Thursday, November 14, 2019

Celebrating a Poem's Take-Off

A lovely thing happened this summer.  I received an invitation to have one of my poems published in another of Michelle H. Barnes "Best of Today's Little Ditty" anthologies.  Of course I was delighted!  Of course it is an honor to see my poem in a volume with many illustrious poets.  So... woohoo!  Thank you, Michelle! How exciting!

And as of today, the book is out, available on Amazon.  Congratulations to Michelle and all the poets.  I can't wait to get my copy.  You can find it here.

I like Michelle's description:
Today’s Little Ditty is more than a children’s poetry blog, it’s a poetry playground. Each month, a lively community of writers, teachers, librarians, and poetry-appreciators gathers to take part in the Ditty of the Month Club (DMC). Writing to prompts by successful authors and editors, they participate for the camaraderie, and for the joy and craft of writing poetry.

So today I thought I would tell you the story behind my published poem by explaining the DMC challenge and showing you a picture of the object I chose.

I wrote this poem in response to a prompt with Helen Frost in which she challenged us to write what she calls an "Ode poem."
Choose an object (a seashell, a hairbrush, a bird nest, a rolling pin). It should not be anything symbolic (such as a doll, a wedding ring, or a flag). Write five lines about the object, using a different sense in each line (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). Then ask the object a question, listen for its answer, and write the question, the answer, or both.

I chose to write about the dress I wore when I was a flower girl in my oldest brother's wedding. (I know there is a color version of this photo, I just can't locate it.  Sigh...)  At any rate, here you see it in black and white.

And here is my poem:

Ode to a Pink Dress

Sweet as cotton candy, you gathered me
into a cloud of pink confection
Where sheer and taffeta rustled lavishly
Each seam scented with anticipation
I slid my fingers around your slippery satin sash
My girlish twirls blossomed like peonies

You remember me after all these years?

Like silk stockings in a parade of bobby socks
You indulged my sweetest dreams

© Karen Eastlund

Thanks for indulging me as I celebrate publication and look back at a sweet memory. I hope my poem whets your appetite for Michelle's Best of Today's Little Ditty 2017-2018 anthology, and challenges you to try writing a poem also!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

June 1928 - early garden harvest

June 1 – Friday – Isle, MN
Quite cold. Cloudy and at last it did rain. The 8th graders had a picnic and asked Doris to go so she went about 12. Emil got 2 doz. lemons & we made the lemonade here and he bought ice-cream for all of them. Marion slept all the time while Doris was gone. In eve Doris, Emil & Berge went fishing & didn’t get home until 12 o’clock. It is very cold tonight. Berge had to pay $7 for the use of the boat. Mrs. Church was here for a while in the afternoon.

June 2 – Saturday – Isle
I got up before 5 & had breakfast before six so Berge could get an early start for home. Doris did a big washing and mopped. I ironed in afternoon and we went up to look at the house. I got Margarette’s & Marion’s hats & will have to send both back as Marion’s is too small & Margarette’s too big. In eve Doris & Emil went to commencement exercises at school house and while they were gone a drunken man came stumbling in and wanted to find lodging. I told him there was no lodging here and he begged my pardon about half a dozen times and backed out. The town is just swarming with people who have come here to fish.

June 3 – Sunday – Isle
Very nice day. We didn’t do very much but lay around and had supper about 5 and then went for a ride. This is our last night in this house and I’m not sorry.

June 4 – Monday – Isle
Got up real early and we washed all the curtains & drapes & Emil had a boy come with a truck & we got nearly everything moved to the other house. Margarette played all forenoon with Mildred Church. Say but we are tired tonight but will like it much better here for there is so much more room. Very warm today.

June 5 – Tuesday – Isle
Some cooler. Doris & Emil went over to the other house to clean it up and get what was left. They didn’t get home until noon. I went out to empty some slops while they were gone and the night lock was on all the doors and I was locked out & Marion was crying. I tried to get in every way and went to the next door to have them call Emil and have him come back, but I couldn’t get anyone up but the dog and I didn’t want him so I pushed the glass part that is on the porch door in enough to get my hand in & unlatched it. I took a letter to post office at noon. I rode up town with Margarette when Emil went after mattress for little bed.

