Category Archives: memories

5/14 May-be

Nostalgia blooms abundantly
in those places where we’ve gardened
the most.

Heirloom beauties, new fancies,
our tried-and-trues,
those memories bound with hardy roots
nurture growth from tender shoots.

For me it is my summer plot
that produces a bumper crop.


IMG_4259-3When I first downloaded Picasa onto my computer and was learning how to use it, I took some pictures of bicycles at a local park and titled the folder I put them in: “bicycles.”  As I took more pictures and became more comfortable with Picasa, I began by labeling my photos with dates but over the years I’ve found  titling a folder with a location as well as the date really helps when I do searches.  I’ve even begun adding some other little detail to help distinguish one folder from the next.

Take my “hovander” folders.  Hovander Park is a place where I often take walks or go when I need a creative punch in the arm. In Picasa, I have folders from the past few months titled:  “hovander 12-2015,” “hovander nov 15,” and recently “hovander loretta,” because a friend joined me on that day.

But I maintain my “bicycles” folder to dump random stuff in: photos sent by relatives, from Facebook, singles from my Iphone  and Ipad. There are 152 photos in there right now.  I’ve deleted some and moved some over the years but it remains an eclectic batch including pictures from my mom’s childhood, snaps of her quilts, one of my husband when he was about 5, some of nieces and my own kids, and random photos of students and visual experiments. I’m always adding to this photo bucket.

The title of this folder is quite romantic for me as I love the memories of getting on my bike and going out into the neighborhood – as far as I wanted as long as I didn’t cross any major intersections and was home by 5 o’clock. I like thinking about life the way I think about bicycle riding – lots of little ventures and wondering how far I’ll go and what I will see and learn along the way.1-me on a bike

marcescence 2

(this kind of goes along with yesterday’s post…)

My mom wrote letters to her mother once a week throughout her adult life as long as herimage mom was alive. Onion skin-like sheets of paper typed single space and often with carbon paper so she could send a duplicate to someone else.

My grandmother saved every one – tucked in their original envelope, stacked neatly in shoe boxes.

Now my mother, currently older than my grandmother was when she died 30 years ago, is dutifully pulling those letters from the envelopes, reading them and putting them into plastic sleeves.

She tells me she doesn’t remember half the stuff she wrote about all those years ago. I’ve read a few of the letters as well as some I sent to my grandmother – because she saved those too – and I don’t remember the stuff I wrote about either.  Or what I read just really doesn’t match up with what I’ve come to remember as most consequential from those blocks of time.  I am realizing that what I chose to document really isn’t what became  most important after all.

My mom is putting the plastic sleeves into now bulging notebooks.  “I don’t know what you guys will do with these.” (I have 3 siblings.)  “I don’t really care, maybe you don’t really care.”

I don’t know how I feel.  I read through some of the story bits and am entertained. There are snippets of accounts of our escapades in school, camp, family trips, daily doings. There are little sketches and poems and doodles and stanzas from camp songs. It is charming, all of it.

But I don’t know what to hold on to or let go.  Does an account like this matter – filling in the gaps as it does – when what we actually remember and hold dear is vastly different or at best only a mere essence of the recorded detail?   Does accuracy in memory really matter when time creates a new reality?   Will knowing what my mom recorded as significant affect or change my relationship with her, my dad, my siblings or myself?


shall I let these carefully preserved records of daily details fall as compost to the new memories I’m creating every day


keep them in place in their plastic sleeves, preserving their truth and posterity, as witness to the past


let them go

(I know my siblings will have their own opinions)

I suppose all memories eventually become fodder – forgotten, discarded, or folded into some new venture. The present continuously demands our full attention no matter the care we take to preserve the past – plastic sleeves, shoe boxes, notebooks, blogs, Facebook.  Time will not be denied the light of tomorrow and tomorrow’s light always alters what we see through a lens.


do you know this  word?  the definition is: the withering of, but not falling off, as in part of a plant

I discovered this word because I wanted to know why the oak trees that line my street don’t imageshed their leaves in autumn.  Their dry, brown leaves cling desperately throughout the winter wind and rain and then drop just before new buds appear in late spring.  Apparently this is what happens with oak and beech trees.  I found this out by “Googling” my question and read a lovely answer by Michael Snyder at  Botanists don’t really know why some trees do this.  Evergreens appear green all year but actually replace all their needles.  Most deciduous trees drop all their leaves in autumn.  But not these two particular species.  No one knows why but the two suppositions are:
1) they drop their leaves in spring to provide their own compost at a time most useful to have extra nutrients
2) the dried leaves provide protection for new buds against nibbling deer and moose and the effects of winter snow and weather

I kind of like thinking about this – wondering about my own efforts at marcescence……..

Evergreen? Maple? Alder? Oak? Beech?  what do I hold on to for months at a time, what do I let go of all at once, what changes are so subtle I don’t even know they are happening?

How about for you?

(it’s day one of the Slice of Life month long writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers – check it out!)


labor days

Saturday I began some work on my computer – taking photos off my IPad, loading a CD to copy some music for my class.  But then ITunes wouldn’t work.  Oh yeah I updated to Windows 10 and I bet no one is playing nice yet.  Well I used all my computer skills – and I have become pretty savvy – to see what I could do to work around that but alas, I had to call Apple support.  I spoke with Zane first and he even created a link to see what I was seeing on my computer.  But he ended up having to fetch Ramona, a bigger boss I think, and even she had to admit it was probably a case of Microsoft needing to catch up.  So I decided to cease and desist for the rest of the day.  But 2 hours went down that rabbit hole.

