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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – A Day At A Time… The Journey Continues… June 21 – June 30, 2019

JUNE 21, 2019: Today is the first day of summer. Wind blew my outdoor thermometer face-down on the deck. Felt like joining it after watering plants in the 90-degree heat.

JUNE 22, 2019: Trekked all the way to Kilmarnock for a book show today. More authors than readers but met some nice people and ate some great barbecue.

JUNE 23, 2019: You know you’re getting O-L-D when the elevator music is YOUR music.

JUNE 24, 2019: I can’t bare the images of hungry kids in cages with no way to clean themselves or brush their teeth. I want to go rescue them. WHO HAVE WE BECOME?

JUNE 25, 2019: It is often said that poetry is the music of language. For me these days, it is the language of frustration, anger, and fear for our future.

JUNE 26, 2019: A friend complained to me that sometimes it takes her all day to get nothing done. I call that Sunday.

JUNE 27, 2019: My daughter loves animals, has a dog and two cats. She says dogs accept you as the boss. Cats treat you like staff.

JUNE 28, 2019: It was nearly 100 degrees today. Summer left its sweaty calling card all over me. May burn my clothes.

JUNE 29, 2019: Another book show today. Again, not many shoppers. Great hot dogs though and homemade cookies. I may have to give up book shows. Too many calories.

JUNE 30, 2019: I like sharing my daily journey. If you like “riding along” with me, leave a comment on my website or on Face Book. Make my day!

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; Revolt of the Teacups; Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library; Buddy the Bookworm Saves the Doomed Books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and two books of poetry, Tapestry; and Captured Moments.

WATCH FOR A BEAUTIFUL, NEW TRAVEL BOOK OUT IN FALL OF 2019.

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Susan Williamson – Joys of Summer

For those who say gardening is too much work or too expensive or not cost effective—this week we had homegrown tomato cucumber salad, salsa, cucumbers in sour cream, cucumbers in vinegar, and fresh blueberries. Since early spring we have enjoyed wilted Swiss chard, fresh lettuce salads, green onions, spinach, radishes, a bit of kale, lots of basil, oregano, cilantro, roasted beets, pickled beets, tarragon, chives, mint, thyme and parsley.

This bounty was to be expected when we lived on ten acres, but now we live in a duplex. A senior living facility down the street had unused raised beds, built for the residents. The empty beds were available. Last year my husband and a friend put deer fencing around one of the beds. I bought a total of one basil plant, one Roma tomato plant, two pepper plants, a pound of onion bulbs, and seeds for Swiss chard, radish, zinnias, spinach, beet and lettuce. The cilantro came back from last year’s fallen seeds as did several tomato plants. The oregano and mint are ever present. I planted onions and lettuce last fall which we enjoyed before the spring crop arrived. I made a conscious choice not to plant beans or squash due to the hassle of watering—but thanks to the rain and only a few watering days, my summer crops continue to produce.

Early last spring we pulled up the nandina bushes beside our house and replaced them with blueberries dug fresh from the field in Bailey, North Carolina. A pot on our deck holds thyme, mint and basil. Tarragon, parsley and chives grow near the blueberries and the oregano threatens to take over the side bed.

I go to the garden daily now, because the cucumbers and tomatoes are growing so fast. My total labor per day is about fifteen minutes, not counting the time it takes to walk there with my dog.

I am not a tomato fan, although I do like to cook with them. But a slender fresh cucumber, just picked, with a side of cottage cheese is my favorite summer lunch. Last Saturday we visited the Williamsburg farmers market and walked home with peaches, bi-color corn, lettuce, a pepper, and best of all, a huge, sweet honeydew melon. Yum. Life is good.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – A Day At A Time… The Journey Continues… June 11 – June 20, 2019

JUNE 11, 2019:  I didn’t make it to the gym today. Don’t tell anybody, but that makes two years in a row.

JUNE 12, 2019:  The USA Women’s Soccer team was criticized for “over celebrating” their first win in the 2019 World Cup tournament. WHY NOT CELEBRATE??

JUNE 13, 2019:  A carpenter came today to look at my rickety deck steps. He had been working all day and was sprinkled with sawdust / “man glitter.”

JUNE 14, 2019: When our grandkids are young, they think we know everything. They don’t know we’re just really good at making things up.

JUNE 15, 2019:  Went to see, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”It was great! How do those actors do two shows a day? Standing ovation for them!

JUNE 16, 2019:  It’s my son’s fiftieth birthday. My advice? “Don’t ever grow up completely. It’s a trap.”

JUNE 17, 2019:  Life is like a tightrope…confident at the beginning; plugging along in the middle; and trying not to fall off at the end.

JUNE 18, 2019:  Had lunch today with a friend who didn’t regale me with a long list of aches and pains. Left lunch with a smile instead of indigestion.

JUNE 19, 2019: If you had all the time and money in the world, where would you be? I would be living on an exotic, tropical island with my kids and grandkids around me.

JUNE 20, 2019: My Dad was born on this day in 1913. A wise person once said, “No matter what your relationship with your parents, you miss them when they are gone.”