June 6 – Wed. – Isle
Very warm. I got up at five and scrubbed both linoleum rugs & made cookies before they were up. I fixed drapes & Doris put curtains up. Emil had Dr. Holm come over to see Marion as she isn’t gaining any & he said to put her on the bottle & give her Dextri-Maltose in the milk. We went over to the other house & took down clothes lines in eve and rode up north a ways. Marion had a terrible crying spell until after 11 at night.

June 7 – Thurs. – Isle
Cloudy all day. After dinner Doris & Emil went over & put the garden seeds in. It rained & just poured but they planted right through it. Doris breasts hurt her quite bad all night. It rained hard in the night too. Margarette is much more contented here than where they lived before.

June 8 – Fri. – Isle
It cleared up about 9 o’clock and we put water on and did a big washing, didn’t get them out until 2 o-clock but they dried. We had supper early and drove out to Enroth’s for a kalsomine brush and rode over by the other place.

June 9 – Sat. – Isle
A beautiful day. I got up early and went out door & forgot to take the night lock off so had to pound on the door to wake Doris to let me in. We did about three days work today. Ironed, Kalsomined two rooms up stairs, made curtains and did several other things & when nine o-clock came I was so tired I could hardly hold the baby.

June 10 – Sunday – Isle
Lovely day. I arose at 6 and scrubbed all the linoleum, porch floor & all and made a cake & washed & dressed both Marion & Margarette and got dinner while Doris & Emil cleaned up the room upstairs that they kalsomined & cleaned down stairs. About 5 o’clock we went over to Onamia & met Clarence, Eldora & Knute Lee coming up so we hustled home & got supper & Doris kids & I slept downstairs and nearly froze to death, it was so cold in the night.

June 11 – Mon. – Isle
Nice in forenoon but turned cloudy & rained a little toward eve. The men all went fishing & didn’t get back until noon. After dinner Clarence & Mr. Lee started to Fergus Falls. I went down town in morning & toward night we went over to the school house. I got Margarettes & Marions hats today. It rained quite hard in the night.

June 12 – Tues. – Isle
Rainy early in morning but cleared up & we did a big washing. I made raisin pie for dinner. After Margarette woke up in afternoon she & I went over to Church’s & was going to call on Nellie Haggberg but she was over to her mother-in-laws so she came out & talked to us a few minutes. After supper, Eldora & baby & Margarette & I walked down to the lake. Emil put new brake bands in the car  & didn’t get through until 9-30.

June 13 - Wed. – Isle
Very nice day. I ironed & made an apple pie. Eldora took her baby & Margarette for a walk in forenoon. After dinner they all went down town but Marion & I. Doris got material for two aprons for me. She & Emil had to go to school house to check up the books. In eve Eldora, Margarette, Marion, Virginia, Emil & I went for a ride & took Audley Patterson’s certificate up to him. Nellie Haggberg was over in eve & Doris & Emil took her home & took Doris two amyrillas (amaryllis) over for her to take care of while they are down home.

June 14 – Thurs. – Isle
Very nice day. I got up at 4-30 but we didn’t get started for home until nearly 8. Eldora lost her pocket book & we looked for that for an hour & found it under the dresser. We got to Minneapolis about 11 & Emil had to get a tire, so didn’t get away from Neuhouse’s until about 1 & came right on until we had another puncture this side of Preston & had to change tires. We got home about 8 and were all tired out. Anita had a very nice supper ready. Luella & boys came over. Marion cried about all night.

June 15 –Fri. – home
I’m so tired I don’t believe I’ll ever get rested. Doris, Emil & Margarette didn’t get up until after 9. Marion has quite a cold. Emil went to Spring Grove in forenoon. At noon Anita took Elmer down to Merle’s & Margarette & I went too. After we got back I laid down a little while when Margarette was going to sleep. She has had a big time running around with the chickens. We were all pretty tired when bed time came.

