Running Through the Sprinkler, a Poem by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

The following poem was recently published in The Weekly Avocet. This is a haibun, a poetry form that combines a paragraph of prose with a stanza of haiku. You can click the link below to hear me read it.

***

Running through the sprinkler.mp3

***

RUNNING THROUGH THE SPRINKLER

I stand on the sidewalk, a jet of cold water in front of me, my impaired eyes unable to find a way around it, as cars whoosh by on the busy street. The ninety-degree sun beats down. A tepid breeze caresses my face. I remember how fun it was to run through the sprinkler as a kid. Why not, I think. With a hearty “Yahoo!” I dash into the water’s inviting coolness.

a hot summer day
cold water sweeps over me
I’m a child again

***

What did you do to cool off in the summer when you were a kid?

***

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. I’m currently working on another novel. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

 

How I Coped with Summer

I’m Abbie Johnson Taylor, and I wrote this post.

 

 

Now that fall has come, I reflect back to “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” and as the song says, I wish we could just stay in that season. Like most, this past summer went by way too fast. It wasn’t as long or hot as other summers. Of course, like everyone else, I complained about the heat, but I had my ways of dealing with it.

The window air conditioning unit in the spare room was my best friend. With the help of ceiling fans scattered throughout the house, it kept things pretty cool. I drank plenty of water, as I always do. With a few pieces of ice, it also kept me cool. Then of course, there was my old pal, Dr. Pepper. It was just what the doctor ordered, although it took away some of the water I drank, but that was okay because I could always drink more water.

On summer evenings when the weather cooled, I sat in my back yard and did email or read a book, slapping mosquitos when necessary and eventually moving indoors to avoid being bitten. I sometimes went with friends to concerts in the park, where we bought ice cream at a nearby stand.

In the early mornings before it got hot, I took long walks by the creek, feeling the cool breeze caress my bare legs and arms. It was a great way to start a hot summer day.

When I was growing up, my family often took trips to the mountains to cool off during the summer, but now, my family is either dead or scattered across the country, and I don’t have many opportunities to visit the highlands, especially since I don’t drive.

In my younger adult years, I attended a camp for the visually impaired on Casper Mountain, approximately 200 miles south, then west of Sheridan, Wyoming, where I now live. Here, I made friends and learned computer and other skills and had plenty of opportunities to walk in the woods and enjoy nature. Although the camp is still there today, there’s no adult program anymore due to an unwillingness by the state and other entities to pay for it.

Now, summer is gone, and fall is upon us. I already miss those days of relaxing in my back yard with a Dr. Pepper and a good book, the sounds of band music floating through the air at the park, the salted caramel ice cream I enjoyed during such a concert. Oh well, there’s always next year, isn’t there?

How did you cope with summer heat? Are you glad fall is here? Why or why not?

***

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in The Avocet and Magnets and Ladders. I have a visual impairment and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes. Before that, I worked as a registered music therapist in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. For more information, please visit my website and blog.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Summer Strawberries by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

I love to eat them year round, not just during the hottest months. When my late husband Bill was alive, he would buy them fresh, rinse them in cold water, remove stems, slice into bite-sized pieces with a sharp knife, then sprinkle with sugar and serve warm over ready-made angel food cakes. When two strokes left him partially paralyzed, most of the work involved in preparing this sweet treat fell to me. To my amazement, with only one hand, he was still able to slice the strawberries and add the sugar. The first few times, I couldn’t help wondering if some of the red was blood, but he didn’t appear to be bleeding, and the dessert didn’t taste bloody.

After my husband died, I continued buying fresh strawberries and shortcake and preparing them the way Bill liked them because this made me feel closer to him. In the following poem from my collection, That’s Life, I illustrate this. Click this link to hear me read it.

***

The Art of Eating Strawberries

 

 

I eat them the way you like them,

feel close to you when I rinse them in cold water,

remove stems, tear into bite-sized pieces,

add sugar, let sit in the refrigerator,

heat in the microwave over shortcake,

so sweet, so warm,

wish you were here to enjoy them,

but you’ve gone to a better place

so I must eat strawberries alone.

***

Then I discovered whole all natural strawberries from Schwann. They’re already in bite-size pieces, so they don’t have to be sliced. They’re pretty sugary, as they are, and I don’t need the extra calories in angel food shortcake. Now I just put some in a bowl to thaw overnight, and they make a great breakfast treat. I think Bill would have approved. You can read more about other foods Bill liked and my cooking disasters in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

Do you have a favorite summertime fruit? How do you like to eat it: plain, with vanilla ice cream perhaps?

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

School Sounds Good

your Profile PhotoThis post by Jennifer Flaten

Normally we have the kids enrolled in a summer school program. It helps keep them active and it gives me a little break from them during the long days of summer.

This year the girls are taking a 6 week credit gym class. This means they can get their gym requirement out of the way this summer and have an extra hour for a class they want or need during the school year. It is an intense class. It is 4 hours of physical activity. For instance, last week it was 2 hours of flag football, followed by 2 hours in the pool.

