Memories of Poems. Memorized Another Day, Another Time. Always Remembered.

Memorizing poems

 

 

Four of my most loved poems…kept safely in my memory. There are days that we can always use beautiful words…at least, that is how it seems to me!

 

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Caged Bird

By…Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

 

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing tree

sand the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

 

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

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Where the Sidewalk Ends

By…Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know…

The place where the sidewalk ends.

 

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Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

By…Emily Dickinson

‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

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poetry three

If

By…Rudyard Kipling

 

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

 ***The following is a link to a post from my blog…from February 15, 2017…about a graduate school professor who required that each student in our class would memorize “If” by Rudyard Kipling. We were one group of fearful adults!!

 

https://kindergartenknowledge.com/2017/02/15/kipling-if-and-graduate-school/

 

poetry two

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/memorize/

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Rhyme or Reason Not Apparent on the Texas Gulf Coast. Resilience…Apparent.

Houston three

At first silent and hidden, the deep turbulence in the Gulf of Mexico was waiting to rise to the surface. Who knew the future of the storm? Who knew the extent of the storm? Who knew that water would virtually fill familiar parts of Houstona city populated by 2.3 million people? Who knew about the inevitable and ensuing destruction of fun and lively Port Aransas? Who knew about what dismal travesty Hurricane Harvey would bring to Rockport and Victoria…and on and on and on. Who really knew?

 

Houston one

 

No rhyme or reason. Warnings. Disbelief. Some stayed. Some left. Decisions. Who will help the helpless? Who will help the very young and the very old? Where to go? What to take? Why?

 

Houston seven

 

And yet…the resilience of of the hurricane victims is unbelievable. Volunteers who own boats very quickly arrived to assist the professionals in the hundreds of rescues. The First Responders have worked alongside unknown helpers…people who saw a need and dropped everything in their lives to respond to the crisis. Just as I was writing this post, I heard the following statement on the evening news by a Houston resident…

“We have been blessed by the virtues of strangers.”

 

AND WE ALL HAVE BEEN BLESSED BY OBSERVING THE ACTS OF THOSE STRANGERS.

 

hpuston tw

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rhyme/

 

 

 

 

 

Trying To Inhabit My Old Self.

train your brain

Today is day #18 since I had a sudden stroke while we were on our vacation in Colorado. I wrote a post on August 17 about the frightening ordeal, but I am just now realizing the mental ramifications. My stroke was mild compared to most. I was lucky…no doubt about it.

 

However, as the neurologist at the hospital said when I mentioned going home…”Do you not realize that you had a STROKE? Think about it. This is a very serious situation.”

“YOU CANNOT GO HOME IMMEDIATELY!”

“We have to put together a plan to keep it from happening again.”

 

 

don't get down

 

 

THE POWER OF REALITY HITS HOME…

Some of the realities that have made me feel like there is a stranger inhabiting my own body…

 

1. I still cannot write with my right hand. I try to print, but a three year old would be much more successful. When I had some lab work completed this morning, I was told by the receptionist to sign in and wait for my name to be called. Are you kidding?  I wrote a crooked and not at all legible “Pat”. No last name. No birth date.

2. When I try to walk, I tend to veer severely to the right. It is like my car when the tires are not aligned correctly. Or when the steering wheel needs some heavy handed assistance to work smoothly.

3. I forget about my right hand not working correctly and repeatedly try to hold items. It doesn’t matter how heavy or how light, I won’t make it far without quickly dropping something.

4. I am unbelievably tired…100% of the time. My ability to focus is nearly non-existent. That is the reason that my posts have been so sporadic. I know exactly what I want to write for my post, but I cannot seem to stay with the task for several hours like I could prior to the stroke. This ability should return…I hope.

5. Really…I am not going to mention anything else. I don’t like to sound like I am a pitiful and whining puddle of emotions. Especially when I know good and well that I came out on the positive side compared to the majority of people having strokes. I just need to get my act together and find myself again…because I know that I can!