June 16 - Sat.
Cloudy most all day. Doris washed some of the baby’s clothes. Emil came just after noon & he & Doris went to Decorah & got home a little after 6. They left both kids here with me and I had a nice time while Anita was milking taking care of all three kids. Evensons invited us & Raymonds up there tomorrow.
Emery Wilbur was buried this afternoon.

June 17 – Sunday.
Rainy & rained hard about ten. We all went up to Evensons in Emil’s car & had a very nice dinner & they made us stay to supper too so it was nearly 7 when we got home. Steve McCabes had been here & we felt pretty bad because we were gone. We were all so tired & went to bed a little after 9.

June 18 – Mon.
Cloudy most of the day. Doris did her washing in forenoon & I did ours in afternoon. Emil went to Spring Grove & Doris & kids went over to Luellas with Raymond when he came back from the route. I mowed part of one side of the lawn & Doris finished it. I picked berries for dinner & supper. Anita worked in the garden after the milking was done.

June 19 – Tues.
I ironed most of the day. Charley McCarty came before dinner. In eve Emil came & he and Doris took a phonograph to Decorah to see if he could sell it. I kept the kids & Anita took Marilyn to bed at 8-30 & I took the other two. They got home about 11-30. Elmer & Charley went to Burr Oak with Emils car & he took Elmers Ford to Decorah.

June 20 – Wed.
Very warm. Doris, Emil & Margarette went to Decorah & got home at noon. I picked strawberries & nearly melted. I only picked enough for dinner & supper. In afternoon Emil helped Raymond & Doris & kids were there.

June 21 – Thurs.
Lovely day. Anita went to Canton & had her hair cut. Emil helped at Raymonds all day. In afternoon Doris, kids & I went up to Eda’s, to Adds & a few minutes at Guys. Emil & Doris took me to Burr Oak in eve to “The Ministers Wifes New Bonnet” & I rode back with Jim & Eda. It was good & there was quite a crowd.
I alabastined the kitchen today.

June 22 – Fri.
Rainy in morning & until noon. I picked berries enough for dinner. Elmer rode over town with Charles Miller. After supper Emil went to Prosper and sent the keys for his fathers car home.

June 23 – Sat.
Quite nice until toward eve & rained then. Emil went to Spring Grove & then to Decorah & got back here about 12 at night. We did our washing & Doris & I made an angel food cake & Anita cleaned bed room & front room. We were all so tired at night we could hardly move.

June 24 – Sun.

Cloudy all day & misty at times. We were hustling around to get the work done & Guy, Vera & Ethel came & then Howard. Mr. B. Charlene & Beverly came after strawberry plants. We had floors to mop & Elmer went to BO after groceries & ice. Emil froze the cream & I picked strawberries, Mr. Young, Alice, Ervin & Ronald were here & Raymonds to celebrate Luella’s birthday. Youngs stayed until after supper.

June 25 – Mon.
Cloudy & cool all day. Doris, Emil & Margarette went to LaCrosse & got back about six. Emil went right down to Decorah & left another phonograph at Ella McMasters “café.” Marion was very good all day.

June 26 – Tues.
Lovely day. Anita went to BO in morning & took Margarette with her. Emil went to Spring Grove as soon as he got up. Doris washed today. Anita & Elmer went to the Club picnic & left Marilyn with me. Charley McCarty was here.  Marilyn was very good & so was Margarette.

June 27 – Wed.
Another lovely day & we washed our clothes. Had new peas for dinner & supper & I picked strawberries for dinner & Anita picked them for supper. Emil came & they all went over to Raymonds & stayed all night. Emil & Raymond went to Decorah. Margarette was very good today because we let her run out whenever she wanted to. Rained in the night or toward morning.

June 28 – Thurs.
Nice in forenoon but rained all afternoon. We ironed and picked peas for dinner & strawberries too. In afternoon Elmer was going to Decorah to a ball game, some girls were to play, but it poured so he didn’t go. I was going down to see Lillie. Elmer went to Burr Oak. Anita picked berries for supper & I sewed all afternoon. Anita gave me a check for $35 that they owed Doris & she said to give it to me toward paying for car.
Image result for image of peas growing

June 29 – Fri.
Nice & sunny all day. I picked strawberries & peas in forenoon. After noon I sewed some. Doris, Emil & kids came home after supper. Anita & Elmer went to a dance at Burr Oak & left Marilyn with me. She was real good. They got home a little after twelve.

