Friday, January 13, 2012

A Nut for Pens?

Blue ink is definitely best for writing. On my desk, in front of me, are a variety of pens (about 50). I have a (small) obsession about my writing pens. Maybe even OCD. Can’t even write my grocery list without just the right pen! Oh, yes, I even know when just one pen is missing!

I know it’s crazy but here’s where I indulge myself in my craziness. There are certain colors best for certain writing. Blue ink is best for creative writing, especially the blue-ink disposable “fountain pens”. Yes, disposable fountain pens! I have to order them on-line, but they are simply the best. They write smoothly and come in different colors. They last forever, if you write as little as I do, but the ink flows smoothly and the nibs aren’t scratchy.

Now, there. Not too up tight about my writing instruments, huh?

I could go into my writing preferences for other types of writing, but don’t want to bore you or have you think that I’m truly crazy.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Grandma’s house was made out of stone and sat perched on a hilltop accessed by a dirt road. You could sit on the screened-in porch in the summer and watch the cars go by on Route 151 at the foot of the hill. In the summer you could hike down the hill, go out to the highway, take a left and be at Coffey’s store in about five minutes time to purchase an orange and vanilla popsicle on a hot summer’s day.

In the winter time, at Christmas, this stone house on the hill became a land of enchantment. It nearly always snowed and was so cold that the outside water pump froze and real icicles pointed their daggers downward along the gutters. The house had a metal roof and was an orchestral symphony when freezing rain pounded the shingles during an ice storm.

Inside, the entire house smelled of wood burning in the wood stove in the kitchen and sitting room. The sitting room was where everyone gathered of an evening to talk about their day or just listen anxiously as stories of past Christmases were told once again. Always, just before Christmas my uncle would appear at the door in his Santa outfit to gather Christmas lists from me, my sister, brother and cousins. We could hardly wait for that special night. It was almost as good as Christmas morning.

Soon we would tire and climb the steep steps to our upstairs bedroom which consisted of two double beds, a dresser and mirror and, of course, a chamber pot. That cold metal beneath your little back end in the middle of the night was enough encouragement to wait until morning if at all possible. Occasionally accidents did happen, but nothing was ever mentioned about them. The next night there would be dry clean sheets again.

When morning came, everyone would arise at the break of day. There were chores to be done, cookies to be baked and for us kids, anticipation of the coming of Santa. It seemed that we ate all day long. If it wasn’t fresh cookies, it was hard candy, peanut butter fudge, marzipan, nuts, fresh tangerines, apples or oranges. Oh how good everything tasted!

Then there was that one magical Christmas … the Christmas when I saw the real Santa Claus. I had a bad cold and was allowed to sleep in a downstairs bedroom with my grandma. It was Christmas Eve and I was rubbed from my waist up with Vick’s Vaporub. I had a huge red kerchief tied around my neck to keep out, I don’t know what … drafts I guess. Everyone was asleep but me. I needed to find the potty.

I arose in the middle of the night or the wee small hours of the morning, tiptoed past my grandma’s dresser with the silver hand mirror and the blue bottles of Evening in Paris and pulled open the door that I thought was the way to the potty. Much to my surprise, there in my peripheral vision was a long white beard and long white hair topped off with a red pointed cap trimmed in white. I was so excited I didn’t make it to the potty! I ran back to my grandma’s bed, climbed into bed and under the covers and prayed that Santa hadn’t seen me for we all knew that if Santa saw anyone peeking, there would be no presents for anyone.

I could hardly sleep all night long. The Vick’s had long lost its effect and I couldn’t breathe through my nose. Grandma snored and I was terrified that I, personally, had ruined everyone’s Christmas.

The next morning I awoke with the strong smell of bacon being fried in the kitchen and Christmas carols playing on my grandma’s Victrola. I had to change my nightgown before bursting out into the living room to find no presents under the tree.

That door leading from grandma’s bedroom to the living room weighed a ton that morning. I closed one eye and slowly surveyed the room with the other. My first target was the dish of cookies we left for Santa. They were gone! Someone had eaten the cookies. There was hope! Next, my eye landed on something with long golden hair. Could it be? It was! The new doll I wanted so badly. You could actually comb and style her hair ten different ways. And there was … no it couldn’t be. A Red Flyer wagon! I hadn’t told anyone about that wish and there it was!

I ran through the house screaming, “He came, he came! Santa came and I saw Him!” Grandma, my sister and brother and mom looked at each other and then at me.

