03/31/22 Reflection

WOW! one whole month has absolutely flown by
writers supporting writers with every simple reply.

Brought together by the crew at Two Writing Teachers
we found community, support, writing our features.

Each day brought inspiration and sometimes partial stress
but I published, supported, and felt some success.

I personally loved the connections I made
reading their words cured days where I felt dismayed.

Until next March, in my notebook I will reflect,
on the slices each day that I will collect.

Much love and respect to you all I send now
31 days of writing, that’s really just…WOW!!!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

03/30/22 Snippets

"Dandelion Puffs"
Beautiful weed grows
like yellow rays of sunshine
vanishing to clouds

"Early April Morning"
Building nests of mud
sparrows chriping in their homes
drinking drops of dew

"Ontario"
water lapping shores
of gray beaches; cries from gulls
dancing in the waves

"Blanets of Clouds"
muted gray clouds blow
across the sky, smothering
life in their dark wake

"Showers"
rain races down stone
walls quenching the thirsty grass
flowers bloom brightly

03/29/22 Right now…

Inspired by M. McCormick’s slice from a few days ago.

Right now I am…

:: volunteering at Brockport’s annual Diversity Conference, encouraging sleepy college students that being able to see Nikole Hannah Jones speak is an incredible opportunity.

:: staring at students looking at their phone while I look at a blank wall.

:: planning the display I create with students to fill the wall at our fireside lounge within the student union

:: wondering why they call it the fireside lounge if there isn’t the implied fireplace anywhere.

:: listening to the men on their break talk about the radio show segment from this morning’s commute – coincidentally it’s the same segment that I heard too.

:: debating whether or not I should jump into their conversation.

:: smelling the aromas of Subway’s bread baking in preparation for lunch.

:: remembering my mom and gram eating at the Subway in the Olean mall. Its location was across from the old McDonalds and they were snobbishly eating their black forest ham sub judging those across the way with happy meals.

:: laughing at the irony because my friend who worked at Subway told me how their bread is full of toxins and they treat their high school employees like garbage…at least in Fredonia.

03/28/22 – March Snow

December.

the sound of a snowplow at 5:33am

holding breath; waiting for the phone to ring

sneaking a peek out the blinds

praying for mountains of snow

March.

the sound of a snowplow at 5:33am

holding breath; forcing the jaw to unclench

practicing slow breaths while closing the blinds

praying the wind dies down enough to keep the snow out of your coat collar.

03/27/2022 – Milk Sloshing

I grabbed the plastic gallon of milk out of the fridge

jovial and animated, swooping around

gathering the mug and Milano cookies.

My hands still warm from doing the dishes when

the milk sloshed up through the

hollow handle of the carton.

The cold on my palm stopped me.

I looked at my hand, startled by my pause yet

somehow smirking.

I shook the carton just enough,

watching the milk slosh

the sensation of movement in my hands.

from somewhere behind me, “What are you doing?”

“I don’t exactly know.”

03/26/22 – On this day in 1983…

On this day in 1983, I officially became a living, breathing member of society and with every full orbital rotation, I feel compelled to reflect on the past year while looking forward to the next.

Today’s reflection is inspired by last year’s post: NYT 7 Q’s/Bday Reflections. I had to modify the questions because the originals were connected to the pandemic and for me, the pandemic’s restrictions have been lifted and life is slowly getting back to normal. I still wear a mask at the grocery store, but the fear I felt last year at this time has been reduced (thank you, vaccinations).

What’s one thing you made this year?

I helped build our horse barn. We officially broke ground on July 31, 2021 and spent every day in August laboring in the summer heat, moving dirt fill, raising trusses, moving crushed concrete, applying plywood to the roof.

Every weekend during the fall was spent roofing.

Every weekend in November and into December hardboard secured the walls and windows enclosed the space.

January and early February brought work-stalling snow. Inside the barn we built the doors. And now we are in March, the doors are installed, window trim is being placed, the fence will be installed and hopefully soon the horses will come home.

What Ralph calls, “Janeen’s Horse House.”

What part of life have you turned to?

I turn to my daily walks with Maple. I listen to my podcasts, I listen to the birds and I watch for little moments each season brings. The praying mantis egg sacks in the spring are bringing a lot of peace. I am excited to see them hatched and eating the aphids in our garden.

Mantis egg sack

Did you have any particularly bad ideas?

No. I overthink everything so I rarely have “particularly bad” ideas…just some that are less successful than others. Buying a row machine wasn’t the best idea, but I wouldn’t quantify as “particularly bad”. That and not bringing more pants and sweatshirts to Arizona when we visited in February…

What’s a moment this year you’ll always remember?

Going to Scottsdale in December to attend my judge’s school, getting into graduate school, and building the barn. These moments will shape who I am for the next decade of my life as their impact are the most long-lasting.

I will forever remember Ralphie pushing my hand away when we landed in Phoenix. He had been so nervous about flying, but by the end he didn’t even need me; looking out the window in awe at the lights in the night.

What sustained you this past year?

Ralph. His support gets me through everything.

Ralph

What do you want to achieve before this time next year?

I think that my “r” certification level (Arabian horse judge) is certainly achievable by this time next year. I am also hoping I haven’t failed the 4 grad courses I will have completed. I guess we will see.

