Ten Things of Thankful – The Pets Edition

If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m a dog and cat lover.

This weekend, a friend of ours is out of town, so we’re dog sitting. I’ve had so many laughs and giggles that have come out of the fact that when you bring another pet into the home, it’s such a change in routine for the other critters and I just had to add some commentary to some of the images I’ve captured with our new house guest.

It’s also the weekly Ten Things of Thankful Blog Hop. If you haven’t joined in the fun, you don’t know what you’re missing. As for me, I decided to change it up a bit this week.

Ten Things of Thankful


This is supposed to be a post about gratitude, let’s just say that each photo and entry has made me giggle with glee, and I’m thankful ten times over.

vinny plott hound

This is what Vinny looks like on a normal day. I work at the computer, he takes over the couch. He thinks he’s alpha dog. That might be true…alpha dog of the kitties in the house. Or something like that.

girl and boy dog
Auggie and Vinny

On Friday when we picked up Auggie, Vinny had no idea what was coming. You see, she’s a girl-dog and she’s older. She wasn’t taking any crap from Vinny the ten month old pup, either. In fact, she took over his couch. And he’s not getting it back til Tuesday. At first, Vinny didn’t know what to think…

two hound dogs
Vinny and Auggie

But then, he fell in love. Anything Auggie does, he does. If she walks, he walks. If she sits, he sits. If she lays down, he lays down. He kind of likes to sniff her a lot, too…But in the same way you don’t want to be harassed by a guy you barely know, Auggie will bark at him, “BACK OFF, DUDE!” And he does. He pretends like he’s asleep.

mixed breed doggie

And Auggie enjoys her new status as Queenie of the House.


Pepe didn’t know about our new arrival. He comes bounding up the stairs precisely at mealtime.

Pepe the cat

He came running so fast that when we opened the door, he ran inside before realizing there was a new dog in the house. And he was all like, “aww, no! What the hell is this?”

But then, he realized she was cool. Cool Auggie.


Pepe thought she was so cool he was like, “RALLLLPHHIEEE! Come on, dude. It’s all right. Don’t sit there all huddled up in the cold!”

grey tabby cat

But Ralphie looked back at Pepe and GLARED at him. “I TRIED to tell you there was a new dog in there!”

To which Pepe replied, “But did you hear the part about where she’s cool?”

To which Ralphie said, “Yeah, but I’m going to try to catch that squirrel,” and ran off.

In the end, everybody’s psyched at our temporary new addition. Most of all, Vinny.


hounds in the house
Dogs enjoying the couch

As for me? I think I need another couch. Or the floor. The floor is always good. You know, since I don’t have the heart to move these guys.

Thankfulness and Inspiration

Tomorrow is the official US holiday of Thanksgiving.

I’ve seen lots of gratitude around the blogosphere and even on Facebook. That’s cool.

My only wish is that this outpouring of conscious gratitude continues throughout the year. Of course, The Considerer could be a really great help with that with her weekend blog hop and all.

Two things (I originally wrote “things” as “thinks”- why don’t we call them thinks? Anyways…) that are on my mind: a Thanksgiving poem and Writing Inspiration.

Before I start, I just wanted to say that I’m thankful for snow. In the past seven years I have lived here in western North Carolina, it has never snowed the day before Thanksgiving. I hope all travelers remain safe, but…it’s our first real snow and I think it’s Mother Nature’s way of making us stay close to home and celebrate the real reason for tomorrow: Gratitude.

I’m thankful for the snow. This photo is taken right from my doorstep this morning.


The Thanksgiving Poem

A few years ago…oh, who am I kidding? ‘Twas nearly ten years ago, I was working at a bookstore. I bought a book by Garrison Keillor called Good Poems. I loved it. I always would thumb through it looking for the perfect poem for special occasions. Alas, I could never find one that fit perfectly for Thanksgiving.

