simply showed me how to find it in card catalogue/shelves, ¬†or ordered it in for me from another library.

While there are so many books I still have on my ‚ÄúTo Read List‚ÄĚ…

(so many, in fact, I may not live long enough to read them all)

Today, I am carried back to my younger self  and I fully become aware, as I scanned the various lists compiled Рand I ponder upon:

“Where would I be, just now, if I didn’t have this perspective in my brain to remember the story of?”

So many of the books I read during my childhood Рhow many humans are never trusted enough to even be exposed to?

Protection?  Tyranny?  Fear of Change? Why!?

And why doesn’t every child, young adult, adult get the¬†Freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of America,

(which had to be clarified by the First Amendment to the Constitution of our Country, just to make sure, everyone got the message,

“You come here? ¬†Things are going to be done and said that might make your blood boil, you are free to expose yourself to such information, gather and talk about it, if enough of you are showing up to discuss, we won’t make the media shut-up about reporting about it – we will protect them, whether they deserve it or not &¬†¬†were responsible or not – Whether we agree with them or not…That’s who we wish to be…”)

(You do know my current views regarding mass media and social media, right? If not, well, travel through the archives, you’ll find frequent breadcrumbs to the trail of why is it so, are ya kidding, and we gotta do something about THIS! ¬†Don’t we? ¬†Why Not?)

I grew up surrounded

By family, teachers, librarians who took the time to share the context, history and concerns of the time/place in which the idea of a story was born and shared.

Was introduced to the circumstances, (societal and personal experience), which inspired a writer to take up their pen, examine their inner/outer worlds, and share.

Was trusted to take the perspective, ponder upon¬†and choose¬†–


…is not found just in the pages of Scientifically proven, Academically Approved or Historically Accurate Deemed texts¬†–

It’s also in Our Stories РOral traditions, Published Works, Personal Shares.

The best of us, the worst of us, the times we got it right and the times we didn’t.   The stories of those who have cried  and stood alone

The times we cried, got mad and then stood together, with raising voice,

“We can, (must!)¬†Be Better!”

Always, there are the¬†first brave souls who dared to show us how bad it could get, or how wonderful it could be – if only…

Who were willing to say, “This is the World I Dream Of” – and put it out for all to see – no matter how it might be judged by history.

Such a fine, ever-changing line we humans walk – for better or worse –

While we try to find that balance between helping and harming.

We are Explorers – all of us, internal and external – and the call of what is/could be is never far from tempting us – whether our current surroundings make it easy or hard.

Happy Reading & Writing –ūüôā

My Current List of  Banned/Challenged Classic Books Read

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • Ordinary People, Judith Guest
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • Gone with The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
  • Are You There, God? It‚Äôs Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
  • Cujo, Stephen King
  • Forever, Judy Blume
  • The Holy Bible¬†
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L‚ÄôEngle
  • Tiger Eyes, Judy Blume
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell
  • The Call of the Wild, Jack London
  • Ulysses, James Joyce
  • Blubber, Judy Blume
  • Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
  • Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M. Auel
  • The Valley of Horses, Jean M. Auel
  • The Mammoth Hunters, Jean M. Auel
  • The Plains of Passage, Jean M. Auel
  • The Shelters of Stone, Jean M. Auel
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo‚Äôs Nest, Ken Kensey
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin
  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

Fall in the Air

Yesterday was a struggle – took me¬†until 4pm¬†to check in with me own body and think, “Barometric pressure change? ¬†Okay, I know what to do for that…”

Out came the ironing board,

(Gasp! NO! not to actually IRON something, silly, I use it to clip my red lamps to, for my¬†‘therapy’ –ūüôā )

and I dutifully returned¬†to the routine that has previously served me well, routine interrupted by Life last February, and which, I vowed to ‘get back to’, sometime in May, I believe, – here it is, August, and the internal warning bells have reached a fever pitch of, “Better do something, soon…, if you wish to keep ‘doing/being’ ”

I went to bed at a decent hour the past two¬†nights, even prepared my percolator last night¬†–¬†all I had to do was turn on the induction plate this a.m., set the timer, turn on my lamps and walla!

Treatment for day done, just as my coffee is ready.

Life is good.

