Saturday, November 30, 2019

in transit

bits in transit

Feeling good to have completed two stories and sent them off yesterday.  Reading some other people's posts in the group, feeling like I am trying to keep myself grounded for this meeting today.  The rain outside is a hamper, but not too bad.  I went out to another town in it and didnt' melt - did library and post office - but put off the grocery shopping until I come back home tonight.  Put a couple of thoughts I had coming home into a poem and sent it off to a submission.

I've got a song stuck in my head that I don't want - it is one of the ones that rarely plays on my tablet yet my ears chose that one to replay back to me continuously today.

A little laundry to do.
Talking about installing a water heater.
And I am probably on my way to an ear ache/jaw conflagration that doesn't help.

slept long last night
dream image that sticks with me are placards at tables, finding mine, wondering how they know my name and that I'm here.  They ask us to weigh in before we go up the stairs to our meeting, some interview, I hand my clipboard and such to the man before I step on the scale, scowl at how high the number goes and say I need to take off my shoes, which are some big black clunky men's type shoes I don't own.  The guy looks down and seems overly surprised.  I say 'they weigh like five pounds EACH'.. He says he doesn't doubt that, now.  I am lacing them back on and the guy and the young female secretary by the stairs are wondering why would anyone would walk around in such heavy shoes.  I say that I actually have shoes at home I wear that are even heavier, sometimes, steel-toed ones.  What do you need those for?'  They protect your toes.   What are they protecting against?  The secretary asks. I say 'I don't really need them anymore, I used to.. but for some reason I'm still wearing them.'  Then I clunk up the stairs in  my heavy shoes with my clipboard under my arm and push aside the curtain to the room - and wake up still wondering because I don't own steel-toed boots anymore either, but yes, I used to.

//group bit that was good
We were never meant to have chronic stress

I thought back to it, August 31st.  The  day before I had so much stress that I just 'robot turned off'.. I walked around the store doing exactly what I was 'programmed' to do, the tasks of the job, and turned off all the other layers in my brain so that I was dead and blank and drained.  I had a lot of pain that night, and too much stress, and everything felt like it was hopeless and unanswerabe... and then that next morning, as the sun rose, I heard that immensely kind voice in my dream, from someone who was 'just behind me' in the dream and I knew I couldn't turn to see them, because they would always be behind or in me, not something I could see... - 'You were never meant to work like that.'  And that is all they said.  And I knew almost exactly what it meant.. not 'work' as in the place I was earning money, but my brain, my body, myself, I was never meant to work/operate/exist like that.  That was misery.  I would kill myself doing that.  And the next day I put in my notice, because to live I have to operate some other way.  I'm still working on it. 

Friday, November 29, 2019


Completed two modern fairy tales today, 'Catch Your Dreams and Let Them Live', and 'The Faery King will Have His Blood', and submitted both of them to literary magazines for review.  It will be a few months before I hear back, but they will go in House of Sunlight or the next one (which I'm already planning, having to do with magic and how it intersects the world) if they are not chosen.

Someone is reading my poetry book and will tell me what they think this week.  It is due for submission December 13.  Mark already helped me edit several of them, and this morning I woke up and changed four a little bit...

I have a bath design presentation tomorrow.  I think I have everything ready and am happy that this is a very good project in materials, labor and value.

Someone told me this morning, when several people were talking in a group, that irrational fears arise because you are not being true to who you really are, or are not living actively in the present, (or both)'.  It is really good advice.  Hard to live up to, but so much more a light in the dark than what others have told me about the anxiety I had at (L)... it is true, someone was asking me more and more to not be myself, invalidating what my values were and telling me to do things against my nature, all the while I was holding my nature down on creativity, art and writing and trying to make a difference beyond a paycheck to paycheck and being a good person to my family, raising my daughter well etc.  What they wanted me to do, and who they were asking me to be, was tearing me apart.  And I am trying very hard to be true to who I am while still making our way in the world.

The Catch Your Dreams story is just spot-on.  I hope if anyone in fact reads this, they'll be able to see it in 2020 in one place or another.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

When the Sun

When the Sun is up over the horizon, but not yet over the rooftops, and all you can see directly before you are shadows and dark branches, but behind them, through the winter scape, you can see the light.  You can see the light that is shining bright and golden, making the sky a glorious blue, a light that, once you are in it, will feel warm upon your shoulders and your face.  The sun is up over the horizon.  It is only a little bit longer.  The darkness is going away.