“Now you know, Alice Mae, that Santa doesn’t leave presents if anyone is peeking!” My mom spoke with incredulity and surprise in her voice. She looked at the others, encouraging them to echo their agreement. They did, all heads nodding up and down.

“But I know I saw him, and he still left me presents,” I insisted.

“It was just a dream … just a dream in a little girl's wishful head,” humored grandma.

“Maybe so,” I said, but in my own heart I knew. There really was a Santa Claus.

Word Count: 882
© Copyright 2007 Kat (UN: katkola at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Class of '61 50th Reunion!

This past weekend I attended my 50th High School reunion.  It was great seeing old friends and acquaintances and catching up on some good times. 

We aren’t the same people we were in high school.  We may look the same, and even sound the same, but now we have more in common than we did 50 years ago.  The years have been good to some and not so good to others.  How we weathered those years shows in the tiny wrinkles that line our face and in the depths of our eyes. 

At earlier reunions we spoke of our marriages, our children, our jobs.  Now we speak of our retirement, our marriages, our grandchildren and our health.  Health is a big one!  For the most part, we are grateful that we can still come to these reunions and so very sad for those who are no longer with us and for those who are unable to attend because of health problems, traveling problems, etc.  We remember times, long ago, that meant so much to us and long for those times when life was simpler and troubles were fewer.

We vow to stay in touch, but alas, life takes over again when we return home and immerse ourselves in our daily routines.  We think about those we have seen and wonder sadly, in the back of our minds, how many will be around at our next reunion.

I also think we find that each person at the reunion gives us back a piece of ourselves that existed back then … that part of us that held our impressions and our beliefs of who we thought we were and, therefore, who we thought others were in relation to us.  We see how wrong we were, in most instances, and how time is a great leveler.

We’ve all had our bumps and bruises in life, our plans that didn’t pan out, or did.  We’ve had our accomplishments, our failures, our dreams and our hopes.

We now know how much more we are alike. 

More alike than different.

And, we revel in that knowledge.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Moonblower Bush

This is one of my favorite flowers. It's called a Moonflower Bush. The flowers open up in the evenings, around sunset. They look like huge trumpets.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nine One One


by Kat

I gaze into the pit
where all the souls
that live
don't fit.

No reason was
given why
they had no chance
to say goodbye.

They've all gone
to better places
and we are left
to mourn their traces.

Left at ground
zero where
we bow our heads
to show we care.
© Copyright 2008 Kat (UN: katkola at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Purple Martin Goodbye

My Martin year is almost over,
And I know it won’t be long
Until I find myself listening,
For that beautiful Martin song.

While they go to spend their winter
In climates much, much warmer.
I stay and plan for next year
And miss those little charmers.

I love each one like it’s my own
And try to show them I’m their friend.
But before I know it, they are gone
And I’m looking for them back again.

I hope they had a good year,
Raising chicks in my backyard.
I tried to make it easy,
But, it was sometimes very hard.

They had to watch for predators,
While I placed safety measures
In spots they couldn’t see
To protect their little treasures.

I did the best I could
And lessons, hard, were learned.
So next year, I can tell myself
Their presence has been earned

I’ll say ‘goodbye’ as they head south,
And feel the empty place
That’s created in my heart
For “they” can’t be replaced.

“So long”, Mom and Papa’s
“So Long” little fledges,
Be safe in that long flight
To more exotic places.

I know that Brazil is the spot
Where you fly and eat and grow.
I hope that you remember me
Next Spring, I’m sure I’ll know.

I’ll be the one looking out
Of that window to your world
Where the gourds are bright and shiny
And the wait will be no more.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The days are busy now.  There is much going on and even more waiting to be done!  I now have five baby Bluebirds that are 14 days old.  I don't open the door to the Bluebird house now - don't want them to come tumbling out! 

I have six baby Tree Swallows and five baby Purple Martins.  There are six more pair of Purple Martins that are nesting and should be laying eggs any day now. That will be a lot of babies!!!

Hannah, our wonderful English Bulldog, is at the Vets.  She has an eye ulceration that has to be treated eight times a day.  It takes three people to get the drops in her eye.  She will be having surgery tomorrow or Friday and then will be needing treatment for another week.  We miss her sooooo much!