Meanwhile my husband put together two tricycles purchased for my preschool classroom with only a few cussings at the “distructions” and one washer left out by mistake.

Sunday afternoon I decided to tackle my clogged dishwasher hose.  This involved a snake, disconnecting two pipes from under the sink, 5 tools, lots of grimy gunk, cuts in my hands and water on the floor of course.  But 2 hours later I was doing a happy dance in the kitchen feeling like Rosie the Riveter and running my dishwasher.

Monday I messed around with a scrapbook and some knitting and did laundry.

Guess which Labor Day I enjoyed the most?

Exhale the Unwild

there’s a little back story to this poem in my last post

Exhale the Unwild

I traveled roads and charted seasIMG_1072
desiring entrance to this wild temple sanctuary.
Exposed arms and rocky shore
held me at bay, questioning such trespass.
With passionate curiosity and vigilance
I looked into untamed eyes
and saw beyond the forest veil and breathless deep.
Solace came as I played gently
in this garden of coves and islands,
silent sentinels of spruce and hemlock guarding precious keep. 06-IMG_0889

35-IMG_1736  20-IMG_1245  39-IMG_1927  45-IMG_2012

I exhaled my unwild
And as awe and wonderment became my companions
my spirit found a way to be free.
With dawn and dusk my only references to present tense,
I witnessed a live and valiant truce holding space and preservation of place.
Only when the lullabies of history whispered
from dark crevices of folded time
and glacier mists wrapped me in reverie
did I become truly awake to my own wild promise deep within me:





my experience as passenger on Wilderness Explorer, SE Alaska June 20-27, 2015

a little back story

A week ago today I returned from a week long trip in SE Alaska.  My parents generously invited my husband and I to join them on a small boat cruise going from Ketchikan to Juneau.  We traveled channels, wove our way around the major islands and in and out of coves seeing humpback whales almost every day.  The boat was run by an agency calling itself “Uncruise” specializing in searching out  wildlife, anchoring to let passengers go kayaking, tour around in skiffs and take hikes.


It was a really special trip to say the least.  The crew was amazing and the other passengers enjoyable to converse and spend time with.  Our weather was great, only one really rainy day that reminded me of a spring day at home.  Mike and I went out kayaking in the dripping wet and had a blast shinnying up to a small island rich with plant and shore life.

IMG_1930  IMG_1001

I woke up every morning with the sun at 4 am.  A deckhand named Adelia from Seattle washed down the deck and made me coffee each day and together we would wash the sky wake up.  I wrote in my journal for an hour or two until other passengers emerged to see what was happening.  Towards the end of the trip I started working on a poem to summarize my thoughts and feelings about my teensy glimpse of Alaska.  I kept a page in the back of my journal for words to describe Alaska but what I realized was my desire to capture a feeling more than a description of this vast place.

Finally, after 3 days and much scritch scratching and tearing out of journal pages, I got a little something I liked.  I was walking around the deck one evening and ran into one of the guides.  She asked me how I had enjoyed the day.  I told her how amazing it was and that I’d felt inspired to write some poetry.  She told me I should share it with the captain.  So finally on the last day I went up to the bridge and asked if the captain would like to hear my poem inspired by my trip.  (of course..) He was excited to hear it and asked if I’d mind sharing it with the owner of the company.  (Now I’m blushing…)  He gave me the email address and I left the cabin.

Later that evening we came upon the owner in his private boat and the captain called me up to the bridge again and to read my poem over the radio.

Okay – so maybe I’m not published but I’ve been broadcasted over radio in Alaska.   That’s a cool distinction.

Poem to follow in next post.

spliced slice

A week ago I was here:


sunrise in SE Alaska

this is a poem for where I am today:

suitcase filleted
souvenirs shared
catch-up phone calls made
email checked and responded to
pictures downloaded to computer
laundry done
cat cuddled many times



I told countless stories to my preschool students about my dog, Sasha.  They had such a hard time saying her name, though, and always referred to her as “Shasha.”  Well I will still tell stories about Sasha and she will live on as a forever-dog in my classroom but Friday was her last day with us.

So, to the dog who  wouldn’t fetch a ball or frisbees but would run for rocks and find them every time, I say “rock on, sweet pup.”



11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI wish this entry wasn’t inspired by a “slice of life” experience but it is:

My daughter met Lauren in the 5th grade when she transferred to a different school.  Lauren lived close to the school and when the girls became friends, Brittany often chose to walk home with Lauren instead of riding the bus to our house.  In fact, it got to the point where Brittany probably spent more time with Lauren’s parents, Al and Wendy, than us!  Mike and I were fine with that.  By this time, she was an argumentative “tween” and we all enjoyed a break from each other.

Lauren’s dad, Al, became a second dad to Britt.  He was her soccer coach for a couple of years and when the girls got accepted to an elite team, he provided transportation to and from practice and games. He was the wrestle-on-the rug type of dad that Mike wasn’t.  He also smoked – way too much, but he was an engaged dad and Brittany loved him. The one time Brittany got so mad at us and climbed out the window and ran away in the middle of the night, it was Al who called to let us know she was with them.

Al and Wendy separated when the girls were in high school and Lauren began to struggle with life.  Both girls were bright and artistic.  Brittany went on to attend a 4 year college but Lauren never managed to finish coursework at the local community college.

The last time I saw Lauren was at Brittany’s wedding 6 years ago.  I know her lifestyle of drugs and destructive relationships breaks Brittany’s heart.

Last Monday night Britt called around 10:30  to tell me  Al had committed suicide.  His health had deteriorated due to emphysema and it seems his latest relationship was not doing well either.  I am sorry for the loss to his children and friends.