Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bunked and Debunked: An Ode to Dreams, Realities and Jumping on the Bed

I Dreamed of a Mountain

With Snowcapped Peaks

So I Climbed to Its Top

And Jumped Off

I Flew For a Second

Then Woke

Missing the Wind

But Happy Nonetheless

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mirth and A Monologue

My bird- of- my- feather- friend - in- law- and- love sister and her clan visited this weekend to surprise Pete for his 33rd birthday.

We had surprise parties with Abby, John and their 4 girls Millie, Annika, Susanna and Piper every night.

Night 1: The Chi Chi Cone /(that's ice cream cone in Gussie speak) Balloon party to celebrate their arrival.

Night 2: A Valentine's Day Pizza Party

Night 3: A Polska Keilbasa / Pickle / Play Doe Party to celebrate my dear one.

We had a BLAST! Cousins played, mothers dove deep into conversation, and dads cut out to catch up over beer and board games (just a bit; they pitched in too -- tossing and tumbling with grinning nieces and nephews).

Gifts were exchanged and here's Abby performing my gift to her, Smackdown Cat, a monologue I wrote based on another amazing handy-crafted tee shirt I bought at a thrift store.

She was magnificent and I'm hoping she'll be available for the film version when Spielberg picks it up. For now, you'll have to use your imagination:

Smackdown Cat, A Monologue

By Sarah

Starring: Abigail as Smackdown

Setting: Back Alley / Smackdown is wearing a bandanna around her forehead and smoking a cigarette

You shoulda' been there …

Racine, that hoochie-mama tabbie commandeered my scratching post so I got all up in her face -- waving my paws around – crazy like – till she slinked back to her own litter box – hoo-ah!! – SMACKDOWN!!

Then, at the market, a stock boy knocked me with his boot when I snuck in to sniff the Fancy Feast. I let out a howl that shocked him and dropped him to the floor – hooh-ah – SMACKDOWN!!! SMACKDOWN!! Don’t you mess around with SMACKDOWN!!

Finally, on the way home, I hit the trash to find Bowser rifling through my milk crates – they were bone dry – not a drop for yours truly – so I didn’t hesitate – as I never hesitate – to set ole’ Bowser straight – and BAMM SMACK! I whacked that Bowser back with a SMACKEDY WHACKEDY WHACK and a WHACKEDY SMACKEDY SMACK DOWN HIS BACKEDY BACK AND HE WON’T COME BACK CAUSE HE KNOWS I’LL ATTACK CAUSE MY NAME IS SMACK AND I’M A CAT THAT’S BLACK LIKE THAT TIRE ROLLING MY WAY – OH DISMAY – IT CAN’T END THIS WAY – OH NO IT CAN’T – OH SMACK – IT CAN – SMACKDOWN! MEOOWW!! (yells final “smack down and meow” while pretending to be crushed under a large tire wheel).


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Thaw

Old Man Winter must have slept in

Or, maybe he sighed

Perhaps, he just rolled over ...

Whatever the reason, he granted pardon.

Dreams of Spring

Hatched into Summer

Sorting ensued

So did home repairs (well, kinda*)

Children and their mothers tilted faces upward

And smiled

A white plastic bag caught the ides of March early -- "A parachute," Haven shouted as he whipped it over head.


*About the pot: Our handy neighbor Jimmer mentioned sometime back that we should "cover that hole" -- the one that's really a pipe sticking up in the yard; he said something about a sewer; something about sticks and leaves getting in it and how that's really, really bad.

So I went out that day with the only thing I could find -- a pot -- and plopped it on top. The short of it is I've always had a hankering to adorn the thing and finally did so today. Personally, I'm pleased with the result as I look at it as art and a valuable social message in one tidy little package -- oh, that and a thing to "cover that hole" with as well -- voila! Once again, thanks be to Jim -- him and a snoozing Old Man Winter.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Skies Not Cloudy

Here's my latest column at Blue Mountain Moments: An Acquired Skill.
Enjoy! [Note: Link expired when replaced by most recent column; article is pasted below.]

An Acquired Skill

Staying at home with young children during this time of year – when one’s skin hurts from a lack of Vitamin D – is a finely honed, acquired skill. A craft, really. An art, quite often, unrecognized.

Sure, you could do it in a “low-road” manner and suffer through these final snows with a scowl and a fiercely abused remote control. Sure, you could schlep the kiddies to the market again and again just to GET OUT – “Yahoo! We need mothballs! … ” Or you could do what Great Aunt Lucille and Grandma Mary Martha did back before minivans toured these roads – develop the art of just staying in.

First, turn off the TV. Next, for a change of scenery, run to the most rarely traveled spot of your home -- for us it’s the attic bedroom. Upon arrival, distribute old silk handkerchiefs that ripple (a cape) and rustle (a maiden’s headdress) as they flow through the air. After that, let your kids take the lead.

Be their fairy godmother or their wicked witch. Follow them wherever wintry winds leaking through windowpanes lead them. Because, while I would certainly choose a sunny day at the park over a snowy day in the attic any day, I’d wager cold is the weather of poets. I’d wager if ever a time could make a soul turn inward and thus discover something new – a play waiting to be written – a sonata waiting to be sung – it’s when the world is covered in white, white snow.

I’ll never forget the winter when one upstairs adventure culminated in hours of bellowing the song Home on the Range. I fondly remember carrying a baby room to room while my other tots jumped high on the beds. The world beyond our windows was iced like gingerbread as we sang: Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the dear and the antelope play … Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day …

The tune became such a hit in our repertoire that I even painted its words as a boarder in that attic bedroom. “Sing Skies Not Cloudy,” my four-year-old demands as he long ago, quite appropriately, renamed the song. I always comply. And as I stroll our creaky floors, the melody puts a spring in my step. So I sing louder. My son chimes in as he gallops on his broomstick stallion. The other day the chorus inspired a leap from the bed. His cape sliced the air like a whip. I caught a glimpse of the sky in his eyes and it was a brilliant summer’s blue – not a cloud in sight.

-- Sarah Johnson

Sarah can be emailed at scranton55@yahoo.com