03/25/22 – sour mood

In Wegmans today, Ralphie grabbed my leg and told me that he hoped I would feel less sad soon. I know kiddo. There were a lot of people around, the sounds and lights were too much and I was trying to find solid ground for my nerves.

I am usually pretty good at hiding the sour from him, but today he picked up on it enough to feel compelled to give me a hug. He knows my love language is physical touch. It got me through to our driveway.

He ran off to play while dinner was cooking and I actively told myself, “get your crap together, determine what’s actually bothering you, and/or get the heck over it.” Strange how I included the “and/or” right? I had this whole debate in my head:

1) figure “it” out and get over it

2) OR don’t figure “it” out, but still get over it.

Trying to cure the sour reminds me of a Charlie Day meme; mapping out the triggers and the reactions and the roads to possible mental healing. I have been working and working to get myself out of this mental funk.

I did walk the back paths with Maple, but 45 minutes of sunshine is only 45 minutes of sunshine and the news podcasts I usually listen to are dedicated to Ukraine and it makes my heart heavy and my personal frustrations feel frivolous.

I did meditate. I used my app, my friend and I went through our box method, the 3, 2, 1 methods, more of the youtube calming music.

I did bird watch but ultimately felt frustration that the desired bird denied me of its presence.

I did allow myself to watch TV to see if I needed mindless matter (it actually made it worse).

I did talk to my sister because her problems actually make my problems dwarf, but I ended up angry about barn cats, my mother’s health insurance, and mean roosters.

I did run into a cousin, but couldn’t even muster through the small talk without visualizing a perfectly delivered, solid throat punch to his ignorant, white-privilege face.

I did volunteer for a field trip to go “mapling” and I celebrated the spring open house at Ralphie’s elementary school. His art, his reading, and his stories are what have gotten me through to this point.

I did listen to music: soft, slow, my favorites, Taylor Swift, Encanto, Ralph’s favorites – all increased the size of my hackles.

I did work and effectively crossed items off of my to-do list. The normal satisfaction stripped away by the sour.

I cleaned. I took a long shower. I snuggled Maple so fiercely. I read. I wrote.

I am at a current loss which is why I am writing and posting so late.

Not fishing for praise or affirmations. I am just hoping that this act of venting will get me through to next Tuesday when my next scheduled session of help will give me more formal guidance.

03/24/22 couch

I’m on the couch tonight because Maple couldn’t be upstairs. I felt for her sitting down in the dark all alone. I could hear her whimpering; questioning where I was and why I wasn’t sleeping snuggled up with her.

I am sleeping on the couch tonight. Big fluffy comforter and my pillow. Miss Maple snuggling content in my arms. Yet all that’s on my mind is I flossed my bottom teeth too hard… they hurt.

03/23/22 I was raised on…

My house my rules…

– my mother
so much resentment stems from this, but spiteful actions have made me more independent. I purchased my first car at 18 after being told the variation, "my keys my rules." Fine. I will buy my own car and your rules can kiss my a$$.

Enough blue in the sky to sew a dutchman a pair of pants…

– my mother
this one always made me laugh when we were trying to decide whether to go to the state park, take off the poncho, or to determine if it was safe to go berry picking

You make your own weather…

– my mother
always with me. It reminds me that I can control how I feel in any given situation. It used to be said passive agressivly, but now I live it in earnest.

This is your project, not mine…

– my mother
the reliance on caregivers never even occured to me when I was younger. Quality work that deserved awards had to come from me...because it is my project. Not someone elses.
Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

03/22/22 – American Woodcocks

Last spring, Ralphie and I were wandering the back paths. Nothing on our minds, just a chance to connect with the quiet after a long day. We noticed a brown fluff on the ground and as we approached we saw a unique-looking bird, with large black eyes and a long beak. We didn’t know what this poor deceased bird was called, but we did know that it was one that didn’t frequent the feeders.

Using Google Lens we discovered it was an American Woodcock. We opened up Youtube videos to watch their “come-mate-with-me dance”, read about them on Cornell’s Ornithology app, and listened to their varied calls. As soon as I heard the call, I knew that was a sound I couldn’t quite place for the past month. It’s a short, yet loud and far-traveling “tzt”. When Woodcocks fly, they spiral, their wings making their own noise. On the ground, they have their own version of moonwalk dancing. It’s hard not to think of them as a favorite bird (don’t tell the Red-winged Blackbirds and Tufted Titmice).

We spent the remaining months of spring listening and trying to see one up close, but only ever saw them fly. We sat for hours watching and listening and hoping.

As the weeks passed, we knew that our time was waning. They migrate south around May and one night Ralphie said, “I think I should say good-bye to ‘Tzt,'” the name Ralphie gave our new friend. So we did. We waved and told the bird to have a safe trip south and hoped to see them in 2022. Strangely enough, it was the last night we heard their call. And so we waited.

Yesterday, while I was puttering around outside near dusk, I heard the distant “tzt”. Were my ears playing tricks on me? I dropped everything, ran to the sliding glass door and yelled, “Ralphie! Ralphie! Ralphie! come here! Quick!” Like he already knew, he squealed, “Tzt’s back??!?!?” Palpable excitement circled us.

We sat on the back patio in our lawn chair, looked past the barn and the field and waited to hear the return of our new springtime tradition.

American Woodcock Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Credit: Dave Small/USFWS volunteer
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