Playing with the way the lights cataract through the branches, lighting up details and others in shadow.  The first picture was my view while making coffee, and the words accompanying it began to spill out so I let them get down to the page.

Wrote this one the other day, and made the picture today when she was still a minute again

My hound her stomach growls
it sounds like a cat warbling hello
and having disturbed herself, she shifts her long limbs
kicking each back leg out into a stretch
black ears and dappled coat salt and pepper gray
she bends her grizzled nose above her loose jowls
which have been drooling on the pillow
yawning, surveying, seeing not her quarry
then she curls into a ball
tucking her lips carefully over leg and tail
nose still twitching
in what she deems a more comfortable position
to grumble and growl
while dreaming of cornered woodchucks from years ago 


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Peter's Winter Miracle

Answer to writing prompt : "This is what was left when he was gone..."


This is what was left when he was gone, when the place was empty, when there was no one here to light the fire or feed the cat. Peter didn’t like the feel of it. This was his home, the only one he had ever known, and he wanted to be here. But at this point it felt like only half of him had been here at all for so long. The other half had disappeared when Pop died…

That was a worse kind of gone, the type that doesn’t go anywhere, it just exits into the aether and waits for the rest of you to come. He didn’t want to disappear entirely, either. He sat down at the long smooth table, and Cricket slid her long furry body and full whiskers up under his chin. With a large flop, she presented him her belly. He sat there, petting his cat, and wondering how he was going to turn this failed crop season into a winter’s worth of fuel and supplies.

The wheat had been an awful disaster, and even the garden had mostly failed. The watermelon hadn’t had a chance, the corn had gotten fungus from that rain just after it silked and every one of the pumpkin vines had been eaten through by some small blue-bodied bugs, making the fruit wither before it ripened. He had gotten in as much harvest as there was, a few tomatoes and a decent amount of black-eyed peas.

But it wasn’t enough, not to feed himself, much less the animals. Cricket here wasn’t going to eat black-eyed peas unless they were inside a mouse. And Parcival, his mule, was going to need much more than the few bales of hay he had made at the height of the summer. He wished he had been thinking about this, then. But at that point, he was still mooning over Louisa, and hoping things would turn out all right. He had gotten the short end of the stick this year, and he was going to have to find something to hit it out of the ballpark with, go begging, or freeze to death.

There was an axe sitting in the corner, and he had a pull sled and a mule waiting out in the barn. There were a few weeks left of good enough weather. It was either that, or he would have to board up the place and move Cricket into town. Mercy Mae would take good care of her, but wouldn’t want to give her up in the Spring. Cricket probably wouldn’t want to give her up, either. He scratched her chin and leveled his gaze to hers. “How about that, kid? Should we fold our cards or try to stick it out?” he asked. “We'll need a lot more wood stored up to feed that stove all winter.  Do you think it will help with our other troubles?  I wonder how much Joe is paying for firewood this year. I wonder if he’s paying at all.”…

Peter laced up his boots, got up from the chair and grabbed up the axe. He gave it a test swing in the air and looked at the blade. There was a grind stone in the barn. And at least he had the beginnings of a plan… ///

art and knitting

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


I was told by an online journal that they will publish one of my poems tomorrow.. that is good to look forward to.  I did some more work on my Wikron story today, and added more poems and organization to my chapbook for the december 13th deadline.

Trying to keep my hopes up, because with it being the holiday season it is so difficult to actually go ahead with work, everyone wants to do something else.  I checked into the electrical and carpentry skills classes in McKenzie and they said to goto Paris, and of course they are closed for the holidays until next week.  With FAFSA and taxes and Christmas, and melancholy sometimes because several other people have lost their fathers or other loved ones this year and it keeps bringing it back to my mind... while the business is going slow that he wanted me to succeed in... and cold, rainy, fear of snowstorms...

I should feel better but those are the reasons I don't.
The other things I can do, cleaning up the offices and being ready to spring on the job when I get the info I've asked for... clearing out things we aren't using out of the house etc...

I wrote this on a memory today, since the poem being published is about the old house
This happened there, too (except we didn't have the eggs, uncle Earl did, and we do now)  It was usually Bill or Kenny pulling me back up.  And my wrists are too delicate for that now.. I wonder if that was part of it.  The root cellar was located under a little trapdoor in the center of the living room, the same room that held the barrel stove in the corner.  You would pull up the rug and pull out the board, and someone small (usually me or Marsha) would be lowered in to catch foot on the wall and then a flashlight would shine down, and we would retrieve whatever the asking was for.  Then after we had handed the bits up, someone would reach down and pull you up partway, catch foot on the wall again and lever up and out of the hole.  It was scary and exciting and scary all at the same time...the dirt walls in a six foot hole... and when the house burned down I am sure the whole house fell down into it in the middle.  I don't know though.. I can only imagine it.