They come home from this and they are pretty done for the day. Both of them are getting a lovely tan though!

My son has a special AVID (it is a special college prep class) starting for the second half of summer school. Until then we’ve decided he can hang out at home, alone, while my husband and I are at work. For the most part it’s went well except during the first week. On the second day of his home alone adventure the cat caught a mouse. My son didn’t want the cat to eat the mouse so he had to chase the cat around the house until he could get the mouse away from the cat. Stressful.

On the fourth day Ginger threw up behind our couch leaving my son to make sure she wasn’t seriously ill and clean up the mess. He did both very well, but by now staying home is losing its luster and he is wondering when he can go to summer school it is much more relaxed there!

Browse my jewelry on Etsy

 

Summer Poetry and Music

 

This Post by Abbie Johnson Taylor

The following poem appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders. To hear me read it and sing two songs I associate with summer, click here.

***

SUMMER HEAT

 

Warmth ushers in flowers’ fragrance,

new-mown grass, steak on a barbecue,

happy cries of children, thud of ball against pavement.

Oh, to sit on the back patio, hear a ball game on the radio

while a summer breeze caresses the back of your neck.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of:

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

***

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Visit my blog.

 

 

Summer Time Is Here!

1

 

 

This post is by Joe Stephens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I checked out at 11:05 today and, from that moment until August 9, I am a free man. Well, except for the week I go to the AP reading in Louisville.French Quarter, New Orleans, Tree, America, Park And I’m excited to be visiting family in New Orleans for a week. Other than that, I’m a writer. It feels good. I’m really looking forward to some time to read what I want and write for hours at a time. During school, I spend a lot of time reading stuff I need to and I have to scratch to find time to write each week. Not so for the next almost two-and-a-half months.

Reading Glasses, Glasses, See, Elegant, Metal, CuteSo what will I do with my time? First of all, I’ll put the finishing touches on Dawn of Grace: A Shalan Adventure, number four in the series. Second, I’ll publish it, hopefully before I go to Louisville. If not, I’ll work on it while I’m there. After publication, my first planned activity is a signing at J&Ms Used Bookstore’s new location in the Kroger/K-Mart plaza. I’m hoping to have a launch party sometime in late June or early July as well, though I haven’t planned it yet.

And while that’s going on, I’m going to be writing. What will I write? Frankly, I don’t Once Upon A Time, Writer, Author, Story, Short Storyknow. I have a vague idea for a spin-off series in which the main character is Jenn, Harry and Dee’s newly adopted daughter. She’s gone away to college and solves a crime in her dormitory. But I think I may choose to write a series of short stories instead. I’ve written a few and I think I’ll see if I can write a book’s worth. We’ll see how it turns out.

So what about all of you? What are your upcoming plans for the summer? What’s in your writing future?

ITS Cover ArtCheck out his newest book on Amazon

kindle cover

Take a look at Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at Kisses and Lies on Amazon

 

Almost Summer

your Profile PhotoThis post by Jennifer Flaten

In the doldrums of winter it seems like summer vacation will never arrive, but once it’s May 15th all you can see is the end of the school year bearing down on you like a runaway truck.

While I am thrilled at the prospect of NOT having school for 2.5 glorious months, I also am not that fond of the huge amount of events that seem to take place in the last 2 weeks of school.

You know a field trip might have made the month of March a little more bearable. No, I don’t care if it’s cold, I’ll make sure my kid wears a hat, just get him outside please!

Ah, but alas all the field trips are at the end of the school year. Not to mention all the final plays, programs, concerts, you name.

I am tired people! Please cut me some slack, here. I really don’t need a day that includes 1 concert, 2 awards program and track meet all at same time in two different venues.

When I told my kids I was looking forward to not having to drive anywhere in the summer; my oldest daughter got quite indignant and insisted she would still be doing things, thank you very much.

Of course, she will. I just figure that maybe on that day the other two kids won’t have to be anywhere or at least anywhere at the same time that she needs to be across town.

Browse my jewelry on Etsy

Summers Over

By S. J. Brown

Many people mourn the passing of summer, not me. During the hot days of summer I photograph very little. The critters hide deep in the woods to find shelter from the heat. Those that are accessible are not in the mood to pose for me.

Of course there are some exceptions like the hummingbirds that buzz around my back deck and the butterflies that frequent the butterfly bush in the front yard. Also I can’t forget the bunny rabbits and ground hogs that steadily raided my veggie garden all summer long. We have an arrangement, I feed them they let me take their pictures.

September 2015 ground hog

This time of year I am putting away my shorts, pulling out long sleeve shirts and picking lots of goodies from the garden. It’s time to wrap up my summer projects and put lots of bulbs in the ground, so I will be greeted with spring flowers when the warm weather returns.