 

 

heart quote

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/inhabit/

 

Trinidad, Colorado…A Hidden Treasure!

 

Trinidad, mountains in distance

Trinidad, Colorado with the Rocky Mountains in the distance!

When we drive to Colorado from Texas, we always stop for the first night in the historic, quirky and artsy town of Trinidad. We happened to discover Trinidad on our first driving trip to Colorado…when our children were young and we were naive about traveling with a totally talkative four year old and a totally curious nine year old. Frankly, we thought that it might take two days to get out of Texas. We sort of regretted informing them of the significance of those Historical Markers!

 

It seems like we stopped at every single marker and were informed many miles ahead of when to expect another. Therefore, we could not make it to our first intended overnight stop. Cancel the reservation in Colorado Springs! Trinidad…you better get ready for us!

 

We found a Best Western or maybe a Holiday Inn. Tired. It’s a long drive from Fort Worth to Colorado! The next morning we drove around the town and immediately encountered a very inebriated guy standing and trying to direct traffic (not in a synchronized manner) in the middle of Main Street. There was no traffic, but he did look rather happy and disturbed at the same time. Our two children were shocked and disgusted (to say the least) by the sight. They talked about it on each subsequent Colorado trip.

 

garden two

Garden in downtown Trinidad

 

Naturally, we planned to stop in Trinidad for the first night of our recent Colorado trip. A friend asked why in the world would we stay THERE. I must have gotten a bit carried away talking about the street guy. She had remembered the incident for over twenty years. Really…she and her husband were not even going on the trip!

 

TRINIDAD IS A TRADITION FOR US! THE TOWN HAS CHANGED IMMEASURABLY IN THE LAST FEW YEARS…I GUESS THAT YOU COULD SAY THAT TRINIDAD REALLY DID SOME GROWING UP!!

 

Building in Trinidad

Ornate downtown Trinidad building

 

According to official visitor information…”Few towns in Colorado have undergone such  dramatic transformations as Trinidad. Just north of the New Mexico border and Raton Pass, Trinidad was a stop on the Santa Fee Trail and home  to trappers, trader and early ranchers in the 1800s”

 

Main Street in Trinidad, 1800s

Main Street in Trinidad, late 1880s

 

What to see and what to do in Trinidad… according to information from the Trinidad Welcome Center…

 1. History buffs will want to visit the Trinity History Museum. The museum showcases the Santa Fe Trail and how Trinidad played such a vital role as southeastern Colorado commerce developed. The museum includes the Corazon de Trinidad Historic District’s Boca House and Bloom Museum collections.

2. Prehistoric humans have lived in the nearby Trinchera Cave for thousands of years. Artifacts can be found at the Louden-Henritze Archeology Museum.

3. Camping, boating, fishing and hiking can be enjoyed at Trinidad Lake State Park.

4. Comanche National Grasslands is home to Picket Wire Canyonlands…the location of one of the most extensive dinosaur sites in North America.

5. Trinidad has been named a Certified Colorado Creative District. The Southern Colorado Repertory Theater  is an important part of the district.

6. Santa Fe Trail Days is a Trinidad event in June that celebrates the historic trail. Artocade in September features a parade of artfully decorated cars.

 

 

Trinidad, Colorado…cultural and yet still a bit wild…and that is what makes this southeastern Colorado town an interesting stop for us!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/synchronize/

Our Vacation Interruption. A Stroke. Surely Not Me.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado…photo by kindergartenknowledge.com

At least the scenery was spectacular when I had a stroke last week…no warning! One moment fine. One moment not at all fine!

 

Driving through the winding mountain roads near Winter Park in Colorado, the views were beautiful. Hairpin curves were prevalent…way too prevalent for the speeds of some of the other drivers! I’ve been to Colorado many times…on much more curvy roads at much higher elevations, but this drive through the mountains was particularly nerve-racking!

