Sunday, December 11, 2011

Best Laid Plans...

Here is the saga of the food donations.

First, some pictures of the donations in my office and in my car.  As you can see, we had quite a bit; I made two trips to my car--thanks to James Frith of my English 215 class for helping with the first load.

So, I loaded all of this in my car, then checked my email.  My friend at the Catholic Charities sent me a message to let me know she had a doctor's appointment and wouldn't be in; in fact, she said they were short-staffed that day. Could I bring the food Thursday?

Hmm...problem.  I live 45 miles away; I wasn't going to drive this food home, then turn around the next day and make the 90-mile round trip to deliver this.  What to do?

Brilliant idea--I took it to my parents' house.  They live two streets over from St. Catherine's, and I knew my dad would take the donations for me--he's a great guy and loves to help.  I went to my mom's house, but my dad was out shopping.  I waited an hour or so; he came home, we loaded the food in his car.

I didn't hear anything Thursday, until my friend at CC sent me a message on Facebook--"When is your dad coming?"  I figured he would have already been there.  I called my mother.  My father, overnight, developed an inner ear infection and couldn't drive.  They tried calling the CC, but no one answered.

So, where is the food?  At the moment, it's in my father's car, still.

My father will either deliver it tomorrow, or my friend will go pick it up.

The irony?  My friend's doctor's appointment wasn't until Friday--she had her days mixed up.

So, as Bobbie Burns says, "The best-laid schemes o' mice and men / gang aft agley" (The best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry).  No fear--the donations will reach their intended target!

Thanks to all of my students who donated.  It's an easy way to earn extra points and help others in this holiday season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Have a great break.  I hope that covers everyone!

Addendum:  Note from my friend, Theresa Mormino:

"Kathleen, I've been meaning to write to say thank you again to you and your students. Wow! That was a lot of food and the folks that we pass it out to will also be grateful. Also, your dad is so funny and cute!"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update on NaNo Word Count

As of last night, I'm at 24,876. That's almost halfway, with 17 more days to go.

Whoo Hoo! Now if I can just get through this next week!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

It's NaNo Time Again!

For the fourth November in a row, I will be attempting, with millions of other insane people, to write 50,000 words in thirty days.  I've "won" the challenge for the last three years, but this year has its own challenges--less time, because I drive to and from Shreveport three times a week to teach; I have many papers to grade; two of my neices have weddings this month; and I foolishly agreed to give three talks for the Shreve Memorial Library on the One Book, One City program. 

I'm definitely a crazy person.

Still, I will attempt this challenge, again.

Word count today is 1, 882.

Good luck to all NaNo-ers this year!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Crazy Gardening!

Right about now, I'd be ripping up old growth in my gardens and planting for the fall/winter.  Just as I decided to do that, however, my garden exploded.  I have so many eggplant, watermelons, bell peppers and tomatoes--more than I had all summer.  It's insane!  I've been out taking pictures.  Here are a few!

I really  don't want more of the heat we had this summer.  But I'd love for the current weather to continue--with a bit of rain, of course!

Since I didn't have any papers to grade today, I spent the morning weeding one of my gardens.  It was so overgrown; I'm embarrassed to admit it.  But it looks good now, and I found a surprise--a baby Agave!

I have a larger Agave, about two years old, that my daughter gave me.  I guess I need to find out how these propagate; I might end up with a garden full of Agave!

That's my exciting day not grading papers--and it isn't over yet!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Remembering 9/11

The big question on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is "Where were you when it happened?"

I was at home, watching the news as I did every morning before going to my new job as an adjunct at LSUS.  I had just started teaching there--my first semester--so I date my tenure at LSUS from the semester of those attacks.

When I saw the first tower burning, I didn't quite understand.  The newscasters weren't any wiser until the second plane hit the second tower.  Then I picked up my phone and called my daughter in Austin.  She was supposed to fly to Seattle that day, and, sure enough, she was at the airport.  I told her to find a television, but she told me that she could get close to one because of all the people clustered around them.  Her words to me were, "We're about to board."  "Honey," I said, "I don't think you're going anywhere today."  And she didn't.  The government shut down all flights.