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author who has published four children’s books…Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; Revolt of the Teacups; Buddy and Ballerina save the Library; Buddy the Bookworm Saves the  Doomed Books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and two books of poetry, Tapestry; and Captured Moments. Watch for a beautiful, new travel book, out in fall of 2019.

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Teachers Deserve More Money and More Respect!!!!

As teachers close down their classrooms for the summer, pile their belongings and weary bodies into cars and head home for the summer, let’s hope it’s a summer of the rest and relaxation they so richly deserve – not a second job. Teachers across the country have marched and carried signs this year, trying to create awareness of their very real needs for higher pay and better treatment. Let’s hope they get both.

Each of us probably had at least one teacher who inspired us, believed in us when we didn’t believe in ourselves. I had a high school English teacher who was the first person to tell me she thought I had a talent for writing. She wrote those words on one of my essays and I kept that faded piece of paper for years. Sometimes, it takes only one person believing, to send us on our way to achieving our dreams. Enjoy your summer – all you teacher believers, you supporters of dreams! You are greatly appreciated!!

AND, if you ever get really depressed about your working conditions, read this and remember…it was worse in 1872.

RULES FOR TEACHERS…1872

  1. Teachers will fill lamps, clean chimneys each day.
  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
  3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the taste of each pupil.
  4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
  5. After ten hours in school, teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so he will not become a burden to society.
  8. Any teacher who smokes or uses liquor will be dismissed.
  9. Any teacher who frequents pool halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
  10. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves. 

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning author and poet. She has published four children’s books, Herman the Hermit Crab and the Mystery of the Big, Black, Shiny Thing; Revolt of the Teacups; Buddy and Ballerina Save the Library, illustrated by her granddaughters; Buddy the Bookworm Rescues the Doomed Books; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and two books of poetry, Tapestry; and Captured Moments.

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Cindy L. Freeman – My Inspiration Garden 06/19/19

When I visited my grandmother’s house as a child, I saw a small framed print hanging on the wall in her bedroom. The painting may or may not have been famous. I never noticed the artist’s name. It was inconsequential then. But, after all these years, my mind’s eye can still gaze upon the scene as clearly as my child’s eyes once did.

This captivating artwork depicted an old English cottage* surrounded by a low stone wall. It beckoned me to swing open the wooden gate and enter its Victorian garden where summer roses, cheerful daisies, and pink hollyhocks competed for space, spilling over the front walk. Unlike a formal English garden with its tidy boxwood hedges, manicured lawns and neatly trimmed walkways, this parcel was messy, crowded, and exquisitely beautiful. It looked as if the gardener had tripped while carrying his load of seeds, accidently spreading them in wild chaotic non-patterns.

At either end of the cottage’s thatched roof, swirls of smoke stretched upward from solid stone chimneys to mingle with billowy clouds. A trellis of climbing ivy surrounded the home’s sturdy wooden door, and deep-set windows with black shutters and mullions invited me to press my nose against the wavy panes.

Because the rear garden was not visible from my favorite viewing spot where I nestled among Grandma’s pillows, I appointed myself the official landscape architect of all that lay hidden behind the cottage. Following the stone footpath around the corner and through a vine-covered pergola, I entered the backyard where my purposefully arranged flowerbeds bordered a curvy patch of verdant lawn. Here the trail meandered between generous clusters of blooms, separating them according to genus and species. Flitting butterflies, hummingbirds, and honeybees devised their own paths, feigning ignorance of local air traffic regulations.  

Willow trees reached their weeping arms over the stone fortress just far enough to offer their gift of privacy, but not so much as to shade the flowers from life-giving sunlight. Selected to bloom all summer and into autumn, these beauties emitted sweet, intoxicating scents. Roses, gardenias, jasmine, and peonies competed for first place in the contest of my olfactory sense, but kindly kept their pollen on the canvas. Behind them at the wall’s edge, neatly pruned shrubs of holly, laurel, and euonymus stood as sentries, guarding the vibrant annuals and perennials.

Beside a small pond where lily pads floated and frogs performed their nightly choruses, I positioned an ornate wrought iron table painted white. Two matching chairs, their seats softened by thick floral cushions, completed the grouping shaded by low-hanging branches from the only tree permitted within the garden wall.   

As a child, I made no effort to lock the painting in my mind’s eye. I was barely conscious of its effect on me then. Yet it sparked my imagination and still does. Even now, whenever writer’s block threatens, the cottages’ back garden is where I set up my laptop and invite my muse to join me for a cup of Earl Grey tea.

*I’ve attempted to find the original watercolor from which the remembered print was taken. A Google search of “old English cottages” took me to numerous websites and hundreds of images, but failed to produce the exact painting. The site https://www.zazzle.com offered the closest image, entitled “Cottage in the English Gardens Poster” produced by Koobear’s Photography & Design. It depicts a “lovely little cottage nestled among the flowers in Assiniboine Park.” This English garden is not in England, but rather in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and, for a reasonable price, one can have it reproduced on a t-shirt, notecards, calendar, necktie or just about any surface.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of award-winning short stories and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room, and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.l.freeman.9. Her books are available through amazon.com or hightidepublications.com.