Monthly Archives: August 2007

Toad on the Doorstep–Friend or Foe

Last night shortly before going to bed a toad appeared on the doorstep. A large toad colorful and dry had blocked the treshhold. He was comfortable to be petted. I did not pick-up this large toad (abut the size of my palm or fist) as I did not want to be wetted. Instead both Mike and I grabbed our cameras (later I promise pics). I wondered about the omen but waited until morning to google–“toad on doorstep omen.”

 According to FOLKLORICA: Journal of the Slavic and East European Folklore AssociationCertain sounds and tactile sensations are said to be portents of death, as are certain

types of dreams. For example, an omen that indicates that a family member, usually the male head of the household, is about to die is the howling of a dog, especially at the feet of the person in question (pes vyie na lapy). A dog digging at the earth near the house foreshadows death, as does a cow escaping into a neighbor’s yard. Other omens include a shrew continuously digging dirt in the yard (krit krute) or a toad finding its way into the house proper. Insect omens include the ceaseless chirping of house crickets and the sudden appearance of a great number of houseflies or bees.

I guess it is very good that Mike was so insistent that we not let the toad enter our home. But I think he was not an ill omen but a good omen a shaman, shape shifted, who had arrived to share with me magic before my trip.


Solo Adventure–Mohawk, Michigan

My next adventure will be solo (sans-Mike). I am going to the small town of Mohawk, Michigan to stay at  Ramblin’ Rose Bed & Kitchen . I will be working on some creative projects, gardening and taking some photos. I hope to stumble across some waterfalls on my trip.

Departure is set for early Thursday morning. I will be driving up to Mohawk with a short drop-in to Prospector’s Pardise, a rock barn where I buy rocks and crystals. Friday morning I will wrap up gardening, weather permitting, and get some discovery in before meeting my son in Houghton for dinner. Then I have a Gypsy Pie Society gathering at Northwind Books for poetry reading  and art sharing . If you are local and wwish to attend it will be to 7-9pm.

After the poetry reading I will be high-tailing it home as Blue’s Fest starts Saturday. I am looking forward to being with my Magic Man and dancing to some sexy smokey blues.

Black River Harbor–Thomas C. Mullen

Thomas C Mullen

At Black River Harbor, I saw a fishing boat–here is a close up shot. Growing up in the Leelanau area (downstate) I loved looking at fishing boats and daydreaming of the life the fisherman led. At Black River Harbor there is a boardwalk around the one side of the river/harbor and a suspension bridge. That day the skies were darkening over Lake Superior and sun shined through at the harbor creating dramatic views. Mike picked up some rocks that are on our entertainment unit at home. We were beat. We had started the day at the Sylvania Wilderness and a short morning Hike. We then drove to The Black River Scenic Byway and had already hiked  3 of the falls–we had two left. The Harbor was a nice break in between descent and climb.

Black River Gorge-waterfalls

Black River GorgeThe Upper Peninsula is a magical place and I love traveling with Mike–early this year we travelled to the Black River Gorge. Many of the waterfalls were so large I could not get them in my shot–of course I am using a Fuji disposable camera with flash and an inexpensive digital with not the greatest color. But I wanted to share some of these shots as the falls are amazing.


CarcassI live in a place where this can be a common site–this shot was taken last winter on Lakeshore Blvd. on the way out to Presque Isle. I call the photo, Carcass. It struck me that nature finds a way. This animal provided food for many. In the background are the stacks of the power plant, and a glimpse of the ore dock.

Mike and I had been out hiking on Presque Isle and attending an Art Show that was along the trials. We started out in snowshoes but due to the patchiness of the snow ended up slinging them across our back.

I caught sight of the carcass in the tree as we drove home and made Mike turn around so I could get the shot.

Stairway to Creating

Stairway to CreatingThis is the stairway to my creative space. When I moved in with Mike in the winter of 2005, he hung shelves for my books and carved out a space in the Craig Street House for me. There is a tiny loveseat to lay on and daydream. A sunny window that looks up hill. Shelves of books, paint brushes, pencils and pens and of course my computer.

When I found Mike, I found a place to heal and create. A patient man. A loving man.

Musings at Hiawatha 2007

“(rain was for) putting on swim trunks and playing in the rain. It was rad!” — A musician on what he did with his dad (as boy) when it rained.