I had no idea how nerve-racking the drive would get. I suddenly realized that I could not bend my pointer finger when I tried to pick up my cell phone after I dropped it on the floor of our car. Within a minute or two, the entirety of my right hand was numb. Strange feeling. Odd feeling. Frightening feeling. My husband and I had no idea what was causing the problem, but we knew that it occurred just as we were entering the higher elevation.

 

Pat

Before we received the stroke news…I was just enjoying the wonders of the Rocky Mountains! Evidently, I needed a hat to cover up my windblown hair!

 

We thought that surely the elevation was the culprit. Or was it? What had been unfurled upon us? I could not grip anything with my right hand. My cell phone felt like I was picking up a heavily weighted dumbbell. I would immediately drop my phone onto the floor of the car.

 

Mike

My husband appears much closer to the edge than me…no way would I stand that close! He had the sense to wear a hat in the windy weather!

 

I could not pick up my purse at all. I could not pick up a small bottle of water. I could not open the glove compartment with my right hand. I could not even begin to retrieve a single sheet of folded paper from a side pocket of my purse. My entire right hand had unfortunately been rendered virtually useless in a matter of less than four minutes. I had no warning at all.

After we finally arrived at our condo, I found that I could not walk without help from my husband. As we walked into the building, I could not seem to lift my right foot and found myself sliding my right foot the entire way inside. So scared. This was real. This was an event that came about like a quiet wind that turns into a hurricane overnight.

 

I most definitely had a stroke. Thank goodness…I had a mild stroke. The result could have been so much more complicated. It has been one week and I still have difficulty with my right hand.

 

Currently, there is no way that I can write or even begin to hold a pen. I can type with one hand, but working the mouse is almost impossible. My hand gets very tired and it does not even seem like a real hand. I look at my hand and I am certain that it belongs to someone else.

 

My walking seems to be getting worse, but should improve quickly after I begin physical therapy. I will have occupational therapy for my hand. In May, I completed a six month stint of physical therapy as a result of my back injury from a car accident.

 

If I am sent to the same physical therapy facility, I might as well be given a public relations position! For sure… I should get a parking place with my name on it!!

 

The good news is that we are back in Texas and had a wonderful time in Colorado despite the stroke! After we returned home, I spent one night in the hospital for a litany of tests. The MRI showed a very small blood clot on the left side of my brain which can most likely be resolved without surgery. All of the other tests turned out very normal!

 

So…that is our vacation story for this year! I am so sorry for my absence from writing my blog…I will try to catch up. I have stories to tell and lots of pictures to share! Besides…I miss everyone of you…my special friends from around the world!!

 

rainbow

A double rainbow that happened to appear on our way back through West Texas…a happy and promising sign in the midst of our worry!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unfurl/

 

 

Relax? Maybe Not At This Roadside Park!

 

Canyon-Falls-Roadside-Park

 

The sign on the side of the highway announces the much anticipated Roadside Park. Ten miles. Five miles. Finally. A little peace and quiet. Walk around a bit. Hey! There’s a playground at this one. Plus a visitor center. We hit the jackpot at this Rest Stop!

 

FAMILY VACATION! GOTTA’ LOVE THEM!

 

***So many hours driving through the relentless summertime traffic. Not to mention the construction. And that is before you even leave the city.

***So many hours listening to the chatter of little voices in the back seat. The metal toy car hitting your neck. Don’t worry. It’s ok.

***So many hours eating Cheetos and chocolate chips cookies from a Ziploc baggie. The M&M bag. Finished off that one.

***So many hours thinking about the so many hours that it will take to exercise away the quick fix energy treats. Just trying to stay awake and congenial at the same time.

***So many hours listening to music that you did not choose and would not ever, ever choose.  I know, I know…you can sing just like Bruno Mars. I heard you. Twelve long songs. And sure…you can shimmer and shake just like him. Really.

!

No matter what…family vacations are fun. And crazy. And busy. And tiring. And exciting. Twenty years from now…you will look at the pictures and remember only the best of the best moments. I think. I hope. 

 

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AND THEN YOU SEE THE SIGN! YOUR’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! EVERYBODY! GET IN THE CAR! QUICK!

