The Tree

(I was away last week, enjoying a vacation in Hilton Head, SC.  Came home with a horrible case of sinusitis, ear infections, laryngitis.  That’ll teach me to take a vacation!  Anyway, I’m back, and taking the week off while I recover from this ugly mess.)

stumpsPHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The little boy, hands stuffed like balls into his front pockets,  kicked his way through the wood, bark, and sawdust. His tree.  His friend, shelter, confidante.  It was hacked down and sliced like bologna,  because some kind of disease had made it weak. Sick. Dead.

Life just isn’t fair.


Stay Home!


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Have you ever had to stifle a cough or a sneeze?  Especially one that takes you by surprise?  They’re the worst because you aren’t prepared.

I’m sick. I don’t think it’s flu, because my temp is normal.  Just a slight spike yesterday, back to normal today.  Still, I have all the other symptoms. The cough is painful. So is my throat.  Ears itch. Nose is either stuffy or runny or both. Body aches. Well, maybe it is the flu. I should probably call my doc, but my normal temp is 97. No doctor has ever been very concerned if it goes to 99, but for me that’s a high temperature.

Well, anyway, back to stifling that cough and sneeze. On the airplane, flying home from a week on Hilton Head, the quarters are so close it’s hard not to breathe each other’s air. I kept tissues  in my hand the whole way so I could cover up with them, stifling my cough or sneeze. 9001-42856

I saw a couple of people on the plane wearing surgical masks.  I don’t know if they were protecting themselves or all the rest of us, but it’s not a bad idea, especially during flu season.

I think that I’m going to have to stifle my urge to return to work tomorrow.  No sense in sharing this misery with anyone else.

And please, if you’re a client of mine, PLEASE don’t come to see me if you have anything contagious! Stay home. Rest, Hydrate.

This too shall pass.

A Shocking Array


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Electric shock.  A shock of surprise. A shocking development. Shocking news. Going into shock.  A shock of blond hair.  Shock and awe.


Say the word shock ten times, fast, and you’ll be laughing.

You can shock someone with unexpected news, making them very upset or very elated.

Sometimes  I have felt the shock of a mild earthquake.  Since I grew up in the midwest, where earthquakes hardly ever happen, I had no idea what was going on when I experienced my first one in Portland, Oregon, when I was 12 or 13.  Yeah, that was a bit shocking.

You can turn white from shock, as the blood drains from your face.  Why doesn’t the blood drain from your feet, upward?  I guess that wouldn’t be draining, which carries the sense of down, not up. Still.

My kids used to think it was fun to slide across the carpet in the winter and then touch each other, creating a spark of shock.

Of course, falling in love can create a spark of shock, too, but of a totally different nature.

I think I’ve about worn out my options, so I’ll stop.

Spaceship Training?

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

“Zing, look!  That machine is like a spaceship, but they forgot to close the cover!  And each of those buckets has small human—children?–trapped in it. Listen to them scream!  We should help them!”

“Zang, you’re always so impulsive. Just wait.  We need to do good recon. Look, nothing happens–they just go around and around. ”

“I wonder why?  Maybe they are training the children for space flight.”

“Maybe.  It’s not a very good system, though.”

The machine slowed to a stop, and the children  dismounted. They laughed and chattered their way to the next ride.

A Brown Study


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I went to the study to study my study guide.  My studied concentration did nothing to clarify the information, and I fell into a brown study as I studied  material that made no sense to me.

So I studied on the idea of a cup of tea and the book I’m reading, and it seemed like a much better idea.


a brown study:  discouragement

A brown study.  What an interesting phrase.  Here’s a little description:

Brown does refer to the colour, but it seems that in the late medieval period it could also mean no more than dark or gloomy and it was then transferred figuratively to the mental state. A study at that time could be a state of reverie or abstraction, a sense of the word that is long since obsolete.

And that’s all I have this morning.

Ways to be Static


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Opposite of dynamic. To be dynamic is to move and grow, so be static is to stay still, to remain  unmoving. 1

Static, unmoving–but scary as all get-out.


Static is also what we get in our hair and clothing in the cold, dry winter air.  We used to enjoy the way our oldest son’s hair would stand straight up when he was a toddler, moving whichever way we moved out hands just above his head.  And I, for one, was very thankful to the folks who created the spray that cuts down on static cling. staticelectr


Static is also what you hear when there’s a poor radio or telephone connection.



It can also mean ‘angry or critical talk or behavior.” Just don’t give me any static.


Aromas I Love


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To bring or recall to the conscious mind.

I’ve slowly and almost completely lost my sense of smell. Too many sinus infections, nasal sprays, antibiotics, I guess.  So for me, it has to be the memory of aromas that I loved. Those memories are evocative, and almost always in a positive way.

