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



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 – 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

April 29 #Verselove – Rewrite, Redo

Rewrite, Redo with Scott McCloskey, April 29, 2024


What Francisco Oropeza Could Have Said Last Night Instead of Shooting and Killing His Neighbors

Oh, yes, of course, I’ll stop shooting in my yard!
I guess I didn’t realize it was already 11.
I probably didn’t need that last beer.
Yes, yes, your baby needs to sleep.
How about if we sit outside and visit?
I know we’ve quarreled in the past,
and I’m sorry about that.
But I’ve heard you are a kind bunch—
You have a big family, don’t you?
Can I get you a Coke or a cup of herb tea?
Let’s sit on the porch and visit for a while.

Poetry Friday – On Gun Violence

Thank you, Karen Edmisten, for hosting Poetry Friday today and so glad you are here celebrating journals, life, and poetry month today.

This month I am digging through magnetic words with Laura Salas and others. We are making tiny poems. Yesterday, when I saw the words fear and arm in the upper left hand corner, I knew I had to write about guns.

The titles needed to be north, south, east, west or directions. While these titles didn’t really fit, I figured West was most appropriate. Historically, we’ve acted as if the west is more civilized–[read white supremacy]–but we are proving yet again this is not the case. Here is what I wrote yesterday for Laura’s challenge:

Don’t Go West
mind crush
armed up
for delirious fear

Then yesterday and today at #Verselove, I couldn’t write about anything else. Here is a Fibonacci poem inspired by some of the words above.

On Being Armed in America
crush life
with fear of losing–
Don’t drive. Don’t ring. And don’t mistake.
Don’t be six, and retrieve your ball from next door.

On Thursday morning, I heard Anand Giridharadas speak on “anonymous trust.” He also wrote a beautiful and haunting article called, “Kaylin, Ralph, and the death of anonymous trust.” After reading it, I wrote a septercet sonnet:

Anonymous Trust Cracking
Kaylin and friends are driving
by mistake to the wrong place
without a word, she’s shot dead
Ralph’s out to pick up brothers
by mistake he rings the wrong
door–no hearing why–just shot
the great accomplishment of
modern societies is
anonymous trust. But now
America’s is cracking.
We are reverting to past:
moated castles need defense.
Democracy requires
a bit of faith in others

March 29 – Joys, War, and Death

March 29, 2023

Besides making tostadas for my sister and me, taking a walk around Abel’s Mountain, and spending an hour with my grandson while he spun in circles on his tummy and ate a good dinner, I also had some difficult issues on my mind.

Because of a movie he saw recently, my husband has been thinking of the futility of war, and especially how it relates to what Putin is doing in Ukraine We had this conversation this morning:

“I can’t get All Quiet on the Western Front out of my mind. Aggression in war is so foolish. Why…? Pride…? Stupidity…? Evil…?” my husband mused.

“Yes,” I said.

“There is never a good outcome,” he said. Then he played this song for us to listen to: (lyrics here)

The other thing on my mind, of course, is gun violence. Yesterday, six more people were gunned down in school: Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, each 9 years old; and Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61. May they rest in peace. I wrote a letter to my Republican representative today asking him to be brave and do the right thing. You can read a copy here, if you want to.

I can’t believe all the gaslighting that goes on for schools to keep having lockdown drills and expecting our children to plan to get shot up in school. This is ludicrous and does not happen in other countries. When are we going to demand action?

How do you interpret this cartoon? Has this phrase become an idol?
I think Congress and the Courts need to spend more time rethinking what this line means

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!