Most summer travelers are safely back at home. So there are fewer cars on the roads, less traffic means more traveling for me. The cooler nights that signal fall is on the way also signals migrating birds its time to go. I need to get as many images of migrating birds as I can before they are gone. Raptors will be gathering in groups and kettling (flying in circular groups), Monarch butterflies will begin their trip to Mexico and Starlings will be invading buildings and trees in large groups.

September 2015 vulture

Black Bears will be bulking up for winter. In areas where they find an abundance of food I can get a little closer for some great images. However areas where food is scarce Bears tend to be a bit grumpy and aren’t thrilled with the idea of having their picture taken.

September 2015 Bear

Soon the colors of fall will be providing me with great backgrounds for my critter shots. I will be doing more hiking, and a bit more exploring in new areas. What will you be doing to celebrate the arrival of fall?

September 2015 Fall Deer

It has been a year since I joined the writers, wranglers, and warriors group. For those that have followed along I have introduced myself, shared my images and my opinions. I try to keep my posts upbeat and visually stimulating. I hope everyone has enjoyed getting to know me as much as I have enjoyed getting to know all of you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up to. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367

S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=close+ups+%26+close+Encounters

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See Cover

Summer’s Over – Or Is It by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1I live in Georgia, where the summers are scorching and school starts in August. Yes, August. Fulton County schools started yesterday, the latest start for schools in our area.

When my daughter was young, the start of the school year was difficult for both of us. All summer we had slept in, read, played, dinked around, and generally had a great time together. As Willow has gotten older, I have taken on more responsibilities outside of child rearing including fiction and freelance writing, teaching, and volunteering on the PTA board. Since she started middle school, I work most CIMG0659summer weekdays but she gets one “fun day” per week where she picks an activity that we do together. It’s a good compromise but not the same, though we still enjoy a good sleep-in.

Yesterday she started 8th grade and I am left to wonder where the time has gone and how I kept my sanity this summer. I remember the sense of loss and anxiety I felt as she went off for her first day of Kindergarten and I wonder where the time went. When did she get so smart, talented, confident, and beautiful and how did I survive a summer with this same teenager who is figuring out her place in the world and driving me crazy in the process?

IMG_20150810_075703 (2)She was ready to go back to school this week and I was ready for her to go. I have freelance writing commitments and my next manuscript absolutely, positively has to be turned into my publisher by mid-November. I have PTA committees to oversee and classes to teach starting in September. My mother and I are going to Bouchercon in October and I’ll be helping a friend run some art booths at a few shows. I want to spend time with friends, especially the Moms’ night out crew, Jodi, and Stephanie. Steph and I were roommates in Chicago and she moved down here this spring. Given my crazy schedule I haven’t been able to spend much time with her but hopefully that will change now that school is back in session.

Stapleshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz56prGBiS8

Actually, I am hoping several things will happen now that school has started again. I plan to create and stick to a stringent writing schedule, keep the house clean, make healthy and flavorful meals, exercise at least three days per week, and, as long as I’m fantasizing, lose 20 pounds and shave off a few years while eating tons of chocolate. A woman can dream.

The odd thing is that in Georgia, for those of us with kids, we are asking ourselves, “Where did the summer go?” People without kids or who live in other parts of the country, look at us like we’re crazy and say, “What are you talking about? It’s still August.”

How is your summer going?

Learn More at: http://www.erinfarwell.com

Farwell-Shadowlands-Final Cover.inddAHE New Cover8149g0+Rz-L._SL1500_

Summer Memories

This post by Jennifer Flaten

 

Earlier today, I loaded the kids in the car for a trip to the pool. Unbeknownst to me, instead of waiting until we got to the pool they’d already slathered themselves with sunscreen in the living room.

 

I loaded my greasy minions into the car and we drove to the pool. Driving along, I noticed the whole car was permeated with the smell of sunscreen.

 

Luckily, I love the smell. It is the quintessential scent summertime. In fact, I am surprised there isn’t a perfume that smells like summer/sunscreen.

 

When I was growing up, the only pool in town was in the high school. While we didn’t have a public pool, we did have several nice public beaches.

 

My favorite beach was at Otter Lake.

file0001556978583

I remember summers spent floating on black rubber inner tubes. The hot sun quickly heated the tube up so  you’d have to jump off into the cold water to cool off. Before getting back into the inner tube you’d flip it over so the water cooled side was now up.

 

If you got tired of swimming you could always chase fish in the shallow water. Minnows and sun fish would dart between your legs and nibble on your toes. If you were daring you could go over to the non-beach area, the part covered with algae and look for frogs.

 

After the beach, on the walk back to the car, you stop at the hand pump and use the creaky handle to pump, pump, pump icy cold water out so you could wash the sand off. Then you’d run shivering to the car and ride home in your still damp suit.

 

It was never as much fun to haul all the sand toys up from the beach as it was to carry them to the beach.

 

What is your favorite summer memory?

 

There is a summer sale on everything in my Etsy shop—-20% off you entire purchase.