Lucky for me, I would be taking a Spanish poetry class right about the same time that simultaneously opened my eyes to poetry, in general. I had taken a regular poetry class earlier in my undergrad career and it left a bad taste in my mouth. Despite that, I discovered I loved it….

Since then, I had always wanted to pen a poem for Thanksgiving. I had always been too scared. But, I’m having Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws on Thursday and perhaps this year I will have written a satisfactory poem to read at the dinner table.

There’s that part of my heart that just isn’t scared anymore. It just wants to let the words out.

So here’s my poem. As I type this – in this moment – I have no idea what I’m going to write. I figure stream-of-consciousness gets as close to raw emotion as we can get – and perfectly imperfect.

So here goes….

Wish me luck.


Gathered here, with loved ones and beating hearts

We pause to remember those who are here now and those who are watching over us.

The sweet scent of cranberry and the classic roasted turkey drizzles my eyes with glee,

A legacy belonging to the Six Nations,

A League of our Native Forefathers

Sitting at the table with Ones from Europe.

The experience of harmony, of song and bliss,

Freshly baked food and cheerful laughter,

Create waves of glee so that

We celebrate a hope of unity even centuries later.

With the foods that fill our bellies,

Til they swell round and plump,

Satiated with gravy and fruits of harvest,

We bow in reverence for our blessings.

In good times and in bad, 

We take a moment to pause,

And remember that life gives us happiness and struggle,

So that we can aspire to be the best humans and stewards

Charged with caring for the earth and for each other,

Lifting one another up in spirit and in solidarity

For now and all posterity.

My second thought? It’s about writing, but now I think I’ll leave that for later.

For now, I just want my thoughts to linger on being thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude: The Literary Version (Not Literal)

Gosh, that Ten Things of Thankful Blog Hop is hop-hop-hoppin along.

Ten Things of Thankful


I’m going to save talking about pilgrims and corn and pumpkin and spice until the actual day of Thanksgiving over here.

What’d you expect? I’m a clark. I don’t generally follow rules very well.

But I pretend to.

You know, I was always that good student, the people pleaser.

As I get older, I’m finding that I buck the rules more and more. Even in – GASP! – grad school. I love school and all, love the research, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m not aiming to be at the top of my class. I already did that a couple times before. This time I just want the piece of paper and it doesn’t matter the GPA attached to it.

See below for the reasons why.

On to the reason for this post: what I’m grateful for.

I’m supposed to list ten things. Yes, well…we’ll see how that goes.


1. I am thankful for poetry.

I’ve not flexed this muscle in my brain before. Ever since I went to see the Cuban poet José Kozer, I’ve been hooked.

Maybe I’m just coming into myself.

Here, I wrote you a poem:


The light catches her back

As she walks with her head held high.

Her clothes are shiny, taught and silver

Like a knightess, walking in the sky.


Her horse is her spirit,

Bucking all that is bad,

Her hair wraps the wind in its sheath,

Her life best-lived as a nomad.


Her battles are mental and physical,

As the forces of good unite

She bravely fights for the downtrodden-

She is a Warrior of Light.


Eh…a poem inspired by two things: I was talking about glitter over at Lizzi’s blog and Sue Dreamwalker called me a Warrior of Light. I admit, I didn’t put as much thought as I should have into this poem and it probably doesn’t make sense, but I was in a rhyming mood (I NEVER do that!) and I hope it doesn’t sound dense.


2. I’m grateful for blogging.

You know, I’m not doing this blogging thing for money.

Yeah, I have some stupid ads up for the errant clicker who might throw me a penny or two.

But it’s more because I’ve met some of the COOLEST people in the WORLD through blogging and writing. And now, I’m an addict and I lose sleep over it.

See, I have lesson plans and coursework always to do.

But, to interact in the blog world is something unto itself. They call it “cyber” or “virtual” but I call it making the world smaller and spreading inspiration and goodwill for a better tomorrow.

And if this blogging thing inspires a book or two or ten…I am a contented soul and glad then.