In my classrooms, I faced the uncertainty and fear of my students, as well as my own.  What happened?  What would happen after this?  As we all know, our country hasn't been the same since.

I did not personally know any of the people who died that day, or any of the people who have died since from the dust and smoke they inhaled when the towers burned and fell.  Yet, I feel as though I know each and every one of them...they are reminders of our vulnerability and mortality.

9/11 reminds us of the best and worst of humanity.  It will never go away.  We have to remember for our own good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Good Thing From My Garden

My garden looks pathetic right now.  I have okra, one eggplant (but lots of buds), some pumpkin vines coming out, basil, rosemary, and a couple of carrots (holdovers from the spring).  The hot weather hasn't helped, though I have been watering every day.

This watermelon split.  I managed to rescue it before the bugs got to it.  It's sweet and juicy.  I have two other watermelons that seem to be doing fine. I just have to keep watering!

My rose bushes look terrible.  I hope the winter helps them.  I'll have to do some serious pruning in February.

I love gardening, but not when Mother Nature doesn't provide the necessary moisture!  I hope next summer is better to my gardens.  I plan to enrich the soil before I plant my winter crops!  And I'll water all winter if I need to!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Generosity of Spirit

I received an email the other day from someone I haven't heard from in about two years.  The last time she contacted me, it was to tell me that she was deleting her Facebook page and her email addresses and that I shouldn't take it personally.  She has a serious bone disease that makes many everyday tasks difficult for her, and, at the time, her husband had been laid off.  She was deleting her accounts and cutting off contact because, she wrote, they had received some nasty emails from people (ignorant people, I believe) who thought my friend and her husband were freeloaders and slackers.

Well, I couldn't understand, at the time, why I had to be included with that group, since I had always been supportive of her situation, but I couldn't fault her, exactly, for wanting to withdraw from the fray.

A few days ago, I was included in a mass mailing from this person, asking me to donate to enable her to receive a helping dog.  The email explained the costs of training the dog, and it urged me to give what I could to make her life easier.

I think (hope?) I've always been something of a generous person.  I don't generally keep score--you did this for me, so I will do that for you.  I don't keep track of who paid last at the restaurant, and I'm always ready to chip in or pick up the tab, whatever I need to do.  I try to be a friend in every sense.  If someone needs to bitch, I'm there to listen.  If I can help, I will.

I'm sitting here, beating myself up, because I resent that email.  I resent that, now that this person needs monetary help, she's re-established contact with me, when she hasn't emailed me in two years.  Did she ask me how I was doing?  No.  Did she apologize for cutting me out? No.  The email seemed to suggest that I was one of her best friends, someone who would be willing to support her endeavor.

Should I be? I don't mind helping people, but I get a bit cross when they only contact me when they need something--mostly money--especially when they could care less about me, or my circumstances.

I guess I need to read Thomas Merton, or Rilke, or someone who can chip away at that hard part of my heart.  I should be more generous, shouldn't I?  I should not think of the past, especially when a small gift of money could make a difference.  I need to meditate on this and examine myself seriously to find out why this one email has twisted me around so much.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day!

My kids live in Austin, so the most I received today was a phone call from my son and a YouTube video of "Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard--my daughter posted that on my FB profile!  And, yes, I did try.  Both of my children turned out pretty darn good, but I won't take all the credit for that.

I went to visit my mama today, and I brought her two home-grown cabbages.  Here they are with those carrots from the last post:

And here is a picture of a coreopsis; I can't believe the way this thing exploded, growthwise.  I have to tie it up when I mow!

The flower seeds I planted are coming up; I'm keeping an eye on the bean, okra, carrot, and onion seeds, as well as the garlic.  I just need to keep watering.

I noticed, as I came over the bridge into Coushatta today, that the Red River is waaaaay up.  We might be in for some flooding here.

I hope everyone had/has a happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A Day in the Garden

I finished all of my "schoolwork" by 1pm, so I treated myself to a gardening session.  I have a small garden surrounding an odd piece of fencing.  This year, I resolved to turn it into a cottage garden, hopefully full of flowers, if the seeds I planted come up.

