Slice of Life: Lucky 11:11, My Cactus Garden and #Here4theKids

May 30, 2023

Do you often see 11:11 on the clock? It is such a curiosity to me. It always reminds me of my junior high students in Granville, Iowa, who told me it was lucky. I never had paid attention before that. I thought it had something to do with Armistice Day, when the armistice ending World War I took effect on November 11 at 11 a.m. in 1918.

More than ever before, though, I am seeing 11:11 a.m. on my phone. (Never 11:11 p.m., for I am long in bed by then.) I’m spending way too much time on my phone in the mornings is the only explanation I can come up with. Is it a sign of being lucky that I’m retired that I see it so often?


Another morning this week

And on a recent trip, at the bike shop while my husband talked to the owner, I stared at the clock throughout the 11:11 minute. Then as I thought to take a photo, I caught this one. Look at that time: 11:12:01. Just missed it.

On another note, my cactus garden is coming along. (By the way, Kim, I neglected to answer you about whether there was a saguaro cactus in there. It is not a saguaro, which is much bigger in diameter and not native to our desert. I’m not good with the names of the cacti. I do love saguaros too; one of my favorite places is Saguaro National Park.)

I added the rocks around my cactus garden recently

Here are some Ocotillo stems I planted this week. They look very dead now, but I hope they will take root. See the tiny green leaves on one of the stems?

This is what it should eventually look like:

Image by Christine Kohler from Pixabay

This weekend my sister and I are going to Colorado to ask Governor Polis to do something sensible about guns.


Our yard is choked with
foxtails and storkbills
Superbloom year
Dried out, they prick and poke
Our solution: weed the yard

Our nation is choked with
assault rifles and handguns
Superbloom of fear
Locked and loaded, they destroy and kill
#Here4theKidsActions solution:
Weed the nation of guns

Let’s start in Denver on June 5

Slice of Life – On Planting Cacti and Kindness vs. Niceness

May 16, 2023

Keith and I planted a barrel cactus this week. Last year I planted that blue agave in the background.

Now my sister has brought over some clippings from other cacti. This evening, in the coolness and shade, I will plant these pieces and then trim the area with rocks to make a little cactus garden. More photos later.

Another thing on my mind this week is kindness and what it really means. See chapter 2 of White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better for more.

Kindness vs. Niceness

“Your nice is actually evil,”
Saira and Regina say,
“Kindness…is a killer to your niceness.”
Most of my life I haven’t considered
the two as being contrary–
though I do know the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
No mention of nice, nicer, nicest,
niceness, niceties, overnice…

One of my mother’s stated goals for all
her seven kids was that we would be nice.
A lifetime has brought me here, for
I became a nice success.
Now I find myself with further
unlearning to do.
So much of my niceness is driven by fear–
fear of standing out
fear of sitting in
fear of disappointing others
fear of making waves
fear of not being liked
fear of lacking strength
fear of fear of fear
to be, to do, to say the kind thing
sometimes kindness isn’t nice
always kindness isn’t easy
fear doesn’t have to be the winner
be kind

I just went outside and finished step 1. The rocks are a bigger deal. Maybe tomorrow.

Slice of Life – Anniversary Trip

May 9, 2023

We are in the middle of an anniversary trip to the beach. Here are a few slices of our week in photos…

Painted murals in Carlsbad Village
So many beautiful plants and trees in this Mediterranean climate
Anniversary lunch at Taste of the Himalayas
Keith and the Nepali flag
So much coffee and tea

Perfect weather and beautiful sunsets
My partner for 40 years

Slice of Life – I’m Just Very Fearful

May 2, 2023

“I’m just very fearful,” the white woman said at a school board meeting. (See video at the end.)

Actually, I’m not very fearful. My white privilege has put me in a position where I don’t have to fear living in my skin. I have two amazing daughters who have their own families now. And, bonus: this week my younger daughter and her dear husband are working from our home. Their  offices have been moving around our place based on several factors–whether or not they are in a meeting, which porch has the perfect sunniness, where the wind shelters them, and today they’ve moved indoors because of the cold morning.

I get to spoil my cubs with good cooking like this morning’s breakfast of Lemon-Blueberry Dutch Baby.

On a more serious note, “I’m just very fearful” about the people who are so afraid of losing their position of white supremacy that they are killing others.

I remember when my kids were little there was a report, likely after a census, that predicted when the number of non-white people in America would surpass the number of white people. It was going to be by the year 20?? (I forget). It hasn’t happened yet, but lately I have noticed the impending change has cemented the culture of “white supremacy,” proving it is alive and sick in America. The fear that white supremacy might come undone seems to feed the ubiquitous gun culture too. This fear has gripped the lives of so many that now they are shooting neighbors and innocent travelers, not just nefarious intruders. Racism, white supremacy, religious fundamentalism, the history of the second amendment, and guns–they are all eternally entwined.