(Sorry…I’m finding out that starting a post with a poem makes me prone to writing everything else in some convoluted form of moronic freeverse.)


3. Enough food.

I know that’s a pretty basic one. But, I get some sort of sick high when I go to the grocery store, take advantage of the sales and save a lot of money all without coupon clipping. I’m just going to show you the receipt from yesterday. I found a coupon while I was at the store. Otherwise, the Thanksgiving sales are awesome!


grocery receipt
I saved $89 off my $132 grocery bill.

And really, I enjoyed a new crockpot soup recipe, some fabulous dessert and a wonderful movie last night. A perfect, PERFECT end to my Friday.


4. Having focus.

Anyone who’s followed this blog for awhile probably knows that focus isn’t one of my strongpoints.

Or maybe it is, but that I have way too many interests to focus on just one thing.

I’ve been working on that.

See, I’ve been having a dilemma. I love where I work, but I’m only part time there (though, as any teacher will tell you, teaching part time is really like working full time and getting paid part time – I’m at school every day except Friday!) and I’m otherwise taking graduate courses. When I finish grad school, though, I’ll be out in the “real world” (what the hell IS that anyways…I’m a in cyber-one here and it seems real….) and I’ll have debts to pay for the privilege of attending school.

Part time work a’int gonna cut it.

I’m having to figure out what it is that I really want to do. Yes, there’s the teaching element. And I love to write.

Through meditation and really digging deep to see what it is I love, I’m thinking that I need to explore two concepts to a much GREATER degree: writing seriously as a career (I thought I was doing that, but my standard of living doesn’t agree) and tutoring students individually.

I am a good teacher. Scratch that, I am a great teacher.

I’m not pulling the arrogant card here. If there’s anyone out there who thinks they’re good at what they do, you’ll know they’re really good when they tell you (and show you) that there’s always room for improvement and always room for learning.

This would be why I was at FIVE workshops last week.

You’re probably thinking, boy, she’s meandering a lot with this post.

You’d be right…or write…or rite.



5. I’m thankful I’m halfway through this because I’m getting downright verbose.

6. Libraries.

They are the best invention, ever.

I realize a geek, dork, nerd – pick your favorite – is probably the only kind of person who’s willing to admit that, but…

As I said on my Facebook page: I have 14 checked out from my local library.

library books
These are just a sampling of the books I have checked out from the library.n 

I found out THIS morning that through the University where I’m attending school, I can check out books long term. They’ll even freaking MAIL THEM TO YOU if you’re a distance-ed student like me.


Why? Because I’m doing a lot of research for my YeRo novel. And I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the possibility of having to buy a bunch of Amazon books.

Don’t get me wrong: Amazon is great. But…when you’re doing research, it’s nice to borrow the book and then return it later. For, you know, when you’re not doing research anymore.


7. Oreo Cookies.

They’re so bad for you. But they taste good.

Taste wins. Got milk?

I love me some Oreos.


8. My YeRoWriteO Novel.

Oh my god. I’m enjoying this. It’s like for at least an hour a day, I fly into an ancient world of serpents and jaguars, hieroglyphs and magic.

This is why I’m not trying to be the best grad student that ever graduated. Nobody will see my GPA. A lot of people might see my novel, though.

If you’re interested, sign up for the newsletter AND/OR join the Facebook Group.


9. Caramel ice cream with chocolate. And apple dump cake dessert.

apple dump cake recipe
Missolive’s Apple Dumpcake.
OMG. It’s so decadent, I feel like someone rolled me in caramel.

If anyone knows how to change my genetic code to get rid of my sweet tooth, I’ll give you 1,000,000 fake dollars.


10. Fall. Autumn. This time of year.

Because the colors are spectacular. And they make for fabulous picture-taking:

gold leaf
A crispy leaf to go with my autumn.

Yeah, I edited it with Be Funky. That’s another thing I’m thankful for. Is that #11? Oops.



