The Bad News and the Good News

I have participated in 31 days of slicing on #SOL22. This is the final day – Day 31. I have loved every minute of it! Thanks to the twowritingteachers team for providing this space for us to write, share, and grow together! Warmest regards….Lynne

The bad news is that it’s over today. No more stretching my writing muscles every day.

The good news is that I plan to keep writing on my blog three or four times a week.

The bad news is that I promised I would do that last year and didn’t.

The good news is that I am determined to keep my promise this time.

The bad news is that I won’t get ideas from other bloggers on Slice every day.

The good news is I can still go back and read posts I have not yet explored.

The bad news is I won’t have Clare, Bob (Areja), Stacey, Rita, and other visiting Slicers to cheer me on with encouraging comments.

The good news is I can find them and other Slicer friends on Tuesdays throughout the year!

I’m looking forward to #SOL23! See you next March!

Looking Forward to More Garden Walks

I am participating in #SOL22. This is Day 30. One more day and we made it!

The topiary garden at Longwood. Where’s the Welsh Corgi?

We won’t be together in April, and it’s my favorite month to visit Longwood Gardens. I have included photos to share this unique experience. So many tulip beds – you feel you are in Holland! The weather is perfect for long strolls outdoors. It’s a time I often take my writer’s notebook to sketch and jot colors, shapes, smells, feelings. I love to sit on the curved stone bench with a gargoyle decorating each end. It occupies the end of the garden walk. The fountains usually aren’t on until May 1st, so we come back to inhale the wisteria and listen to the music of the fountains. If you are ever visiting Philadelphia, be sure to take a trip to Longwood Gardens. It’s quite magical! And please, don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

Unexpected

I am participating in #SOL22. This is Day 29. Thanks to twowritingteachers team for providing this space to write, share, and grow.

About 35 years ago was driving to the stables after a long week at school. My manuals and resources were piled next to me. I created my plans for the following week over the weekend. The Friday was warm, and all my windows were cracked.

Stopped at a light, I was listening to Bonnie Raitt on the radio. Suddenly, I heard the passenger door open. A man slid into the seat as the light turned green. “Going to Ambler?” he asked.

“Kind of,” I replied. I kept driving. Why did I do that?

When I got to Bethlehem Pike, I told him that he should get out at the light. He refused. Instead of turning right and going to the Gwynedd Police Station, I turned onto Brushtown Road – not much traffic here but on the way to the barn. Did I want this guy to know wherecI worked?

I pulled over. “Look. Here is my number.” I scribbled a fake number on a piece of paper. “You are going to get me fired. Please.”

And quite miraculously, he got out of my car. And I drove to the barn. I could not believe what had happened or how badly I had handled the situation. I must have had a guardian angel that day! At least I’ve learned to keep my car doors locked!

A Longwood Gardens Visit

I am participating in #SOL22. This is Day 28.

Yesterday was cold – not the day I would choose to visit Longwood Gardens, but Pat Smith was here and we made plans. Ralph, Patty, and I arrived at Longwood around two p.m. and strolled until four. Then we had an amazing dinner at Patty’s home, created by her husband Ed. Baked salmon, homemade sweet red potato mashed potatoes, and asparagus, followed by creamy cheesecake topped with raspberries. We drank champagne starting with the appetizers through dessert. My husband does not drink, so he is always my designated driver – lucky me! It was a great day.

My dear friend Patty is with me at Longwood Gardens.

Longwood did not disappoint. We experienced hanging baskets of jasmine with tiny white blooms, azaleas, amaryllis, and best of all – blue poppies – native to the Himalayan tundra. Longwood purchases them from somewhere in Alaska. They last all of ten days in the warm conservatory – they prefer 45-degree temperatures.

The Himalayan Blue Poppy. Such a rich true blue flower is a rare garden treasure. True blue flowering plants are rare in the natural world, The Himalayan blue poppy derives its blue color from the pigment delphinidin combined with the plant’s ability to maintain acidic conditions inside the plant cells.