The Root Cellar
We’ve gathered our stores
for winter’s fierce yells
the wood for the fire
and the eggs in the kirtle
jars of summer bliss
And now we come to raid them a little at a time
through the tiny hole in the floor
they dangle me, the smallest by far
to drop to the floor and hand up the wares
honey from the shelf
green beans soaked in brine
potatoes three by four from the bag
then gently, as if handling bird bones
they pull my wrists again and give me rise
back into the light and the warmth
out of the cool dark of the earth
that holds things dear enough

Monday, November 25, 2019

At the Lake Edge
The water is down
it rained the other day, so much
and then it was done
still the lake edges are dry
tiny bits of long dead leaves forming a layer
in the mud and drying sandbars
showing throughout the swamp where
beavers work at their industry felling trees and
dragging them down to the shore
to build a house that needs water but now sits
just as dry, near the spires in the lake
trees from some long ago flooding
that have not yet given up their standing
my hound sniffs and bays
what is truly a warbling trill
high-pitched, echoing off the hills
her ghostly face with black mask vibrant
she tells me things that dogs know
she knows they were here
and here, and here, can you see it, too?
Tail swishing, into the water is where her nose runs
and she follows
trying to catch the scent up to the point
It washes away

Frost at the Top of the Hill
the blades of grass and twining plants and wildflowers

have become lacework in the frost of the night

lying down across the earth in lines and flourishes

twisting this way and that around each other

and flattened to the land in white

at their edges and along their lines

waiting to embellish Spring

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Parthenon at Nashville

 I read a really great short story about Athena this morning.
And a friend said they had gone to a birthday party in Nashville for the Saturday....
So I looked up how much it was to go to the Parthenon and it was 6.00 for adult and 4.00 for child - that is 10.00 admission for something we've always said we were going to go do...

It is open on Sundays.  I talked her into coming with me but said don't worry we won't end up in Knoxville this time *ha*.. like the trip to South Carolina.  Then she agreed.

This place was seriously huge.  I cannot stress that properly.
It hurt to look up, and there was so much UP to look.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

out in the rain in the red grasses

out in the rain in the red grasses
and catching by the thorns
I want to climb up high and see from above
and yet I do not want to fall
on slickened cedar left to cure
the colors are amazingly varied
intensified by the strange light
I look down and I look up
and around me is the world
just after the cold rain
it is still rejoicing

Thursday, November 21, 2019


sent in a few other submissions, will see if they go anywhere.  I'm really glad for the headphones from the short story contest, as my regular ones decided to break last night!  Not twelve hours after I heard I was going to get the other ones... like they heard about it *ha heard*.... They actually still work but they are hanging on one side by a delicate wire unless I snap them together very carefully.. and then they come right back apart when I take them off again.

Did a little bit of a story that I remember working on years ago, with a different twist.. about Wikron character, space opera etc.  And I am still thinking how to take the velociraptor and magician and dragon stories further but I think they are going to be in another book.  Mark had mentioned that all the 'magic in the world' stories could be in their own book...maybe, school for change and the one about words being magic could go in there, too.

I have a meeting for my bath design tonight.. been cleaning up my workspace all day and thinking about what to do with all the sewing fabric that I have.  Trying to think if I'll ever use it.

saw this article about what you would do if you had ten years stipend to educate yourself any way you wanted.

well, yes, I would take about a year on accounting, to see if I did well on it.  If I did, then I'd finish it out.  but I'd also take a few years more in philosophy, because I am so much more ready to receive those lessons at forty no matter how good they might have been for me at twenty...and if I didn't have to worry about making money to support us I would finish out with some math and chemistry to my heart's content.  The author said he would take two years in a foreign culture and immersed in the language.. well yes, if that was possible and not just courses at your local college, I would go to Wales and study as well.  I would do photography there and stand on the edges of tall hills and mountains and rivers and feel the world like I do here and see how it is different, and how I am different, as the years go by.

the magpie poem

This is the poem in an old notebook that began my thinking on the words that would become my book, Time in December.  Buy it for 99 cents on Amazon for Kindle

It was an automatic poetry poem.. but in it lie a lot of the seeds of the original story.  The first few chapters of the book are handwritten in the next few pages... and four years later, it would become a self-published novel.