A Poem: A Day in the Life

It’s funny because during the course of a day, I must have 100,000 thoughts synapse through my mind – related to what I’m writing, my teaching, the Spanish-speaking world, tutoring, animals, whatever.

I thought it would be fun to string together another one of those stream-of-consciousness poems as a reflection.

Can I just say that I’m having a lot of fun with poetry right now? I never, ever really entertained it as an outlet for writing, but I’m just having so much fun playing with images.

cool autumn
Crispy autumn air

A Day in the Life

Mantras and Theta waves

First thing in the morning.

Then on to a world of serpents and jaguars.

I’m imbibed with a song of pure focus.

From there it’s “Hola, ¿Cómo estás? and

Frases completas, por favor.


I think about where I want to be

And what I want to become,

Trying my hardest to heed the words of the Lama:

Living in the present is

Hardest for some.


I try not to beat myself up too much,

But still, there’s that little voice ranting,

“Come on, squeeze one more thing in!”

And curses to society for its

Puritanical pushing, groveling –

My mind snaps as a ruler lands on my hand.


Forget about it, on to wholesome foods,

Hot orange spice tea and frijoles served up with

Tortillas, warmed over cast iron,

The crunchy autumn air covers me up:

Fleece, scarf and a wool knit hat, too.


At the end of the day, tired and spent,

I sleep next to my love.

A cat jumps up to warm my head,

I snuggle for warmth and dream big dreams,

My face, in the darkness, relaxes into a smile

A look of sweet content.


And this, my friends, is a day in my life.


I’m also linking up with Katherine’s Corner – Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop



A Poem: Greed and Sticky Ticky Tacky

So…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I’m going to let the poem explain my thinking.

See, though, I go around the blogosphere and see some amazingly crafted poems with amazing meter and rhyme, I’ve never been that great at poetry. I promise it’s not a “put myself down” sort of thing. I just never really wanted much to do with it after a poetry professor said I was clueless.

Funny how sometimes we give others power over us like that, isn’t it?

This poem is about power. And what it can do if you abuse it.

The freeverse thing is what calls to me – no rhymes, meter, rhythm. It’s just what pours out in a stream-of-consciousness style. That, I kind of like.

And…I haven’t thought about this beforehand. In fact, I apologize ahead of time if it seems like one, big “venting” process…

barefoot we are the same
A photo I took last summer at the beach…and a powerful reminder that we are the same…


We Are the Same, You and I

You said you wanted to help people,

You with your marketing and fancy schmancy books and stuff.

But you created an empire.

And it perpetuates the sin of greed.

You call it giving.

And yet, you pretend that money

Isn’t only an idea.

Did you ever talk to the Chief?

He said that only when the last tree is cut,

You’ll realize money doesn’t grow on trees.

You’ll realize that you’ve looked out for #1

And barefoot #100

Only has pity on you.

You with your big house and fancy car.

The way you pull your pants up and put your shoes on

Is the same as me, you see.

We are the same,

You with your patent leather shoes,

And me with my dollar store flip flops.

What’s not the same

Is that inner layer

Flowing through you.

It’s tar. The color of sticky ticky tacky.

Have you ever met Tiny Tim?

Tar wasn’t in his vocabulary.

No, that inner layer was golden.

It flowed, collected like glitter

Swelling with

Goodwill and hope.

Tar is attractive:

Little bugs land in it

And die.

The golden layer is different.

Like bees to honey,

Bugs land and thrive.

Don’t you think it’s time to change

Before your whole world

Becomes dark?

Where not even light can escape the ticky tacky.

And then…

And then,

The Difference between you and me

Is great indeed.


Ten Things of Thankful: Thoughts on Integrity

It’s another weekend and I have much to be thankful for.

This post is part of the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. Yippee!