The security officer patrols the dance floor at morning yoga and asks, “Is all secure here?” I am in downward dog and I hope so.

Stepping from the camper at 2 am –> Big Dipper –> The camp is calming after the drumming, after the Cajun dance, and the many impromptu gatherings of musicians –. replenish for the next day.

Waking from sleep I hear a young child’s call…ma…ma…maa. The call is persistent and unanswered so I wake and realize that the call…ma…ma….maa is a crow flying thru camp areas A and B.

“…he can change the hills,” sings Cheryl Wheeler

My thoughts. The grace of the white birches that help shade main stage at Hiawatha Music Festival –tall red pines –learning the traditional music stories to pass on to my grandchildren–stories to ease our anger and worry on the weekend before my daughter delivers her baby.

The night a duet on mainstage blew the power and truly went acoustic with their Celtic tunes and the audience clapped wildly.

…and he played that squeeze box with Irish flare.

Dancing up a dust storm came the dark of night.

In Need of Happy Feet

It is no secret that my writing has stalled over the last month. I was making a transition between a sit down job where I was tethered to a keyboard and phone 10 hours a day (call center) to a stand up job working 8 hours on my feet. I was excited to make the change. I had worked at grocery jobs in the past and this would be working in a grocery store deli.  My feet were not as happy as I, however.

 I was kept awake at night by spasms and fallen arches and weird pains all the way up into my pelvis. My 40+ year old body was angered. My feet felt brusised and I began to limp. I am a hiker and beachcomber. I was not able, even though now I had the time, to get to the woods and journal. Now I was marrooned to the couch and elevating my feet. I would wake in the middle of the night unable to hobble to the bathroom without excruciating pain. 

I thought. I am a whiner. There are women working here (the store) with sore feet and they have stayed for years. The difference is what is and what isn’t acceptable to me. I have choices. They, too, probably have choices but are not used to looking for openings.

Not wanting to call in sick repeatedly and not wanting to inconveince my fellow employees, I gave my two week notice. I have gone down to a handful of hours. Paid what bills I can into September. And have again taken a leap to the next thing.

To transition I am going on an artist retreat of sorts. On Thursday, August  29 I am traveling up to Ramblin Rose and Keweenaw Krayons . I will be staying at the Bed and shared kitchen, gardening, writing, snapping photos. I will stop at my favorite Greenhouse. Do Tai Chi by the waterfalls. Visit with my son at Michigan Tech University. And attend a poetry reading and gathering of the Gyspy Pie Society. Then head back for two days at Blue’s Fest .

What comes next? Working as a substitute teacher. Writing my book. Being a grandma.


It was 67 degrees and humid. Humid enough  that when the wind blew you felt cold and damp. Humid enough that when doing manual labor you sweated. The neighborhood is getting a face lift after the hail storm. Nail guns pop to th left and right of my house. We are contemplatign a blue siding with a lighter roof–not the plain black. An architectural roof shingle in a gray to blue tone or speckle.  But today I was weeding the Buddha Bed Garden. Pulling out the viney weeds that wrap around plants and pull them to the ground. Planting a new lily, Mrs P’s Pink. I cut back some Yarrow to expose a  small Echincea that is trying to find the light. The wild roses had overtaken the left of the bed and I pulled out the lopers to cut them back under the soil and quickly raked up thorny branches. I have a new job and need to go to work at 2pm. I do not want to leave my home this weekend. I want to work beside Mike. The tiny hummingbirds keep chasing off the ruby-throated male from the feeder hanging on the grape arbor.

One Liners

A poet whose work I admire is Medbh McGuckian. I love this line found in the poem, View without a Room–I threw sand as far inland in you as I could get.

There are so many one line bits and pieces that have come to me that go nowhere. I have decided to post them here lke seeds to see if they germinate.

Rain dances across the windshield and the Seney Stretch is illuminated by lightening. I have learned you are an easy travel partner.

We are the new dancers of Marquette

I am learning to keep my feet under me and trusting

that I can rest the small of my back

 in the palm of your  hand.


Two men were fishing at

the sturgeon river slough

outside of Chassell.

They drained the lake at Alberta village.


Turning from flannel sheets I watch you dress and comment that your aura is beautiful and the migraine comes in minutes.

These bits and pieces may become poems or prose. They have been around a while and intrigue me enough  o keep track of them.

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