The Magpie and the Ship of Dreams (12/25/2015 Marie Lamb)

The sweet sordid magpie pennywise and pound foolish
soft as summer snow and rain on the highlands...she flies.

We looked for our sunrise in the leaves of the trees,
the maples in the woods, the blackberry thorns
in the thicket under umbrellas of gray cloud
and spears of clear light

It came to us, gradually, step by step
along the leafborne wind,
casting every pebble out of its way
along the path from the rocky shore
And we awaited it in boats of leaves and twigs,
of twine and parchment
of dreams and the time in between the moments of our lives.

For today we would sail
And tonight we would see the other side of the stars
behind our eyes, heads tilted together
upon the wood upon waves, hearts blessed in their close vicinity.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

ive been out to the woods

I’ve been out to the woods
and I’ve come back in
with leaves in my hair and thorns clinging
to my legs and shoes and
small lines of red scratched down my arms
where the thorns tried to find purchase
but instead found skin
so easily torn away and not caught
they could not hold me there
and instead, must let me walk on
but it was worth it
I have seen wonders
and joys within them

and our chickens, who were very very insistent

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

bits and pieces

I delivered everything to my job, but they have had to postpone it until some major repairs get done.. so not sure if I will get an 'after' picture anytime soon.  Jumped down out of the truck and jarred a knee but it only hurts going down the first stair and that last one (because it is out of canter with the rest)... should be worse tomorrow maybe for a minute and then start to get better.  Going to talk about more install information tomorrow and thursday.

working more on the sketchbook, Mark says if the house started on fire he would have to drag the chair out with me in it because I wouldn't look up.

Submitted a bit more poetry this morning.. stuff I had actually written THIS morning and one yesterday in the sketchbook.  Early mornings are good productive time.

Was contacted by a contest and said that I won for a short story - they will let me know tomorrow if the local animal shelter is eligible for the donation prize.  I surely hope it will be.  The story was about a dog.

Monday, November 18, 2019


 I am working on my Brooklyn Art Project sketchbook.
  'Have You Come (in or out) To See Me Dear?'
It is due in February

Sunday, November 17, 2019


I spent a bit of yesterday organizing my next book, and it currently has twelve short works and about twelve more that I have not finished.  I took a look at a couple of those unfinished, and ran a bit longer on one of them.

I'm trying to read the book I promsied to review - but at the moment it is talking about crisis and development of plot towards the character's ultimate goal.  It is a book on writing stories.  However every time I get a little further in it I am split into one of two categories 1.) I'm still writing my own real life story and is it turning out well and 2.) I should work a bit more on one of those aforementioned twelve.  So between those two, I only got another 10% or so through that book.

Mark returned the malfunctioning heater and bought another one, that seems to work.  We are planning on making his office in the old data center, so he can get quiet time away from everything when he needs it.  I don't need 'quiet time'.. as much as I need to just keep at the same things.

I did start the first few pages of my brooklyn art project book today.  It had sat there for almost a week with nothing... and I ended up putting a bit of a creepy Alice in Wonderland poem on the second page... we'll see where the rest of the book takes me.

Friday, November 15, 2019


little bits of poetry flowing through my head today caught them and didn't let them get away as they usually do.

this morning as the sun began to come in and I was making calls :

I am keeping time so slowly now
it roars at my ears
like waves in the tides of lunar shores
 that pearl, reflective gem hiding
pale against the blue of morning
far away, far above
ricocheting separate, yet bound
around this same sun by which I keep my hours

and while driving

Sleep winds me bout
like a dragon, drinking holes in my blood
I dare not fear for I'll fall into them
and drown

Thursday, November 14, 2019

In the Grove (c) 2019 Marie Lamb

Another preview from the short story book I am working on.
This is a myth retold, after a prompt asked to take a piece of music and reinvent a story for it.
I wrote this to the music playing of 'Masks' from Romeo and Juliet, Sergei Prokofiev

In the Grove © 2019 Marie Lamb

In the grove there is a tree
where Eternal Summer waits for I
beneath her branches love awaits
desire burns brightly in her eyes

And down, down, below the earth
a hunger greater lurks and spies
to feed upon my bones, my blood
where none nearby can hear my cries.

