December Haiku Share- Day 31

— December Haiku Share

snow flurries
a fresh batch
of resolutions
— Cara Holman

Shiki Kukai, January 2012


clapping together
another snowstorm
— Jenny Ward Angyal

Magnapoets 7, Jan. 2011


winter darkness
we run out
of subjects to change
Seánan Forbes

Modern Haiku 43:3


New Year’s Day
the dragon tattoo
red and puffy
— Peter Newton

The Language of Dragons, ed. by Aubrie Cox


my mother
did she realize the power
of her words?
beneath snowy pines
forgiveness begins
Pamela A. Babusci
Multiverses Issue 1 2012


first snow –
that moment just before
Eating Honey
— angie werren

*NaHaiWriMo (December, 2011)


icy breaths –
half my life spent
reliving the past
— S.M. Abeles

World Haiku Review (December 2012),
2nd place, Neo-Classical category


large flakes of snow the silence of pines
— Lauren Mayhew


a white mare’s whinny
lifts a cloud
— Polona Oblak


second chances
bare branches
— Sandi Pray

see haiga here


a gift bag of needles
under the tree
Margaret Dornaus

Acorn, no. 27, Fall 2011


crumbling brickwork
echoes across the canal . . .
with every bridge
I renew my faith
in a boundless sky
— Kirsten Cliff

‘Forever Home’ (with Margaret Dornaus)
LYNX 27:3, October 2012


with time served
only a couple of days –
prison yard snow
— Johnny Baranski

(from my tri-fold “First Snow” a Teahouse Pamphlet 2003)


another new year
I take with me the scent
of Christmas memories
— Christine L. Villa

see haiga here

creekside departure . . .
wet stardust falling
from a swan’s wings
— Kathy Uyen Nguyen

My origami haiga here


snow flurries
her last
wheezy breath
— Jone MacCulloch


first snow
still we find
the gaps
— Alegria Imperial

from a haiga published at NTFG 3:3 December 2011
see haiga here 



*this is a “pooh-ku” — based on this A.A. Milne quote:

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” ~angie werren


Did I Succeed?

So here’s the moment of truth. I actually found last year’s resolutions and now I get a chance to do a post-mortem of 2009 and see how well my accomplishments actually stack up with my expectations. My 2010 comments are in pink.

I was dating a check this morning and realized with a shock that January is flying along, and here I haven’t even made my New Year’s Resolutions! This is one tradition I just can’t bring myself to deep six, so in the spirit of better late than never, here goes.

Well, in the first place, I sat down to write my resolutions almost three weeks earlier this year (January 3, as opposed to January 22). That’s a good start!

For as many years as I can remember, one of my resolutions has been to exercise regularly. I know I am not alone, as looking for a parking space at my fitness club lately recalls the less happy aspects of shopping at the mall at Christmas time. My friend Tricia assures me that come Valentine’s Day, all these New-Year’s-Resolution people will have given up, and life will be back to normal.

I’ve been to the gym every single day this week for one class and thirty minutes of walking. Go me! (The parking lot at the gym is still a disaster.)

Well, that got me to thinking about how people in general, and me in particular, tend to approach resolutions. We generally set unrealistic expectations that feel more like a punishment than a way of promoting self-improvement. What’s the use of resolutions if you either ignore them, or worse, if they damage your self-esteem? I want resolutions that motivate me, and will make me feel good about myself when I look back over the year!

True that.

In that spirit, I think I’ll start with a year-in-review look at 2008. My chief accomplishment last year, although I cringe a bit at using the word “accomplishment” to describe it, was in caring for my parents (along with my siblings) after both were diagnosed with terminal cancer. Along with the heartache, there were happy periods mixed in there as well, and I can look back now over that time with the sense of peace that comes from knowing that I did everything within my power to bring a measure of comfort to my parents’ final months.

On March 20, what would have been my parent’s 60th anniversary, we held a memorial service for them. It was very healing.

Later that year, my siblings and I also worked in concert to settle my parents’ estate. It was a Herculean effort to empty their house and get it ready to put on the market, and a tribute to our efficiency skills that we not only did so in record time, but were able to sell it shortly before the market tanked. As my own house is now stuffed to the gills with my parents’ furniture, art objects galore, glassware, and boxes of old papers, I can perhaps be forgiven if “eliminate clutter” does not appear at the top of my New Year’s resolutions list for many a year.