 

““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““

FullSizeRender (1)

 

““““““““““““““““““““

AND THEN…THE OTHER SIGN. JUST TOO MUCH INFORMATION FOR ONE DAY!

 

FullSizeRender

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/shimmer/

 

 

Dinner from Thomas Jefferson’s Fish Pond…Fish with Lemon Cream Sauce. Served with Sweet Potato Biscuits!

 

Monticello two

 

 

A particularly special place to me at Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia is…

 

“THE FISH POND”

 

The pond is very near Monticello…the main house of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. In fact, the pond is a very short walk from the house and a handy place for the cooks to obtain the fish that might be needed for dinner. After we toured Monticello, I sat on a bench beside the pond for about thirty minutes. My imagination ran wild as I envisioned the comings and goings to the pond. Jefferson had several ponds across his property, but surely this pond was the most interesting. Right?

 

Our daughter along with my very best friend from college toured the immense gardens and heard stories about the vegetables that Jefferson introduced from his time in Europe. Interesting, but nothing to compare with that “Fish Pond”. Our daughter thought that I had lost my mind. Actually, I was lost in thought about the residence that I had hoped to visit for a long time. 

 

Monticello one

 

LOST IN THOUGHT ABOUT HISTORY AND HOW MUCH OUR DAILY LIVES HAVE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. WE SHOULD BE SO VERY THANKFUL.

 

As it turned out, I learned something that they missed on the garden tour… the Fish Pond near the house was a holding place for fish. The pond is not just another decorative addition to the amazing architectural wonders at Monticello…the pond serves a very important use. Fish that are caught in the Rivanna River and other convenient streams are kept in the pond until a meal calls for them. 

 

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Dining with Mr. Jefferson…

MENU

 

Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

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Mixed Garden Stuff with Monticello Dressing

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A Pie Called Macaroni

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Eggplant Napoleon with Herbed Ricotta in Tomato Cream Sauce

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Monticello Apple Cake

***Sample Menu from Dishing Up Virginia***

 

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Two Other Favorite Possibilities for Mr. Jefferson’s Dinner Menu…

 

tj fish recipe

 

 

***Pan-Seared Fish with Lemon and Butter Cream Sauce***

 

Ingredients:

 

Sauce…

1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup cold firm butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

 

Fish…

4 skinless medium-firm fish fillets (6 ounce each)…type of fish–your choice 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped and toasted hazelnuts

 

Directions:

  1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat wine, lemon juice and shallots to boiling over medium-high heat. boil uncovered for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half.

  2. Add whipping cream to pan and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil uncovered 6 minutes until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and add lemon peal. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, with wire whisk, adding the next piece only after the first has been completely beaten in and melted. When all of the butter has been beaten in, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and the white pepper. Cover to keep warm.

  3. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.

  4. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering and hot. Add fish and cook 3 minutes. Flip and cook 3 minutes longer or until edges begin to brown and fish flakes easily with fork.

  5. To serve, spoon sauce over fish and sprinkle with nuts.

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nutty-sweet-potato-biscuits

 

 

***Thomas Jefferson’sSweet Potato Biscuits from 1774***

 

This recipe is from the National Constitution Center (NCC), Philadelphia PA. According to the NCC, Thomas Jefferson’s biscuits were served at the first meeting of the First Continental Congress in 1774 and are served today at the famous City Tavern (built in 1773) located in Philadelphia’s historic district at 2nd and Walnut Streets.

 

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup sweet potato, mashed (about 1 large Virginia Sweet Potato)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

***Preheat oven to 450°F.***

 

Directions:

Combine the dry ingredients. Add butter with fork, food processor or pastry cutter until the texture is small crumbs.

Combine milk and sweet potatoes. Add to flour mixture. Add pecans.

Knead dough with your hands until it is a smooth mass. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2″ thickness and cut with a 2″ biscuit cutter.

Place on a greased baking sheet 2″ apart.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

ENJOY!!!