We are having the trim and shutters on our house painted and hoping the painter gets finished sometime this summer! :-)  He is taking his good ol' time.  The expansion of our driveway should be finished by now, but the Contractor hasn't started yet...says he's been delayed by all the rain lately.  Our new sunroom should be about ready to get installed sometime early in June?  We'll see!

I wish things could always go smoothly and that time is something we could bend to our "will".  This isn't the reality, I know, but it doesn't hurt to dream!  I also wish people would do what they say they are going to do and "when" they say they're going to do it.  This, also, isn't reality.

Reality is waiting. 

Reality is being grateful that my plate is so full and that I have a plate to be full.

Reality is knowing that I love and am loved.  That I have food in my refrigerator and a comfortable bed in my bedroom - that I have protection from the heat and cold and the blessing of being able to make plans at all.

Reality hits me right in the face when I turn on the TV and see the devastation in Joplin, Missouri and other places, just in the last couple of days.

Reality can be harsh and it can be wonderful. 

What makes the difference? 


My attitude.

My acceptance of what "IS", rather than what I wish for.

My gratitude for what I have, rather than my sorrow at what I don't have.

My ability to affect, once in a great while, my own reality.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catching Up

I have a pair of Bluebirds nesting in a brand new house I built just for them this Spring.  There are now five beautiful blue eggs just waiting to hatch.  Hatch date should be this Friday, 5/13/2011!  I check the eggs every day to make sure nothing has disturbed them.  The mama bluebird hears me coming.  If she doesn't hear me, I tap twice on the outside of the house and she comes flying out.  She flies up to the roof of my house and watches while I check her eggs. 

I can't actually see the eggs.  They are in a very deep bowl/cup that she has made in the top of the nest.  The only way I can check the eggs is by putting my little Dual Lens Kodak camera inside and taking pictures.  I work fast so mama bird won't get upset with me!

                      Bluebird House

These are Tree Swallow eggs.  There were four of them yesterday and I should find five today.  They are cream colored and smaller than the Bluebird eggs.  The Tree Swallows live in a gourd hanging on a Shepherd's Hook about 25 - 30' away from the Bluebirds and the Purple Martins. 
The Tree Swallows gave me many headaches when they first appeared in my backyard.  They wanted to nest in the gourds that I had prepared for Purple Martins.  They defended those gourds with their lives and chased away every bird that landed on the gourds.  Finally, I learned that if I made them a gourd of their own, 25-30' away from the gourd rack, they would nest in it, protect it, and also protect the Purple Martin gourd rack.  It worked!!  They still defend the gourd rack from other birds, not Purple Martins, and they fiercely defend their own precious gourd.  Another Purple Martin friend and enthusiast sent me entrance holes for the Tree Swallow gourd that are small enough for Tree Swallows but too small for Starlings and other predators.  I am so grateful to him!  Hatch date should be 5/20/2011

      Tree Swallow House

If you look carefully, you can see two Purple Martin eggs.  I think there is one more hidden underneath the two shown here because this is the third day of egg laying and there should be three eggs.  Today, I think I will find five eggs.  I didn't check this nest yesterday.  Didn't want to disturb the Purple Martin mama too much! Not sure what the hatch date should be yet.

     Purple Martin Gourd Rack.

I've been busy also planning two flower beds - one for my front yard and one for the back yard.  I love the planning and the results of a beautiful flower garden.  The work in between the "planning" and the "beautiful" is the hard part.  My old bones and joints aren't what they used to be!  When they are completed, and if I'm still 'young' enough to take pictures, I'll put them in my blog for all to enjoy.  (I suppose folks enjoy other peoples' flower gardens?)

When you get right down to it, it's always the planning and results we enjoy, huh?  Just as with the birds, planning for their comfort and well-being, and the flower beds, so with life! 

We plan, we work toward a goal or destination, and in the end, it's the in-between part that makes us who we are.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Baby Birds?

I lowered the Purple Martin pole today to check on all the nesting. 
Mama has been working hard to form a rich bowl
Of pine and hay and sticks and leaves.

Soon there will be little eggs, probably five or six.
But she doesn't rest, knowing that more work lies ahead.
She has to feed herself and sit on those eggs a while each day.

Just for them.

Do the baby birds feel her work and love?
Do they feel the careful attention to each turn
And curve of the protective bowl she makes?

Do they know how hard she's worked
To find just the right gourd on just the right pole
In just the right backyard with just the right protection?

Just for them.