The new orchid house was amazing! You will see lots of photos from our visit. Enjoy!

The A, B, C of Writing

I am participating in #SOL22. This is day 27. Thanks to twowritingteachers team for providing this space to write, share, and grow.

Adjectives and adverbs don’t take the place of strong nouns and verbs!

Begin your piece with an exciting lead.

Capitalization of proper nouns is checked during your self-edit.

Dig deep to find memories and stories that are important to you.

Every sentence should not begin the same way!

Find places to add rich details to build interest.

Give your writing your full attention by reading and rereading your words.

Happy, sad, angry, embarrassed – just appeal to the emotions.

Intelligent readers want you to show not tell!

Just write it down in your writer’s notebook before your ideas escape.

Kindness is okay when you confer, but honesty is important if you’re going to help.

Let your voice be heard!  You are unique!

Metaphors are great to use to anchor an image in the reader’s mind.

Never be afraid to take a risk and try something new.

Open up your heart when you write and be passionate!

Poetry is for everyone – free verse, haiku, limericks, tanka, acrostics, sonnets, ballads.

Quit your whining when you write to persuade, or no one will listen!

Revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise….

Similes can be tired if you are always as slow as a snail or fast as a cheetah.

Take time to appeal to the senses with sounds, smells, and tastes.

Unusual ways of seeing everyday things – that’s what a writer does!

Villanelle is a nineteen-line poem consisting of five tercets and a quatrain – give it a try!

When you have time, use the thesaurus and dictionary to help you.

Xtra, extra…read all about it: writing workshop is extra special because we have a voice.

Your character is revealed through actions, thoughts, talk, and physical descriptions.

Zany and crazy are allowed.  It’s okay to be different in writing workshop.

Hitchhikers?

I am participating in #SOL22. This is Day 26. Thanks to twowritingteachers team for providing this space to write, share, and grow.

I did a lot of my growing up in the sixties and early seventies. Rock and Roll, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, hippies and flower power, the Cold War continues, assassinations of John, Bobby, & Martin, Vietnam War, protests against the war, the Cuban Missile Crisis, riots, Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act into law, the comic book character of Spider-Man makes his debut, the first Wal-Mart opens in Arkansas, Woodstock Music & Art Fair, and we land the Eagle on the moon and Armstrong’s words – “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It would be hard to sum up the sixties in one paragraph. You would need at least five or six paragraphs – right? Just kidding. I do remember that it was not uncommon to see one or several people on any given day standing on the side of the road with their thumb out, trying to hitch a ride. Now, I knew this was dangerous, but one time I tried it. Just once…

I had spent the night at my best friend’s house. April and I were going to spend a three-day weekend in Harrisburg as grooms for about six horses and ponies from Broad Acres that were competing at the Harrisburg Horse Show. April and I were taking a day off from school to earn some good money braiding tails and manes, giving baths, cleaning saddles and bridles, and mucking stalls. Funny, I cannot remember asking Mom for permission to do this. How did I talk her into it?

We were so excited! It was going to be a great adventure, and we would earn some cash doing chores that we loved to do. What could be better? I had stayed at April’s house Thursday night since she lived on Butler Pike, about a mile or two from the stables. We could not wake up Mrs. Montgomery and decided to walk, our duffle bags slung over our backs.

It was a very cold November morning – still dark at 5:30 a.m. and a little spooky with George Washington Memorial Cemetery across the country road. Our plan was to walk down to the preschool center on Butler and cut through to the stables. When a car’s headlights approached us going in our direction, I turned and stuck out my thumb. “What are you doing?” April whispered as the car slowed down and stopped. I motioned her to follow. The man rolled down the passenger window.

“Jump in the back,” he said.

We climbed in and as soon as we shut the door, he sped off. “We’re just going up to the school,” I managed to blurt out of a very dry throat. Suddenly, I was finding it difficult to swallow.

“Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“Stop here,” I croaked. “STOP! Please STOP!”

The driver pulled over about a quarter of a mile past the school’s driveway. “Don’t you know better than to hitchhike?” he asked us.

We got out of the car as fast as we could and jogged back to the driveway. We didn’t look back. We didn’t talk about it either. And we never hitchhiked again!

Hair Cuts & Styles

I am participating in #SOL22. This is Day 25. Thanks to twowritingteachers team for providing this space to write, share, and grow. I cannot believe that we only have a week left to slice with this community of writers!

When I was a little girl, I had a pixie haircut – bangs, short hair on the sides and in the back – almost like someone had placed a bowl on my head and trimmed anything that stuck out. It wasn’t very attractive, but it was easy for my mom to tend to, and I was the firstborn.

Later, I wore my hair in a page boy and a flip. The page boy is a fairly modern hairstyle named after what was believed to be the haircut of a late medieval page boy. Hair hangs straight down to below the ear and was usually turned under. This hairstyle had bangs – long or short – to cover the forehead – and was popular in the late 1950s and 1960s.

The flip had some bounce to it – sometimes with bangs and sometimes without, and the ends were curled up. Thanks to tons of hairspray and teasing, wearing hair rollers to bed to ensure your flip didn’t flop during the day, the flip was all the rage! Mary Tyler Moore’s character, Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” made the trend even more popular with her perfect bouffant hair with the flipped ends. Do you remember Marlo Thomas in That Girl? She was the brunette with the flip hairdo. Even Jackie Kennedy wore some version of it.

In junior high school, I tried to make my hair as straight as possible. It was long – about down to my waist – and very wavy. Every night I would wet my hair or shampoo it. Then, I took an empty orange juice can with both ends removed and rolled one strand of hair around it so it sat on the top of my head, placing large clips to keep the one strand swirled around the can and to keep the can secured to my head. Next, I carefully wrapped my long hair around the can and used bobby pins and clips to keep the hair in place. I slept with my head propped up on two pillows. It’s a wonder I got any sleep! The next morning, I unraveled my tresses, and what do you know – I had perfectly straight hair!

In seventh grade, my grandma surprised me with a trip to the beauty parlor in Allentown where I received my first and last perm. The salon smelled like a chemical plant. It was horrifying – my new hairdo made me seven inches taller with so much hair spray that it did not move. It would have taken a category 5 hurricane to blow that perm out! I did not tell my grandma how upset I was with my birthday gift, but when I got home, I tried to wash it out. I ended up with wavy ringlets for months and could only wear my hair in short braids to manage my tresses.

Over the years, I have dyed my hair auburn, red, and sometimes I’ve added blond highlights. Right now I am a chocolate brown – very close to my natural color. Of course, if I did not dye my hair today, I would be completely gray.

I’m back to long hair again, but I’m thinking of cutting it short. Who knows? Maybe the pageboy or a long, layered bob or long layers that work with the natural pattern of my hair. I want to try a new look for spring.

Daffodils in a Spring Garden

I am participating in #SOL 2022. This is Day 24. Thanks to twowritingteachers team for providing this space to write, share, and grow.

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne When We Were Very Young

I love daffodils and try to plant a few new bunches every year. Our property has a total of 25 bunches in bloom right now. I look forward to seeing their smiling faces every March.

Daffodils in a Spring Garden

by Lynne R. Dorfman

Brighten your garden

with daffodils!

Early bloomers,

first flowers in March.

Bringing bold color

and exotic character

to any garden display.

Stems, strong and tall,

Dependable blooms.

A symbol of hope,

A cheerful sight

after the cold, ice, and snow.

Spring Beauties

Thanks for providing this space to write, share, and grow.

I am participating in #SOL22. This is Day 23.

Part of the iris family,

Ninety species in all.