I still haven’t gone through the boxes. Maybe next year…

In the course of notifying family friends and relatives of my parents’ deaths, we rekindled acquaintanceships that had been dormant for years, some going clear back into my early childhood, and I was excited to discover two “new” cousins of our mother’s, hitherto unknown to me, that I am now in contact with.

Joining Facebook this year really helped with this also. Go Facebook!

Besides all this, in 2008 I managed to find time to hit the gym on a reasonably regular basis, all things considered, I wrote frequently, and had the pleasure of seeing a respectable number of my writings published on the web, took inspiration from my writing group, and mastered (most weeks!) the Wednesday NY Times crossword. Not bad for a year that started off on such a sorrowful note!

I hit the gym 3-5 times most weeks, wrote pretty much everyday, got my first writings in print (one story each in Cupcakes on the Counter: The Stoves and Stories of our Families, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings and Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love), joined a second writing group, mastered the Wednesday NY Times crossword puzzle, and made the happy discovery that if my family makes it a communal effort, we can complete most days. Plus I had a “My Turn” essay published in the Oregonian, and people are still coming up to me (four months later) and congratulating me on it, making me a mini celebrity of sorts around these parts. 🙂

I note in passing that were I to judge myself by the number of resolutions I actually met in 2008, I would come up short! So this year, I decided to craft resolutions with a twist, by focusing not on a rigid set of expectations, but instead on identifying hopes, dreams and goals for the coming year, an idea that was suggested to me by one of the guiding questions in a Cup of Comfort on-line forum.

Still like this idea.

Now I think I better define, for the purposes of this discussion, what exactly I mean by hopes, dreams and goals. I guess I’d say that a hope is something that you want that can reasonably be expected, in the best of all worlds, a dream is something a little wilder and perhaps a little less attainable, but nonetheless something to strive for, and goals are the concrete steps to take to move towards these elusive hopes and dreams.

Got it.
That being said, my hopes for this year are for maintaining my health, having my family and friends thrive, and getting more of my writings out there both on the web and in print. Okay, this is definitely hard. I’m not sure where a hope ends and a goal takes over, so we’ll move on.

Ditto for this year.

Dreams? Don’t even get me started!

My goals now, in no particular order. Focus on family and friends. Check. Write every day. Check. Try something new. For starters, I volunteered for Komen and Wordstock. Tackle the Thursday NY Times crossword. Check. (see above) Read just for fun. (I read at least one “fun” book a month). Exercise more. Check. Spend time in my garden. Check. Attend some writing workshops. I discovered the NW Author Series and attended several workshops. Actually read some of the writing guides I purchased last year. (Finally read Bird by Bird, Half Past Perfect, and Writer Mama. Also, read Writing the Memoir, Novel Shortcuts and Creative Nonfiction) Work piecemeal on getting the house organized. Getting there. Think about tackling a major house project (and maybe even do it!). Remodeled a bathroom. Take one day at a time. Check. Make time for myself. Double check. And finally, don’t judge myself too harshly if I fail to make great strides in any category. But I did! If I learned anything from the past two years, it is that sometimes just getting by is enough. Here, here.

An upcoming biopsy has started this year on a somber note. This isn’t my first biopsy, and I imagine it won’t be my last, but I refuse to let it get me down, and deter me from living my life to the fullest. Hence the importance of keeping my focus on hopes, dreams and goals. As any self-respecting kid can tell you though, the fastest way to take the fun out of something is to be told you have to do it. Keeping in mind that my list is more in the line of friendly suggestions that I came up with of my own free will, not inflexible action items, how can I possibly fail? And when New Year’s Day 2010 (or thereabouts) rolls around and I sit down to review this year, I’m perfectly sure I will have a whole new set of accomplishments to laud!

The biopsy eventually came out clean, thankfully, but it was yet another reminder not to take anything for granted. So was losing three more relatives from my parents’ generation this year.

So did I succeed with my resolutions? By any measure, I’d have to say emphatically, yes! All in all, 2009 was a good year. Here’s to good things for 2010!