It is a fine spring day, warming into summer. I have begun walking along the path, from the places I know well, to those that are more in the secrets of the Wild. There is a sweet girl waiting for me in the Valley, and I will take her to the Fair in Bethel. I am dressed in my finest, with a strong dagger at my side and a few coins in my pocket. I have confidence that today will be warm and bright, with no chance of a summer storm.

My step is light and even a bit joyful, the road fairly easy with lots of interesting things to pass by in the woods beside me. There is a bright green to the trees and the shafts of sunlight coming through the leaves is warm upon me. I feel almost like I could take a little spin here and there, but my grandfather’s words remind me: " Perhaps should be looking more at the woods around me than my feet, fine though the boots may be."

And then, I realize why.
But perhaps, I should not have listened to grandfather.
Perhaps I would have passed her by with my boyish glee.
But now, I see her, a forest sprite, one hand on the tree a few yards in front of me. She is the very picture of beauty, freshfaced and wearing only a shift of shimmering gossamer. She is toying with a vine, long wispy grasses playing about her legs while the air remains still and balmy. I can not take my eyes away, she is so striking.

Her hair is nearly green. I know she is no village child or girl lost or hunting mushrooms. As I stop she leans forward, peering towards me, beckoning. As I approach, she swirls around the back of the tree, looking at me, peeking and then returning to the other side. Her voice is like bells, and she seems to know my name, although I have not given it to her. She is playful as a young forest creature.  I am delighted and entranced.  But, I worry about what teeth or sorcery might be revealed in the shadows. I think about Rosalie, waiting for me.  Still, there is this quality to this sprite that I cannot look away.  I am drawn as a moth to a flame.

As I near to her hand, stretched out to me in welcome, I feel the forest warm even further and the wind that was only for her has come to dance about my neck. I am taken with her, with the motion of the world, and the spiralling nature of Time itself. I touch her hand and feel warmth and taste honey.  Her skin is so unnaturally soft.  Her tongue curls around perfectly white teeth, pointy and numerous.  She seethes my name and lovely words, encircling me with her arms, whispering poetry into my ears. I suddenly feel I want to stay here forever, and a day, and the next after that. It would be Eternal Summer.

I can feel that I am falling, and in all of the warmth there is a tiny stab of ice. It has entered through my skin and pricked the heart within. Something deep inside me screams that danger has many faces. A pain cracks deep in my heart that seems to fill with sand and weigh me down like a thousand burdens. I struggle to stay upright, to see her face, to reach for her as I am falling. And then, the tree is my blanket, and the ground my bed. I am wrapped in it, secure and blissful. The hand of the nymph passes over my forehead, as my mother’s once did when I was abed with fever as a child. The colors are beautiful. The music is swirling, marching, slowly and in time. I am drifting. I am asleep for the ages, another grave for the grove, unmarked and unremembered.

I will hear the calls of my searchers through muffled ears, unopening eyes, and never answer.

My last thought before the sleep becomes solid and unyielding It was going to be such a nice warm day, if I had ever made it to the Valley.

the amazing

I admit sometimes my brain is still ruminating on the days just before I had 'enough' and said I was done with (L)... it is in my nature to wonder what I could have done differently and 'saved' it all.. but then I flip the switch over and say 'well, what amazing has happened since then?'

I am helping fewer people even more by doing full jobs and helping as many of the pieces fall into place as I can.  I can offer them more solutions and take a stronger stance in helping them get something that will be good for them.

I am learning how MUCH tile is out there (without having to pick up hundreds of pounds of it daily) and forming a catalog in my 'mental warehouse' of all that is available, possible, etc.  I'm learning how to lay it, what materials are needed.. all while talking to many professionals about their methods and what they need to do the job.

Socially - oh boy... I am still an introvert.  But, I'm an introvert who will stretch out to accomplish things and make connections so I can help people.  I've done so much more of this that I have to stop sometimes and take a deep breath and say 'you talked to a LOT of people today, but each one needed something you could give or had something to teach you etc.. it's give and receive, connect and help.'  It's a zen thing.  And that helps me center back and say okay, what next.

I was told that was a lot like my dad, too - he was quiet and in the corner until someone needed something he could do or something he knew, or he needed to talk to people to find out what he needed to help someone.  He was an overthinker, an overplanner, but that helped him in many situations because then he could conquer the problem no one else had thought about.  He was authentic, and didn't make promises on things that he didn't have enough information about until he had went and did the footwork.. and I hope I can keep those lessons in my heart as I continue.