Working¬†through the emails that hit¬†after I retreated, yesterday, I realized…

Something feels different this a.m…

With coffee cup in hand¬†I slip¬†on my trusty¬†sandals – (*%^! goat-head stickers infiltrated my place last summer and I haven’t yet eradicated them all) – I step outside, resplendent in my Victorian length, Eeyore, “I don’t DO mornings” emblazoned, nightshirt and trousers, to see what¬†is¬†going on.

Yup, fall is definitely on it’s way….

Has, perhaps, actually arrived.

It had whispered to me of it’s imminent¬†arrival nearly 3 weeks ago – how, I cannot explain to you – I was simply out, in the early morning.

(I like early morning, just as I like late night, too. And am easily lured, either way.)

Clear sky kissed with gray greeted me, gray not of clouds, or mist, rather, that particular shade of gray that lasts but a moment as the dark of night flees from the onslaught of first one, than many rays of light.

“Fall is coming. ¬†Better start re-arranging the priorities list.”

I observed the thought form in my mind, then raced down the usual pathways,

РShould I let the plants struggle some?  Or give them a morning supportive drink?

– How many mornings in a row, have I exercised my particular brand of loving?

– Am I helping them, in long run, or risking the addition of¬†a few more planticides¬†to my long list of sins…

РWhen did it last rain?

– wait a minute – it’s going to be hot¬†today! ¬†Look at that sky!

РWhy did that FIRST thought form in my mind?!?

Why do I think Fall is coming and I’d better hurry?

– Is the ancient clock hardwired in my DNA keeping track of the hours of light/dark?

– Did one of my elderly neighbors fire up their wood stove overnight, to ease the aching bones in the blessed cool of the night? woodsmoke in the air –¬†not even the slightly different fragrance carried by Brother Wind to bring news¬†of wildfires raging a mile or state(s) away…

Well, yes,¬†dire predictions of a ‘hard winter’ have invaded my world via a variety of online/in person sources, recently¬†¬†– I added my two cents in observing the local insect community seemed bent on moving into better digs earlier this year, compared to last year – but don’t think that’s why – I do attempt to think for myself – –

I stood still, that quiet morning, so long ago, and worked my way through the list of options available to me –

Left to my own devices, without interruption, the above dialogue takes my brain¬†WAAY less time, than it takes for¬†you to read it, even¬†you speed¬†readers –

I’ve practiced, honed, this crazy skill, over a lifetime…ūüôā

Still learning what easy pathways are sometimes old roads in need of¬†abandonment, or which have¬†morphed into¬†paved paths leading me¬†straight to some, new, Hell –ūüôā

(Yes, technically, the above inner dialogue took place¬†only a few weeks ago, but I’ve been cramming a lot into each day, for some time now, thus, it feels long ago…time travel at it’s most productive, if you will…ūüôā )

And so, I returned to my desk, after a walk through my struggling, work-in-progress, Garden-Oasis, and made a few notes to write and share, later, along with one picture of those snapped, today, as a sneak peak for the 0816 Garden Journal Blog that, Lord willin’ and the Creek don’t rise, shall be posted shortly after this one¬†¬†–

rescued sedum

Newly planted sedum for the native/dry garden area. Rescued from sale rack in early August –ūüôā

For now, It’s back to work, for me, in Cyber-land,

…where dreams are built and¬†new paths of bliss found…

…where other dreams fail to turn¬†out as planned, or are, justly or not,¬†destroyed by the ignorant, righteous, greedy or cruel, driving¬†one or more souls scurrying back to the drawing board, once again…

…where the 2.5 second world demands those interested in real information must wade through the distractions in order to get to the gems…before they disappear to¬†time or mis-management, or collapse under the hardships they can no longer endure…

…where friends and relationships form, and those who wear a mask slip and can’t help but reveal their true¬†intentions – and are either rallied around or voted-off-the-island…

All come together – ¬†the good, the bad, the ugly – the¬†invaders, the greedy, the hungry, the quiet struggling, who hold on for one more day, in hope, those who ventured¬†or¬†landed, perhaps not by their own free will, into a strange new land, that has promise, but missing so much of what they knew before –

Funny, how much cyber-land resembles my garden ¬†–ūüôā

Happy Wednesday –ūüôā

P.S. ¬†Yes, this is my new way of blogging – login, make the note, re-visit during the day when I’m waiting for something, or taking a break, or need the comfort of stringing words together, to make sense of my mind and my world – here and there, sooner or later, it will all get done – and, thus, a lifetime later,¬†I click on Publish¬†:)