Ten Things of Thankful


This should be an interesting post only because I’ve had some recent experiences that have made me hot under the collar. Or in my case, my scarf:

wearing a knit scarf
Yeah, I wear scarves a lot in the winter months…


1. I’m thankful for unscrupulous people. Why? Because they teach me ALL ABOUT who I NEVER want to be. I say that because I encountered someone like that recently. This person tried to get me to spend money to take business classes. And guess what? They’re Multi-Level Marketing classes. The kind that purportedly say, “oh, you’re going to help people by getting them out of financial trouble.” Nuh-uh. It’s called “preying upon the ignorant.” Once I realized what was going on, let me tell you how I walked out of that cussing and not displaying very lady-like tendencies.

2. I’m thankful for REAL school. It’s not easy balancing school-school, work-school (teaching) family life, and my hobbies, but I can say that I’m trying to better myself. I have ALWAYS believed in education. I always will. It sets you free. It might not always work in the way you think it will. But education – whether in school or unschooled – is really priceless.

We Are All Part of an Intricately Woven Web of a Planet…

3. I’m so thankful I have a good heart. Now, I’m not saying that to brag. But, it frankly pisses me off that there are people who think they are better than you, or anyone else. They’re NOT. They’re NOT. And for the last time, THEY’RE NOT! The people who stand to get screwed over the most in this world are the poor and others who are marginalized. I don’t always have the time or resources to be the champion of the poor, but I can tell you that the plight of peoples’ suffering is never far from my heart and mind.

And while we’re in this line of thought, can we just take a moment and send up good thoughts or prayers for the people in the Philippines? Can we keep those who are less fortunate in our thoughts and hearts because a life in poverty is so hard? So hard.

Did you hear about the homeless girl at Aquinas College in Michigan who raised money via Change.org to keep the dorms open during Winter Break? I had never even thought about something like that until I saw her petition. She got enough signatures, too. She will have a place to stay for Christmas break 2013.

4. Related to #3 above, I’m thankful I learned a powerful lesson the day my mother let a homeless dude from Mexico stay with my family. She’d found him where she attended church; he’d been there for days. But, I learned that people, when they’re at their best, can help elevate others to be better than they ever thought they could be. My mom did just that. She took that man and helped him go from homeless to a legal citizen of the US, able to bring his family and get them all situated, too. The human spirit is more than material things, the number in your bank account and status in society.

It’s about taking care of each other, our friends, families and even strangers. It’s about taking care of the planet and not cutting down every tree for profit. 

5. I’m thankful to all the people still reading this. I realize I’m on a bit of a soapbox. I don’t mean to be. But when I see people getting taken advantage of, I just get pissed off.

6. I’m thankful for an extremely supportive, open-minded, gentle, intelligent, and level-headed husband. Can I begin to tell you how supportive he is? I hereby grant him the award of Husband of the Year. The man never sits. On a day off, he’s chopping wood, over at his mom’s mowing the lawn, helping a friend, working on his own side business, working on our house, and otherwise doing something good for humanity. I found a golden human heart when I met my husby. I cherish him every day. He is a model of integrity.


Vinny the dog
My little Vinny dog. Okay, he’s not so little, but his sensitivity to emotions makes me want to give him lots of hugs.

7. My sweet, sensitive Vinny. I’ve talked about him before, but this dog has really captured my heart. I can’t believe how different his personality is from Hash Brown.

My little labyrinth: a sign of a person on a journey, searching for truth; it’s also a symbol of the feminine.

He’s quirky. He doesn’t come when called – and I’ve worked and worked with him on this – but he is so sensitive that if I’m ever upset about something, he gets upset, too. He hides his head under the bed, or otherwise mopes around with his tail between his legs. He won’t cheer up until I call him over (he does come when I call him then) and give him a hug. He gets this look on his face like I’ve given him 20 Milk Bones.

8. The truth. There’s a saying:

Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

9. Labyrinths. I need to walk one. Have you ever done that? I haven’t, actually. But, their symbolism just captures my soul. Seriously.