I went to the dentist on Tuesday and they took out another exposed-nerve tooth, and instantly, that side does not hurt now even half as much as the other side, which also needs care.  It's like I was walking around with a knife stuck in there all the time and now there is only one in the other side.  I still have to watch it for infection, but the constant nerve jab is gone.

I've also finally been able to start taking care of my teeth (another joyful side effect of EDS, loose connective tissue in the gums, increased chances of infection, teeth are easily broken and jaw-clenching TMJ is usually present putting stress on loose teeth = wonderful dental issues!)  - although slowly.  After being told that 'it sucks to be me' and having to fight and beg for a dentist appointment, after being told I was going to need serious surgery and other work because 'I hadn't been in often enough for maintenance'... that was really confidence-bashing and added to my anxiety.

Then add the several people who see me go through high fevers and visibly swollen jaw who tell me I'm not realizing how quickly that can turn into a blood or brain infection and how can I possibly not go take care of this right now etc... balanced on the hand of 'if you're gone more than 6 times a year you can be written up and then fired'... I was in such a rock and a hard place but it was only my own health on the line - and for some reason, I let that go so far it almost did kill me.  But... I'm trying to do better on that now, because I need to be here to help my family, and I can't take risks like that for some company that doesn't value me properly.  I can do my teeth a little bit by little bit now, and make and keep an appointment without having to grovel to someone for it.. and take control of my health. 


I have noticed myself sitting 'the bad ways' again and again and am consciously reminding myself - by writing this here! - to stop it!  Do not sit with your ankle bones entirely on the floor.  Do not sit on the edge of the chair with your feet inside the barstool rails and your knees pointed down while you read (although that is comfortable, until it isn't.. )   And the hardest one - don't sit with your entire body askew and your head on your hand with your ribcage out of whack, because it is going to come back and bite.  Sit straight, feet on the floor, knees supported by desk if possible or locked together.  Because knees and hips will thank you for it later... or the opposite, your choice.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

2:45 sunlight

There was just this 'quality' to the light at 2:45 today I had to stop and try to capture it.


I have this list of stuff that doesn't have to be done today, so I am doing what was suggested and making a to-do list for 'the week'... where I can spread it out over three days and still feel like I can get it done.  and I can group different places together

I want to remind myself to write about grandpa's little shed house he built it when I was quite small to match his house and how it got moved out to the old farm where I used it as a writing and play shed for years...  during the time he was building it was when he let Robbie and I build airplanes out of the scraps, and he helped me nail together a little toy that I was very proud of, and hardly scoffed when I had to name her. (planes are girls, right?) 

automatic poetry

Between the ages of 9 and 14 I lived at times in the old house of my stepfather, far from town, with very little electricity and the heat from the barrel stove.  We didn't live there all the time, but there were cold days and summer days and pumping water by hand and searing our mittens on the stove while being yelled at that they would burn.  I remember those times, and tried to put some of it into words here.. started out as automatic writing, and then suddenly, I was going there, as if an adult, alone.. even though the house no longer exists.  It is there only in my memories.

((retracted for possible submission))

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

automatic writing poetry

The little writing group has had several 'automatic' writing prompts. I sat down tonight and tried this off a thought that has been bouncing in my head since sunrise.

Chipping Sparrows
(c) 2019 Marie Lamb

Dozens of little brown birds,
striped heads, black eyebrows
and white chins.

In the dim but increasing light,
they have their own camouflage,
they are almost indistinguishable
from the leaves and rocks strewn in the drive,
until they move,
bustle, dart and peck.

Then they are a spectacle.
My grandfather used to call them chipping sparrows.
They are always busy, chipping away at things.
Out my window I see them
in the snow that fell last night.
They leave a multitude of little arrow shaped footprints. 
 Hopping about, always watchful.
They are aware of the seed and wary of the cat.