For instance, it’s raining right now. When I was a little girl in Minneapolis, I loved the smell of rain on the hot concrete of the street and the sidewalks in the summer. It was unique, a smell I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed since then in exactly the same way. icoportf

I also loved the smell of rain when we lived in a southern Minnesota farm town when I was in high school.  The rich, earthy smell of the fields was intensified by the rain, which was always a welcome reprieve from the humid heat of August.

Winter rain was a new experience for me in both Portland, Oregon when we moved there from Minnesota, and again here in southeastern Pennsylvania.  I’ll never forget that it rained on Christmas Day the first year we were here, in 1974.  I couldn’t believe it. I had grown up in White Christmas Land, and rain was just not okay.

Other smells I’ve loved and now miss:  bread baking, roasting turkey, ham, or beef; freshly-cut grass; expensive perfume; roses; baby powder and shampoo; sheets brought fresh from the clothesline and put on the bed. Coffee.  So many other things.

I can still smell some things if I get them close enough to my nose.  Lavender, for one.  I love that smell. My daughter keeps me supplied with  lavender hand soap and goat milk soap.  I know  a lot of people thinks it’s an old-fashioned smell, but then so many of the things I’ve listed are also old-fashioned, I guess.

The memories all these things evoke are warm, wonderful, and welcome.  I miss my sense of smell.


Meanings and Memories


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Carve a turkey. Carve one’s initials on a tree. Rock carvings.  Wood carvings.  Power saw wood carving.

Carving out a path.  A river carves a path in many different directions.

Carving out a peace treaty.  Carving a friendship.  Soap carving.  Ice carvings. Decorative carving on furniture or any other wood in the house.

I remember the beautiful wood in a house we rented when I was in 3-4 grade. There was a built-in buffet, with a mirror, posts on the sides, and drawers for storing linens and so forth.

Image result for built-in carved wood buffet in an old house

Not exactly like ours, but it has the same feel.

The dining room table had wonderful carved feet, just about the only things I enjoyed dusting.  I would crawl under there and go to all sorts of places in my imagination while I wiped the dust away.

Image result for old-fashioned circular wooden dining  table with carved feet

Again, not exactly the same, but similar. And there were extenders that made it an oval table when we had lots of company.

We had what we called an end table beside our sofa.  Looking back, I’m wondering if it was a pie crust table. It was pretty, with carving along the edges and in the wedges of the table, as well as on the pedestal.

Well, looking at the pictures on Google images, I don’t think it was a pie crust table.  But I did find one that is similar to a table in my office at work. It has that harp in the pedestal, a very pretty piece.

Image result for pie crust table

Wood is so beautiful, and the artisans who carve it are amazing to me. So is the English language, actually. So many uses for just one little word.  Amazing.

The Web


Ruth stared at the web, twiddling her fingers and humming.  Over and over the same gestures and the same melody.  Her voice was cracked, her hand so arthritic that her fingers barely moved.

“What is she thinking?” whispered Ellen, Ruth’s daughter.

“Hard to say,”responded the nurse.  We don’t  know, at this advanced stage, if there is any cognition.”

Ellen’s son, who was eight, walked up to his grandmother.

“Hi, Grammy. Can I sing with you?”

No response.

So Brady started singing, using his hands to do the motions.

“The itsy bitsys spider went up the water spout. . . ”

Ruth smiled.




Weather and Intelligence


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It’s a brilliant day here in my corner of Pennsylvania.

Image result for brilliant winter day in southeastern PA

We had a little snow yesterday, not enough to matter, and the sky was cloudy all day.  But today things have cleared, the sky is that wonderful winter blue, and best of all?  It’s going to get up to 40º above zero!  Yay!  It will feel like spring!

On a totally different plane, today Google is honoring Har Gobind Khorana, the man who figured out all about our DNA.  That’s a different kind of brilliance.  I’ve always wished I had a science/math mind, but I just don’t.  Give me a string of words to remember 20 minutes later, and I’ll have them all.  Give me a phone number and it leaks out the opposite ear just about as soon as it goes into the other.

I can’t do math in my head unless it’s only three or four figures, like 36 plus 43.  I have to think about it, but I can do it.

So I have great admiration for people like Khorana, who can hold all the intricacies of science in their brains and connect them all together. I respect that, and they have contributed immense amounts of valuable information to our world.

You know what, though?  I wish all the math/science people had as much respect for MY kind of contributions as I do for theirs.  Language, grammar, literature, poetry, history, the study of the human mind (non-scientific–more on the philosophical plane) are also invaluable contributions.

Of course, not all the science/math people look askance at  the rest of us.  In fact, many of them also excel in musical pursuits, just for example.  Think what a drab world it would be without the mathematics of music, or of art.

But right now I need to go to work and struggle with the intricacies of the human thinking process, so off I go.

I hope you all have a BRILLIANT day 🙂