Perennials native to the Alps,

the Mediterranean area, North Africa,

the Middle East, and across Central Asia.  

Little beauties that are found everywhere,

 In the forests, scrub, and meadows.

Everywhere from sea level to alpine tundra,

white, mauve, lilac, lavender, yellow, and striped.

Marking the true arrival of spring….

Crocuses.

Barn Chores

I am participating in #SOL22. This is Day 22.

Thanks to twowritingteachers for providing this space to write, share, and grow.
I often start my writing pieces in my writer’s notebook, not on a laptop or other device.

I never thought I would be writing a post about barn chores, but yesterday I started to think about the jobs I loved doing at the stable and the ones that were not much fun – just hard work! I started working as a camp counselor for Mick Warmington when I was about fourteen years old. That job morphed into working weekends for riding lessons. Later, I worked at All Around Farm with Sue Scales and Richard Fennelly. I ran a summer riding camp and taught lessons during the school year on weekends and after school. Sometimes, we went to horse shows on one or both days of the weekends.

My favorite job was mucking a straw stall. I loved to pile up the straw that was remaining, pick up droppings and urine-stained straw with a good pitchfork, sprinkle a bit of lime on the ground, and let the stall air out until I did another one or two stalls. Then I would return to the stall with some new sections of straw, shake it all out, and add a lap or two of hay in the corner. Sometimes, the water bucket was emptied, scrubbed, and refilled with fresh water. Often, water buckets were a separate task, and not one of my favorites.

I loved to rake the courtyard once the stalls were all finished. I often used a herringbone pattern which was quite lovely until horses and people walked over the thinly spread stone. The aisles inside the stable sections were much harder to sweep, but I still enjoyed straightening up. Cleaning the barn was much more fun than cleaning my house!

I loved giving baths to horses and even clipping them – a very messy and fairly dangerous job. Braiding tails was my specialty. I could braid a tail in about 18 minutes and do either an English braid where the braid came out on top, running all the way down the tail bone and ending it in a “jellyroll” or I could easily do a French braid. At horse shows, owners or trainers would often ask me to zip up a tail for a confirmation class or a hunter division. I could earn $20 per tail, often $80 at an “A” rated show.

I think the hardest job was stacking hay and straw in the loft. It was dusty and hot in the summer and early fall, and if the bales were bound in wire, your hands would be very sore at the end of the job with all the lifting, throwing, and stacking. Equally hard was throwing the bales up into a moving pickup truck when we actually brought bales in from the farmer’s fields. Or trying to locate Farmer Rush at Normandy Farms to buy some hay or straw to tide us over until our shipment arrived. I remember having to walk across a field of manure and soggy straw – a pen for the cows – to get Farmer Rush’s attention. Yuck!

I loved setting up new courses in the riding ring, but it took several people to move the stonewall and the rolltop. We had a very heavy gate, a brush jump, and lots of post and rails. Our ring was a mixture of sand and dirt. Every so often, we added new sand into the ring and Richard would drag it so the sand would mix in. I loved to feel a gentle breeze and the sun on my face while I was teaching lessons. Unfortunately, we did not have an indoor ring or lights so people could continue to ride after dusk.

Grooming a horse is an art – you always hold the brush in the hand closest to the horse’s head. Start on the neck and work your way down to the rump. There are hard and soft dandy brushes, a curry comb, a body brush, hoof pick, damp and dry rags, and hoof polish with a tiny paintbrush. At horse shows, we would sometimes use a short piece of comb, wet the horse’s rump, and make a checkerboard pattern. It was really cool! Sometimes, just a little bit of baby oil around the horse’s eyes and on his muzzle.

I loved getting up before the sun and heading to the barn on a weekend during the school year. Both teaching elementary school children and teaching riding to kids from four to seventy-four were full-time jobs. When I was about 45, I finally gave up the horses – reluctantly and sadly – but I could not straddle the fence anymore. I still miss them – the horses, the events, the people, and the chores.