A Few Things I Learned In July

Now this is really fun to write. I do hope it is fun to read. You have been warned that extreme randomness fills the lines of this post. I do  love joining Emily P. Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky, her beautiful blog home. I especially enjoy the series “What I Learned…..”. You may want to visit the others who have linked up  at Emily’s with what they learned this month. Some things are serious and educational, others are humorous and reveal a little  of life’s craziness and/or the writer’s personal nuances. You may even learn something new about this writer.

I will say, I may take creative license and include some things I have learned NOT in July but in general and about which I  feel  utterly compelled to share. You can try to figure out which item falls into that category. You may want to get out now. You have been warned. 🙂


1. I learned not to judge a writer by her writing. Well by that I mean this. I had a lovely meet up with two bloggers this week. Up until this point I only knew them by their blogs and social media. Amazingly they have two legs and two arms each and in this case they are both funny as all get out. I almost said something else but I didn’t. Self editing helps. I met Kendal Privette and Amy L. Sullivan for coffee at the quintessential coffee house, The Dripolator. These two women are the realest deal and both have hearts spun from pure gold. They drove out of their way to meet me. I am grateful. Thank you Kendal for the poetry book. I cherish it.

2. If you are leaving church,  pulling out into traffic from said church’s parking lot OR if you have a sign of the fish on your car, be nice. I am just saying. That may raise the bar on your driving etiquette but people, this is the time to raise the bar on yourself.  It is a good time to defer, slow down, pay it forward and just kill  ’em with kindness. There will be plenty of sweet tea at the after church buffet when you get there.

3. Editing is hard work. Well, proof-reading is hard work. My father and I are editing my mother’s book (twenty chapters long). Let’s just say it is not as easy as it looks. The next time you read a book and you find a typo, try not to be all, “Wow how did this book ever get printed and distributed, I mean with typos and stuff.”  We are proof-reading behind several people, at least one of which was paid to find the errors. To forgive is divine.  And I am convinced the eye reads what it thinks should be there,  we  often miss our own typos even after proof-reading five times or so. And thanks for grace here. I have had my few…..hundred myself.

4. One of the best places to dine out of doors is in my summertime back yard. Run don’t walk to The Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Well don’t run, just call and make  a reservation if you are anywhere near Western North Carolina. And don’t quote me. I just happen to have had a wonderful experience there. Who knows, maybe you will too. The sunset over the valley and the Asheville skyline are beautimous.

5. Walking through life with an aging  mother is filled with intrigue and wonder. I learned this in July and I am learning it in August and hopefully will continue to learn from it for the rest of my life. I will definately be writing more about that and Dementia here.

summer veggies

6. I am obsessed with Instagram and with taking pictures of food, seeing it increasingly as  art. Instagram is like an art gallery of the lives and art of folks I seem to be following– mostly family, friends, bloggers and magazines whose work I love. I am there at @graceappears on Instagram. It seems like a quiet place to be in  a very loud world. And yes, I realize that I contribute to the noise. Should I be following you.

7. Poets are some of the funniest people I know. At least the folks at Tweetspeak Poetry are. I recently participated in their “Take A Poet To Work Day.” Man that really caught on, like all around the globe. We started with flat puppets like flat Stanley. Whoever that is. And the rest is too hard to explain so I recommend you head over there and read the recap. It was a day of wit and whimsy and child’s play. Which takes me to my next point.

8. I am enjoying this summer almost more than I did when I was a child. And I am learning to play again. Though I am not quite there, I am making progress with becoming reacquainted with channeling the inner child. (see Instagram for examples of summer fun.)

summer picture JULY

9. When I make a salad, I am at my easel with paints and brushes and a blank canvas. One of my new favorite “paintings” is a peach salad. Here is the recipe. Fresh greens (I used red leaf which is not always a favorite but it was perfect here.) Fresh Peaches ( I like the peel on) sliced thinly and then cut bigger than bite size. I know I am weird that way. Blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbes. And candied walnut pieces.(I found them in the produce section. And then a vinegar and oil dressing. I added rotisserie chicken. Yummers. A meal.

10. I am thinking of and dreaming of two things. (Well more than that but…..you know what I mean.)  I am going to begin to look for a publisher for a poetry book and I am dreaming of collaborating with another writer or musician on some song lyrics. Let me know if you know anything about either of these so that I don’t spin around in circles endlessly dreaming and scheming. Who knows, maybe by August’s list of “A Few Things I Learned in August” I will be able to report what I now know about dreaming of writing and publishing a poetry book.
trio in nature

11. I am amazed at the quality of my camera phone. #oldschool not an #iphone.  And I am still using and totally  obsessed with Pikmoney. (pikmonkey dot com) I don’t always photo edit, but when I do it is with Pikmonkey. Instagram has it’s own fun filters. But you already knew that.