Resolutions… 2010

Okay, I better get to my New Year’s resolutions before the year gets too old and I break the very first one:

In 2010,  I will …not put off until tomorrow what I really know I should be doing today, always have a contingency plan in place, take one day at a time, keep an open mind, try new things, keep things simple, reduce clutter in my life, keep only what works for me, ignore the naysayers, surround myself with people with a positive outlook on life, learn to say no, get into a daily habit of exercising even if only for 15 minutes a day, stop overthinking things, make time to write, find new markets to submit to and new online writing communities, not let Facebook, email  and the internet in general become timesinks, find balance in my life, garden more, worry less, listen to music more, eat less, keep up with my health, but not let health concerns rule my life, think about expanding into realistic fiction and longer form poetry, enter more writing contests, continue to take poetry and writing challenges, keep my blog going, maybe take it in a different direction, find an aerobics class that works for me, continue to make yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates priorities, get organized, read some of the backlog of books I have compiled over the past year, read more just for fun, watch more foreign movies, compile a collection of all my writing group stories, make volunteering for the Komen organization and Wordstock yearly events, try new volunteering challenges, believe that it is impossible to fail at anything you truly set your mind on, be more focused on the process rather than the end goal, come to peace with the unpredictability of life, always make time for my family, see the glass as half full, be willing to try things outside of my comfort zone once in a while, just to shake things up, post more book and movie reviews on Amazon, find more time to enjoy the outdoors and the wonderful parks we have around here, attend writing workshops, think about attending a writing conference this year, learn how to network effectively and focus on building a writing platform, be adaptable, resilient, intellectually curious, persistent, focused, empathic, tolerant, and thankful for all I have.

One Word for 2010

On her blog, Christina Katz, adapting from fellow blogger Ali Edwards, selects one word every year that will keep her on track for the year. I like that idea. The only problem is, how do I pick only one word?

The first one that came to my head is RESILIENCE.  defines “RESILIENCE” as  the “ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like;  buoyancy“. That sounds a little downbeat! So I went to the thesaurus for synonyms, and was directed to FLEXIBILITY and PLIANCY.

FLEXIBILITYis defined assusceptible of modification or adaptation“, leading me to ADAPTABILITY, its close cousin,  meaning being “able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions“. Hmm, that’s starting to sound an awful lot like resilient, without the “illness and depression” part.

PLIANCY” is “flexible; supple; adaptable“, but could also mean “Yielding readily to influence or domination“, making a pliant person sound like a cross between a Gumby and a pushover. Okay, so PLIANCY is out.

BUOYANCY” means “lightness or resilience of spirit; cheerfulness” (there’s that resilience again!) or “the power to float or rise in a fluid“. I don’t know, it just sounds a bit too light and bubbly for my taste. Think swimming pools. Think champagne.

Still not completely satisfied, I considered CURIOSITY: “The desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness“. I definitely like that. I’m always up for learning something new.

INQUISITIVENESS” though, led me to: “Given to inquiry, research, or asking questions” but could also mean “Unduly or inappropriately curious; prying“. No thanks!

I think all things considered, my word of the year will be RESILIENCE which I’d like to define as “the ability to bounce back from whatever challenges life throws at you“.There is definitely the component of recovery in there, which makes it just a tad different from ADAPTABILITY, which is more concerned with the response to any kind of change, positive or negative. So, if I could get a couple more words (and who’s to tell me I can’t!) I would throw ADAPTABILITY into the mix ,  with a soupçon of (INTELLECTUAL) CURIOSITY .

This I Resolve…IV

Well, I tried. I really tried. I figured that by starting my resolutions early in December, I would be home free by New Year’s Eve. Alas, I’m not. Blame it on all the company, blame it on the holidays, blame it on the freak snowstorm we had a few days ago, but most of all, blame it on me waiting until the last minute to put what I thought would be the finishing touches to an End of Life essay that I have been working on for some time for Creative Nonfiction, and deciding I needed to start from scratch. Last night I finally completed what I then thought was the final, final copy.

The postmark deadline was today, and wouldn’t you know it, when I called the Post Office this morning just to verify their hours, I was informed that they were closing today at 3:00 pm  (for the non-holiday of New Year’s Eve, I guess). I’ve always known I work best under pressure. I made some major revisions to my “final, final copy”, took a look at the clock and decided to call it good, and posted the manuscript just 20 minutes before closing time, watching carefully that they applied the all-important postmark before I walked away from the window. Moral? (And next resolution):

Don’t procrastinate!