10. Writing. In the form of this blog. YeRoWriteO. Articles. Books. Good stuff. Oh my.

What I’ve Become

I’m not sure what this post is about. Only that I felt like writing a blog post writing is good.

You’ll have to forgive me if this post is completely random, goes off on some tangential plane so steep that a geometry whiz could make a formula out of it, or if it reads like some mishmash of a poem better suited for the deep insides of a paper journal, never to be seen by human eyes other than my own.

Too late.

I mean, I still want to write about things on this blog other than “writing,” of course, but I gotta tell ya, ever since starting this whole YeRoWriteO thing, I feel like I have some focus.

As much focus as I can possibly have…for a clark. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, for the love of god, please go see the Wakefield Doctrine and study up. For the record, you’re probably a clark if you stick around over there and dig through the archives, desperately waiting for the text to reveal  your personality type. Just sayin’.

Anyways, back to focus.

You see, I still wonder what I want to be when I grow up.

But what if “when I grow up” is really a convergence of a million tiny little things that add up to what I do right now?

Let’s see. I teach Spanish. I learned the language in full when I was in my late teens/early 20s. I still feel like I speak it like an idiot compared to a native speaker and that bugs me. And I’m almost finished with a master’s degree in it. That’s all good and well, but I can’t ever see myself going back to teaching full time. I just…can’t. So, in the end, I’m not sure how this degree is going to tie in with my other fetishes.

I am an artist. I like to paint, draw, do crafts. The result is often this explosion of color, as if I emerged from only a black and white version of my world in a past life.

I’m especially addicted to photographing nature.

I dabble in photography, too. Snapping a photo, for me, is similar to painting on canvas, only it’s done digitally, without a brush. It’s still an artistic endeavor, though. I just paint with a lens. Does that make sense?

But I was thinking the other day about a specific date: November 29, 2011.

It was the day I signed up for HubPages.

Because I thought that maybe writing an article or two sounded nice.

I had no idea it would change everything: that I’d inadvertently charted a course for myself that changed the space-time continuum that is my life.

After writing over 100 articles there, I branched out to blogging (and a whole host of unsuccessful blogs. Pfft. What the hell defines success anyways?). This after years of journaling.

And then…NaNoWriMo came up and I thought I might write a book.

And I shelved it, like some dogged piece of meat that is better left to rot. Maybe not, but I liked my use of “simile” there in the preceding sentence.

But it leads to me YeRoWriteO. A novel in a year.

I have no idea what I’m getting into. But for now, I want to write more than anything. 

I look forward to my early morning date with my computer and these crazy characters that are burgeoning forth, hacking their way not only into my novel, but into the deep, dark recesses of my mind.

Perhaps the fact that I’m using a lot of the research I naturally know from my anthropology and Spanish backgrounds as a huge segway into this new novel. That is perhaps where I’ll finally say, “this is it. Now it has all come together.”

I was telling some friends that I’m researching the Aztec pantheon as part of this novel. I already know a lot – heck, I sold a painting of Quetzalcoatl a few years ago – and I’ve always been a little obsessed with the Aztecs, Incas and Mayas. Even as early as 7th grade when my teacher had us do research projects and of course I spent over 24 hours reproducing my artistic interpretation of a geometrically designed pancho in the style of the Incas, in addition to writing the paper. Or the fact that I had to pick a Central American country to research – El Salvador – in 5th grade because I already knew I loved the idea of studying a Spanish-speaking culture in the Americas.

But, what have I become? I’m not sure on that one.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to answer that question. I only know I came to this writing game kind of late and it feels like a spiritual awakening. 

What are you? Have you found your calling?

July 2014 update: I haven’t done much with the novel – but it’s because I’ve found that novel-writing might not be my thing. It stands to reason that I can write blog post after blog post because I can write ad nauseum about the art of writing or photography…but actually sitting down to write my story?

After four starts and stops to various novels, none of them seems to stick.

Perhaps I’ll finish one, one day.

In the meantime, I have been working on so many other projects, writing and otherwise. 🙂