Monday, November 11, 2019


in response to this link:   some words to live by

I am trying really hard to overcome - to be confident and have faith - because I have solid skills that I am proud of and that help people.  That is what I'm moving forward with.  To do good, and provide help and take care of my family.  And also to not be afraid to do the things and 'get out' the creative energies that I keep bottled up that will die with me if I don't put them out in the world.  That is all we have, our integrity, our families and our legacy, where we touch others even when we are gone.

this one too : Giving yourself Permission
"How do you decide that the person you are inside—the real you, the person underneath all the expectations and comparisons and measuring up and fitting in—is allowed to show up in your life?  "

Sunday, November 10, 2019

almost winter

Turned off the hydrant, got the chickens ready for the hard freeze tonight

 Daphne dog had to come to the garden with me and roll around in the grass 
when I was sitting in my chair.

and the lambs ear is still there poking up through the ground here and there, although there are some tiny brown grasshoppers that are likely the cause of the holes in the leaves

Saturday, November 09, 2019

bit o office

I have some more work to do on this design today and tomorrow.  Have a consultation meeting with a contractor this afternoon, two actually - but one is a phone consult.  And then I have a dishwasher air gap project that needs to be done, got all the materials for that last night, and the bigger toolbox.

I still need to price out sealers and grout maximizer, as well as shop for a light to match the fixtures and grab another tile sample in between the two I have.  

I am hoping the customer likes the one on the left, because their trim is already gray, and it will coordinate better, yet keep the warm feeling and go with the top really well.  I really like the one on the right though, it is so warm and looks a lot like what they already have down (vinyl), so it might look okay with the trim too, once it is there against it.

I found a bulletin board we weren't using and a filebox and put those in my office, too - and spent about an hour rearranging and organizing papers so everything works better for me. 

Friday, November 08, 2019


Thursday was big, and we did get the disposal done.  My friend helped hold it up for the hardest part of the muscle work, and I was very grateful to have him there.  I hung out in town in the cold of the weather and scored some one dollar dress shirts of the same kind I have been wearing for all of the plumbing, shop visits and design stuff.  It was a really good find.  I did a measure and there was SO much to do all in that one hour and I wanted to make sure I had all the info.  I'm working hard on that one, too - but I have to be ready for this meeting tomorrow with the tile shower.  I've packed my bag for it.

The big vanity top is coming on Tuesday.  The rest of the tile will be here the week after that.  We're really moving along.

I also bought a toolbox four times bigger than the one I was working with, and the two tools that my friend had asked for but I had been using other things in their place.. well, now I have those, too. 

I need to do a dishwasher air gap repair and also am still planning on doing the toilet, if they're ready soon.  I have a lot of drawing to do on this other job but want to wait until after the tile shower meeting so I can focus entirely on it.

The sun fell down (c) Marie Lamb 2019

Another little writing prompt from a different place.  I let it 'run'.. see what comes out, come back to look at it again later. // I didn't mean to write it this way.. but it's all true.  That day I missed a call from my aunt three times in a row and that never happens == and I was scared.. and I was on my way to the garden to sit down and call her and then my dad called.. and it was really him, and he had just fallen, and he tried to tell me it wasn't really bad, that he had just been clumsy, ... we had a good talk.. and I can't even really remember what about.. this and that... that was august the 7th it was in my call log. I remember that.. because my aunt was calling to try to make sure she could stop and visit with us when she came august 21st. on her way down to visit him because he wasn't eating well and she and my uncle, his younger brother, were going down there to see what they could do.   Anyway, the poem ended up being about that.. and it is too heartbreaking, and I'm just leaving it here for now

The Sun Fell Down
(c) Marie Lamb 2019

The sun fell down around us while I had my eyes on the sky.
The light went out.  I was not expecting it.
Darkness crept in around the edges, pink and gray
then the last bit of chalk dust was blown out and black settled in.

I lay there resting against the back of the green chair,
lost, until the calls of the night birds
became louder than my thoughts.
The brilliance of the stars attacked my eyes, far from the city lights.

But I know that what I am lacking is that sense of you.
That your thoughts are near to mine,
in tandem, across space, as they often were.
These stars have always been far away, but not always with you.

I took a moment more to drink in the light,
before rising slowly in the darkness,
and pushing my way across the stones towards the lively house,
away from the garden dead with frost, but sown with memories.

The air, for a time, was brighter there,
in the green chair that now reminds me of you.
It was where laughter and noise and motion still clung
like drops to a window after the rain.

It was where I sat when the fear gripped my throat,
to think that the bad news had finally come.
But it had not, not then, and when it did,
it wasn't in your own voice.

I had been so relieved that day, to hear your voice,
and to hear you laugh, and tell me it wasn't too bad.
And of course, I knew it wasn't true.
The fear told me what I did not want to hear.

The head can be too good at ignoring the heart.
We both brushed it away between us,
and listened a little harder.
Because we knew there were things that were not said.