When they hatch, there will be hungry mouths to feed,
Mouths that open as soon as she enters the nest
And don't close until she leaves.

Will they feel the love that it took to get them this far?
Will they trust her to keep them safe from harm?
Harm, that lies just outside that nest.

Just for them.

Yes, they trust her, for they know that mama's
Love and work and flight and food
Will make them strong inside the brood.

And when they leave, it's her they see,
Gently pushing them from the nest, the bowl,
Where her love used to be.

Just for them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Memories - Blessing or Curse?

I think our memories are both ... a blessing and a curse.  At times, we gloss over the curse memories and embellish the blessing ones.  But, you know what?  I don't think it really matters.  They are OUR memories, they made us who we are today. 

When you get down the road a few years, you'll have memories that are made today and wonder the same thing - blessing or curse?

We need both.  We use both to plan our direction, to set our feet on the paths we want to follow.  Maybe we can just take the lessens learned from all memories or events and use them to make ourselves and our world better.

I would love to hear some of your memories. 

Just click "Comments" and tell me about the memories you would like to share.

I'll start:

I remember when my sister and I used to get up every Saturday morning to watch "The Big Top" circus on television.  We didn't have one of our own, so we had to go next door and watch on a neighbor's TV.  I think my love of the circus started then.  Circuses don't seem to hold the charm for me these days like they did back them, but they were enchanting, daring and exciting to a 7-year-old!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Quiet Time

I really NEED some quiet time in my day.  Actually, I need a lot of quiet time.  I don't get much of it, however!

Since my husband retired because of his health and I retired because I was tired of working, we are together 24/7.  This is way too much togetherness! 

Now, I 'm not saying that I don't like being with my husband.  I'm just saying that too much togetherness isn't, necessarily, a good thing.  I guess my point is that I'm not getting enough quiet or alone time and I need it badly. 

Without some quiet time, I can get very cranky.  Now, with very, very little quiet time and practically no alone time, I wonder how anyone tolerates being around me. Can anyone be pleasant all of the time?  There must be those saints out there who never give thought to their personal needs and only think of doing or giving to others. 

I'm not one of those saints!  I'm not a saint at all.

I could probably become a recluse.  I can very easily understand why some folks do seek a solitary life that is quite isolated.  I need quiet.  I need time alone with myself.  I don't know how to get it.

I'm a writer and need time to write, time to think, time to simply let my imagination run rampant.  Not getting that these days. 

I think I'm afraid I would hurt my husband's feelings if I took a day off to be alone somewhere ... anywhere, in a peaceful, quiet setting.

I also think that my heart is telling me to find a way to get what I need.  My hearts acting pretty crazy these days ... palpitations, etc.  Our bodies do tell on us when we don't tell on ourselves or when we try to run away from those things we really need.

I've always envied those people who practice meditation.  I've started it at certain times in my life, only to stop when it seems that I can't get the hang of letting go of my thoughts.  I understand that there's no trick to it, but ........... .

I firmly believe that if we don't, voluntarily, give ourselves what we need, our souls, our spirits, our minds and our bodies will suffer for it.

Now, let me think of all the reasons why I can't get this thing I need so very much.

1.  ..............................
2.  ..............................
3.  ..............................
4.  ..............................
5.  ..............................
6.  I don't ask for it.
7.  I'm afraid someone will think I'm selfish.
8.  Something terrible will happen while I'm away and it will be my fault.
9.  ......................................................................................................
10. I don't ask for it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Change and Control?

Change and Control?  For some reason, I've had these two things going around and around in my mind lately.  I am a person who hates change and loves control.  Am I a control freak?  Probably!  I dislike that aspect of my personality, but I have to acknowledge that it is definitely one of my faults. 

I'm coming to realize that change and control are really different sides of the same coin.  Change frightens me and I try to control the events of my life so that I don't have to deal with it.  It never works!

I want to embrace change, to be able to say to myself that change is usually a good thing and that, when it's not good, I can deal with it.  The truth is, when change is not good, I'm forced to deal with it.  After all, what's the alternative?  I either deal with it and give up control, or spend a lot of time depressed and angry, fighting change.

I wonder if others have this problem.  I think it's probably pretty commonplace.  I would love to hear what you have to say about change and control in your own life.  Any good ideas for me?

I know that my faith and my nature battle over these two things constantly.

I pray that faith will win.  In spite of my nature and in spite of my nurture, faith has to overcome!

Doesn't it?