But the day was made sweeter by two things: first, I pulled up three carrots.  I've never successfully grown carrots before, so this is a big deal.  They aren't very big, but I ate one, and it was yummy.  Here are two of the carrots:

Second, I took some pictures of hummingbirds.  I have a feeder on the fence piece, and, as I was working, the hummingbirds flew all around me.  I couldn't understand why I had to replenish my feeders so often.  Today, I discovered that I have five (5) hummingbirds competing for them.  They are fearless.  I took quite a few pictures, and they ignored me.  Here's one:

All in all, a good, relaxing day.  I planted more beans, onions, and carrots!  Let's see if these sprout.  The rest of the plantings are coming along just great.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Here's another poem!

From the Bee Goddess:

Bee Balm [Melissa]
April 10, 2011

Do not fear the woman
Under the bees.  They cling
To me as mother.
Instead, come closer,
Brave the swarm
And poke your finger
Through the noise.
When you pull it back,
The honey will drip
Down your hand. 
Taste it.
Such sweetness
Will not touch your tongue
Again, unless you follow me
To where the jasmine
Twines around the oak,
To where daisy waves
To hyacinth, and all blossoms
Open to my touch.

Copyright 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

April is National Poetry Month!

For the third year, I am participating in NaPoWriMo at The goal is to write a poem a day for thirty days.  I've posted three poems, so I'm on target.  Here's the poem I posted today:

My Mother’s Garden [Joan]
April 3, 2011

My sisters and I spent
last summer digging up her irises
because, she said,
she had to start the chemo, and
she wouldn’t feel like dealing with them.

Once the beds were clear,
and after her first treatment
with the saving poison, she expressed
a desire for a few flowers,
just a few.  The few flowers grew

into mulched beds and
rock borders on both sides of the porch,
Kockout roses, clematis, chrysanthemums,
a trimmed hydrangea and a pink
rose bush pruned to a topiary.

To this, we added, as the chemo
went on—monthly sessions
that left her gray and crabby—
a statue of St. Francis (solar), a toad
house (solar), and a duck rain gauge (solar).

When Christmas came, the doctors
returned her body to her,
and we bought Johnny Jump-ups;
last week, she asked for some of my
Asiatic lily bulbs—purple and white--

but declined the calla lily bulbs, saying
that, since she had given hers away,
she shouldn’t take them.  She asked for Sweet
Peas, reminding my older sister and me
that she grew those when we lived on Laurel Street.

Lately, I notice, when she’s not talking flowers
or what I should and should not eat,
she’s saying, “I remember…,” as though
she’s trying to plant those memories in me
the way I plant her flowers when she asks.

Copyright 20011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is It Spring, Yet?

The last few days, I haven't wanted to do anything except go outside and work in my gardens.  Alas, we are also approaching midterms, which means I have many, many papers to grade.  My mom suggested I work outside on good days and save the paper grading for evenings.  A good idea, but, some days, the need to grade papers outweighs the desire to garden.

However, the positive signs of spring around here are the blooming jonquils and paperwhites; my tulips (planted in the fall) are surging up through the ground; the irises are showing signs of blooming.  In fact, most of my plants are showing signs of life.

I have many packets of flower, herb, and vegetable seeds ready to plant.  Now, if I only had the time to plant them.  Sigh!

Maybe over Mardi Gras break?  I hope so.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hello, Spring Semester!

So I haven't updated my blog since NaNoWriMo ended in November. My bad. Too much hanging out on Facebook, I guess. Besides, very little happens that requires an update to the blog.

I guess the best thing that took place between November and now is the surprise birthday party we threw for my mom (who turned 80 in December) and my aunt (who turned 75 in November). I'll upload the pic of my family at the party as soon as I find it! I think it's on FB.

This semester feels a bit weird. I usually teach on Tu/Th, so this M/W schedule has me a bit off. I asked for this schedule so I wouldn't have to drive in extra days for all of the faculty, college, and university meetings. Most semesters, I'd end up driving in three or four days a month. With gas prices rising again, I think this will work better.

I'll try to update my blog regularly, just in case my English 226 students pop in to look at it. Let me go find that picture!


Here is is:

Back row: Ed, Jr., Mike, John, Al, my dad, Ed; front row: Mary, Jeri, me, my mom, Joan, James (the baby), and Lydia. My sister Theresa is missing from this picture, but she hardly ever shows up at family events.