I do not want to sit here in the dark,
with my own thoughts, unforgiving in their viciousness.
They wake me in the night and ask me what else could be done.
They wait for me with the sunrise and be sure I know it was nothing.

It is equal parts, release and revival,
of the shades of the night and the memories of other days.

Some days we strive to forget, and some nights we struggle to remember.
Days of light and nights of stars,

All I can do is remind myself that stars are light, too.
That we, are light, too.  Burning.

Thursday, November 07, 2019


Today will be a busy Thursday, and it is raining.  I have to load a lot of things in the car and get ready to go do a garbage disposal install and after that, a measure. 

I realized I was sitting the exact 'bad' way in my chair that all of the articles say 'no one should sit like this'.  I hardly ever realize it, but the picture I saw of the girl sitting on the couch with a big 'No' symbol over her popped up in my mind.  I sit with my knees to one side,and usually the 'underneath' leg has the ankle pressed all the way to the floor, with the foot completely sideways.  I know other people's ankles don't DO that.. so why is it 'comfortable' and I end up sitting that way when I read? 

There was something I was showing Esme I was trying to draw  - a position of  high kick that was 'too hard' for most people, they just can't do that with their leg without pain.   Esme was noting that her right side is flexible, but not her left, and she wondered if the directionality mattered.

For me, it's the opposite.  It's almost always the left ankle that is 'broken-looking', and my left hand is the one with the most overflexibility.. too -- but I also find it odd that it is my right shoulder with the hypermobile problem.  I think actually, my left would have been the same or more except that I dislocated it in Tae Kwon Do when I was sixteen.   It didn't heal back right - it required months of physical therapy.  I was working as a janitor after school at that time and even trying to vacuum the carpets was excruciating.   So, I think that shoulder actually 'stays in place' because well.. it's not in its natural state after having nerve and tissue damage.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Preview from the House of Sunlight book, (c) Marie Lamb

'Susan', short story by Marie Lamb (c) 2019

The sun is rising where it once set. I look at it only out of the corner of my eye. It is not the only thing today that has gone wrong. I saw a frog swallowed today, not by a snake or a bird, but by a flower with honey-sweet petals and no visible sign of malice. The water from the rock wall crept upwards through the cracks, and wandered back down the other side. I did not have time to examine it all. It was all so strange. But, most of all, most of all, Susan woke up.

And that was the only good thing that has happened all day.

All these few hours of it, so far.
It was barely after midnight.
The clock had begun ringing out the bells
I was still holding the bloody rag.
The one from the coughing that wracked her frail body.
The one she dropped to the floor, and I brought it back.
For some reason, I had not been able to accept the silence.
And then it was silent no more.

I sit here in awe of it.
And in fear of it.
And she looks at me.

I think it will take a little while, as it did before, the other way.
And then I will have to decide how to feel about it.
I will have to decide what to do with her, with me, with everything.

I took a walk through the garden, and it was brutal.
If we are living in the Unknown, so be it.
I came back, and still, she looks at me, beseechingly.

I know nothing, can say nothing, and am only quite small.
Maybe someone else will come through our doors before long.
If there was anyone left at all, and how will we know?

How long could it take, and what rules is Nature playing by
now that she has thrown her book out the window?

Perhaps, I only need to wait a little longer..

I curl up at her side and slowly, with one thin finger, she strokes my ears. Perhaps I have dreamed it all. The Death did not come in the night as I had imagined. Everything will be all right. The sun will reach it’s noon point and Susan will rise from her bed and begin to make tea. I think about the cakes, and they taste like frogs. I think about the frogs and they taste like chicken bits.

I think I’ll go have another turn around the garden.
And hope there are not any birds large enough to swallow me.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Out near McKenzie, Tennessee

I love the little flower shape that showed up in the tree leaves to the left.  The light was nice.  This tree was next to a little church that had light shining down on it from above, and a field of frozen volunteer corn stalks that had laid down in bell shaped heaps throughout the field.
 I will post a drawing I've made in a day or so.  This little church's roof shape made me think of what I want to see on the cover of my short story collection book.... it's not a 1:1 comparison, but it got me thinking.

This reminded me of the flower fairy ladies in Fantasia, when they swirl around and bend down so only their skirts show.

That was my first attempt at the House of Sunlight cover image... and then I went out and took more house pictures of places that evoked the right 'feel' for me.. and I will need to take another stab at making it again.  However, oddly, the front porch on this one and the front porch on the first actual house I thought of both have the same gingerbread.