The following poem is written in the voice of a member of Moms for Liberty. (Watch the video below in Kenny Akers’ tweet. The quote “I’m just very fearful” comes from her statement at the school board meeting.

I’m just very fearful
Impossible to be cheerful
Replacement makes me tearful

I’m just very fearful
My white children will feel too awful
if you tell them their history is bad-full

I’m just very fearful
Do I worry he will grow up to pull
the trigger? — I’m just very fearful

Slice of Life – A Berry Sundae and an Arnold Palmer

April 24, 2023

We went to Sam’s Club today. It was the first time we had been there because we had a coupon for a $10 membership.  We found quite a few things that were on our grocery list. Then instead of buying sparkling water, which I like to have at home, we bought a Terra Sodastream, which was on sale for $51. It’s pretty slick and makes very bubbly water, and now I won’t buy sparkling water in aluminum cans anymore. Next, at the Sam’s Café, I ate a frozen yogurt berry sundae. Delicious!

Then we went to Starbuck’s for my husband to get a coffee. I wasn’t going to have anything (because of that sundae). While we were there waiting for Keith’s coffee, the barista asked him what his drink was. They seemed to have lost/missed his order. Then before the barista started making his coffee, he asked Keith if he wanted the iced tea that was sitting there. Keith asked him why–it was a venti Arnold Palmer, half lemonade and half black tea. He explained they had accidentally made two. Keith, who knows me and how that is one of my favorite drinks, said yes he would like it. It seemed ordained. Even though I didn’t need it, it was delicious!


Slice of Life – Working on a Temperature Blanket

April 18, 2023

Last year I made a temperature blanket for our home using up some old yarn that was in our house. I wrote about it last year.

This year I decided to try another temperature blanket for my grandson. I’m making four panels using rainbow colors based on the daily high temperature, as recorded on Weather Underground. I created this spreadsheet to help me keep track.

The first panel begins in June on the day of his birth. Of course, since we are in the northern hemisphere it’s summer, and the panel is mostly red, orange and yellow. That first column starts with a third of June, then all of July and August, and ends with two-thirds of September. There is a thin white line between months. There will be three more panels, and later I’ll stitch them altogether.

After finishing the first column, I was running low on the warm colors, so I skipped the second and started the third column. Now I’m noticing columns one and three look conflicting, so I’m hoping the autumnal second column will help tie these two together. Yesterday, we were out of town, so I was able to buy the yarn that I needed to finish. It’s due in June for a first birthday party!

Slice of Life – Vegan Junk Food and Prime Numbers

April 11, 2023

Prime numbers: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23. Today, as I wrote them out, I first added the number 9. What? How long has it been since I thought of prime numbers? How soon do we forget what we know? Anyway, I did remember 3×3, so there’s that!

Today for the #Verselove prompt, we used prime numbers for the syllable count of each line. I wrote an abstract poem about homelessness>home or maybe falsehood>truth.

For my slice of life, I thought I would do what Bridget Magee is doing each week in 2023. She takes a photo from her camera roll and writes 23 words about it.

Here is my version today, two prime numbers: a collage of three photos with 23 words about them.

Mine: Brown, goopy, tasty but unwholesome

His: rainbow of veggies, garden on a bun

Both vegan. Why do I make junk food choices?




Slice of Life – On Choices in Reading and Banning Books

4 April 2023 Slice of Life at

It’s good to be back here with you on just Tuesdays this month! One of the posts I read last month, I am still remembering with fondness today. It was at Trish’s Jump Off; Find Wings. She wrote a letter to Jane Yolen. It was warm and personal, and it sent me right away to the library to check out the two books she mentions:

  1. The Devil’s Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen, a powerful Holocaust story that treats young people with the ability to handle truth, even when it is difficult.
  2. Attack of the Black Rectangles, by Amy Sarig King, a story of censorship of children’s books, including The Devil’s Arithmetic, “for the good of the children,” Jane Yolen makes a heroic appearance in this book defending freedom to read. Attack of the Black Rectangles is based in part on a true event that happened to the author’s own child.

Since I had just finished the books, for my #Verselove poem today I thought about writing about censorship. I first wrote out some coherent thoughts. Because the prompt was to write in a grammatically ungrammatical way, I thought I would try that later.

When we ban and censor books
our children come to the conclusion
that we are afraid of them,
that we don’t trust them.
We make book sales go up,
not because of their content
but because of interest
sparked in the banning
What if we let our children and youth
decide what to read
based on their interests?
Not ours.

Then I went to change it up, to write as our mentor Jennifer Guyor Jowett did–writing grammatically ungrammatically–turning nouns into verbs, modifying nouns with adverbs, and so forth. It was fun, and I think the product is much better than the thoughts I wrote out first.  What do you think?

When we ginger
around delicating and timiding
our adolescents
and children
with afraidness and frailitude,
when we “don’t-read-that” them–
our hungry people young–
we lose and abuse them.
we disaster education
and failure
failing to represent their
sacred wholly wings
represented for flightfully
library wholeness