See you in August. Wait. No. I hope I will see you around here before then. Poetry is popping up all over and almost daily. Sort of like the mushrooms. It is like the summer of mushrooms with all the rain, they are taking over. I digress.

Some Things I Learned In June

I am joining Emily Freeman over at Chatting At The Sky today as we join hands with our  lists, quirky, informative and random. We are over at her place sharing some things we learned during the month of June. Join me and others at Emily’s place for some humorous, informative, odd and fun list making.

Because I did not take copious notes during the month of June on what I was learning in June this will unravel in an organic sort of randomness, so hang on, stick with me, or go ahead and get out now while you still can.

And my personal favorite might be number 15 on this list, but I am not choosing a personal favorite because I don’t want to make the other random things I learned feel bad or inferior.

dolphin duo show offs

1. Teaching moments are everywhere and they can be teased out of a telemarketing phone interaction between said telemarketer and an eighteen year old. And yes I pulled the  “he probably has a baby to buy formula for” card, so be nice. A parenting moment for which I might want  to request a do over is this one–” how to be a patient Christian young man to an unrelenting telemarketer.”  When an eighteen year old picks up the phone and the voice says “are you a senior who is prone to falling” and it is not a robo call and he told him three times he wasn’t interested. Well this is when you try to teach “we all have to make a living somehow, be nice”.

2. People don’t whisper in libraries any more. When I was a growing up child, this was imperative, non-negotiable. Just saying. Things change. Any volume is “whateves”.

3. Days are like fingerprints. No two are alike. How can so many combinations of days exist. They just keep switching it up on me. Life is not boring. Never. Or is that ever. Double negatives undo me.  And so do tired cliches. Wait aren’t all cliches tired.

4. The older you get the faster summer travels. There might be a mathematical equation which could be formulated for the time, age, travel, season combination/thingy. I was never good in math and I only know this experientially which is how I learn best. Time flies!  Or at least this summer gig is going by in a blaze of glory. I will let the physics brain trust figure that one out.

5. Just when you think you aren’t one to get star-crossed, you are proven wrong. I went over the moon this week when I received a text message from Rita Wilson, Editor at Large for Huffington Post 50. Man I was giddy. So I took a grainy instagram of the said text message. Maybe I don’t know myself that well after  all.

6. You can learn a lot about humanity and stray cats and the price of deodorant when you wait in a line at the Dollar General. And wait…and wait…..and wait. You almost decide you can do without all the essentials you thought you couldn’t live without.

7. Friends you make through blogging are for keeps. And try to explain that one to non-blogging types who don’t have blogging friends.Go ahead, I am waiting. Because I might need some tips on the splaining part. This is a new type of “eyes glaze over” look.

8. Fresh fried shark is delicious. I was a doubter. I am a new fan. It is okay if you find that gross. I get it. But if you need a recipe email me.


9. Riding a bike is better than anything in the world. Well not really but it is awesome. Especially when your bike is turquoise with yellow flowers and it rattles when you pedal. I am a fan of just jumping on and going for little rides, a lot of little rides in a day. Cheap stress reliever.

10. Arugala may be the new Iceberg. Fifty might be the new thirty. Trader Joe’s coffee is my new fave and cheaper than my old fave. But I can’t say the name of the old fave because it might start something unpleasant. The internet is weird that way. I know. It happened to a friend of mine.

11. You can invite a published author to lunch and he will say  “yes that sounds wonderful” and that is a loose translation. But you get all giddy again. Giddy might be a new favorite word.

12. I am at the age where I am seeing a lot of facelifts. I might like faces unlifted.

13. A three man cheering squad is sometimes all the encouragement you need to submit your poem to Hufftington Post 50- 50 Poets project. Who can you encourage today?

14. A close up photo of a peach is really a new cool way of looking at an old favorite fruit. And you wonder if James got this close to his peach.

peach 2013

15. I closed down the comments on my blog for awhile and now I am opening them up. I MISS THE INTERACTION OF COMMENTORS AND FRIENDS ON MY BLOG.  Typing  in all caps sounds like talking loudly when you want to make your point really boldly and straightforwardly. And you don’t want people to miss the point you are trying to make.