June 30 – Sat.
Nice day & quite warm. Doris & Emil went to Preston with a phonograph & left the kids with us, & got home at noon & he went to Canton & brought another down. He got home about 5-30. In afternoon Anita & I went to Mabel to have Dr. Nass see Marilyn. He thought she was getting along fine.
Elmer went to Lennie Asks in forenoon. The Fuller Brush man brought Anita’s things she had ordered.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


What is a saint? Is it the parent who loved us even when we were self-centered and disrespectful? Is it the teacher who notices and encourages our strengths? Is it the religious leader who prays so eloquently?

Frederick Buechner has written about saints in a variety of ways, all of them interesting.

"The world is always bewildered by its saints." The Magnificent Defeat

"In his holy flirtation with the world, God sometimes drops a handkerchief. Those handkerchiefs are saints."  Wishful thinking: a theological ABC

"To be a saint is to be a little out of one's mind, which is a very good thing to be a little out of from time to time. It is to live a life that is always giving itself away and yet is always full."

Early November is the time of year when we think about the "saints" who have gone before us. We give thanks for the love they have shown, their words of kindness and instruction, the many ups and downs they have shared with us. We remember their deep faith.

"On All Saints' Day, it is not just the saints of the church that we should remember in our prayers, but all the foolish ones and wise ones, the shy ones and overbearing ones, the broken ones and the whole ones, the despots and tosspots and crackpots of our lives who, one way or another, have been our particular fathers and mothers and saints, and whom we loved without knowing we loved them and by whom we were  helped to whatever little we may have, or ever hope to have, of some kind of seedy sainthood of our own."  The Sacred Journey
Pictured are some of my saints.
Who are your saints?  

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Really Scary Halloween song!

Hey, it's almost Halloween!  Are you ready???


When you get to be my age, your voice can be scary without even trying!  So, when I sang this Halloween song recently, my retreat friends asked me if I would put it online so they could learn it.  I know their voices won't be as scary as mine, but I can live with that. Tee hee.

With the help of my husband/technical director, we worked on and off throughout the day yesterday and finally managed to make this video. It scares me, I admit. So you must be very brave... and hold on to your pointy hats! Here goes...

Here are the words and actions for your further learning pleasure.

It is Halloween and the lamps are lit   (make the "tch" sound as hand turns switch)
Around the campfire children sit        (one hand makes a circle)
Telling ghost stories bit by bit             (hands around your mouth, like whispering)
'Til sister Jane says, "Shhhh!"            (pointer in front of lips)
"Who's that knocking at the kitchen door?"     (knock on something)
"Who's that walking 'cross the bedroom floor?"   (slap thighs to sound footsteps)
"Who's that screeching til their throat is sore?"   (hands at neck, then SCREECH)
It's a.... GOBLIN!                                   (hands shoot out to scare them)

Good luck singing this song with your kiddos. As for me, I'm done making videos for a while... this one was terrifying! 

Signing off with a witchy cackle!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Happy apple pie...

It's that time of year when apples are fresh and crisp and I, for one, cannot get enough of them. Stayman Winesap have just the right amount of tartness and sweetness for me, but they are hard to find. Luckily, I have some in my refrigerator right now.

My birthday is this week, and my husband made me an apple pie ahead of time that was SO beautiful,  SO yummy, I just had to write about it and share the picture.  My hasty poem does not do it justice, but in this case, I will say it is the thought that counts.

Birthday Pie
Apple pie
The way he bakes it
Pastry made with lard
Mounds of slices
Mixed with spices
Butter bits here and there
Second pastry
Trimmed and crimped
Some curves carved in for steam
Cinnamon sugar sprinkled on
Bake to a golden brown
Mmm -mm- Mmm- Mmm- mm

Did you see that pork fat (lard) is now ranked among the top 10 most nutritious foods?!? The news just gets better and better. Happy apple pie to you!