Saturday, April 30, 2011

"I value my life!" I shouted...

A much younger me looking "over the edge"
When I think of life on the edge, I imagine a person teetering on the end of a cliff, arms swimming in the air trying to prevent a fall. Maybe he (or she) is on the brink of insanity, sinking into depression or drowning in addiction. Perhaps he is living in a war zone or among riotous upheaval where no peace can be found. No matter what the circumstances are, he is probably experiencing extreme fear and anxiety. I wonder if this person's life flashes before him? Is he praying? Or is he so into the moment and deep in concentration that he doesn't even think at all?

I can remember when I was on the edge of a cliff hanging on for dear life. Well, it was really the periphery of a steep mountain... and I was in a Jeep... but I was scared to death. All I could think was, "Please don't let me die!" Thinking back I can now see that I was very much in the moment. I prayed. My short adventurous life (sort of) flashed before me. But I also learned a little about myself. I survived.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
It was back in my single days, when I was in my 20s. I was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for my birthday. My friend decided to rent a Jeep for the day and take me on a tour of the mountains. I really just wanted to lay on the beach and do something adventuresome like parasailing, but this well-traveled person was determined to show me all around the place. It sounded boring, but I finally relented. Little did I know that this excursion would be more thrilling than anything I could have ever dreamed up.

First of all, the dirt path up the mountain was extremely narrow. There was only enough room for the Jeep. When half-naked people on horseback came by, we were able to stop and let them get around us. It was a tight squeeze, though. After I recovered from the reality shock, I found myself wondering what would happen if a vehicle tried to pass.

The mystery Jeep (minus the driver)
"Umm, what are we going to do if another car is coming down this mountain? We wouldn't have any warning. How would it get by?"

Big smile. "Let's just hope that doesn't happen."

Roll of my eyes. "You know, I value my life!" I shouted. I was white-knuckling it as I held on for dear life. My carefully manicured fingernails were leaving half-moon indentions in my palms.

Fits of laughter. "Me, too."

The beach suits me fine, thank you very much
As we wound around the circular path, I found myself looking at the beautiful ocean below. Isn't that why I came to Mexico; to see my toes through the clear water and body surf to my heart's content? My eyes drifted back to the scene before me, growing bigger as I made a frightening discovery. Hoping to prove my theory wrong, I scanned the side of the mountain. I followed it from the front of the car to behind it. There was no railing. We were climbing higher and higher, driving faster and faster. If we made a mistake, there would be nothing to stop us from careening over the side. Yes- that is life on the edge. God, please help me.

Suddenly I had a flashback to the time my wild and crazy cousin picked me up from the Bush International Airport in Houston. He had parked at the top of a parking garage. The only way down was a spiral exit ramp. It reminded me of sliding down a fire pole. My cousin was a fireman, but this was no pole. Yet he was driving down the ramp as if rushing to get to a four-alarm fire in time. He was looking at me out of the corner of his eyes, laughing the same way my friend in the Jeep laughed. Up, down, all around- my mind was a top. Was I losing it? Was my life starting to flash before me? HELP!

Suddenly I was wakened from my reverie when the Jeep came to a screeching halt. We had arrived at the chosen destination in the mountainous jungle outside of Puerto Vallarta. With the wobbly legs of a newborn calf, I stepped out of the Jeep and said a silent prayer of thanks. I was on solid ground at last.

I wanted to nap like this guy
I took in the beauty of Mexico with a new heightened awareness. The greens were greener. The wind was wispier. The air was muskier. I breathed in the glorious smell of approaching afternoon rain. My fear was replaced with awe.

I guess that's what happens when you are living on the edge, push through and come out the other side. There is not much time for thinking of anything other than the situation. You have racing thoughts from the past. You pray like there's no tomorrow. When you make it through, gratitude runs through your body like a wave of ecstasy. A childlike innocence returns because you survived the roller coaster ride.

A local (to the right) near the river
I watched in amazement as natives washed their clothes in a river. Children of all ages swung into the water from tree branches and tire swings. They were all happy with life as they knew it.

I reveled in the simple gift of leisure walking. We hiked and explored until we reached a resting place. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the collection of palm fronds and abundance of straw was a thatched roof jungle bar. Although it appeared abandoned at first, someone soon showed up ready to offer refreshments. I later found out the restaurant was called El Eden. A tour of the grounds revealed the helicopter that was used during the movie Predator.

Our little "oasis" in the midst of it all

Movie prop from Arnold Schwarzenegger's Predator
For some reason, when we left hours later, going down the mountain was much easier.


Published here on 9/25/11 for language/place carnival, issue #10 hosted by Sheree Mack at Everyday Creativity 3

Day 30

PA- After leaving here…

Until Next Time (a palindrome)

shouting loudly,
“Please return,”
echoing poets disperse, 
Disperse; poets echoing,
“Return, please,”
loudly shouting-

@laurie kolp

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 29

Big Tent poetry- Things in mason jars

Jars of Memories

A dusty shelf in the back sewing room.
A lifetime of childhood memories.
Mason jars lined up in a row.
A rainbow of buttons.
Big and small, round and square.
Tiny beads for stringing.
Friendship bracelets.
Hot glue guns, fancy bags.
Remnants from Hilary’s girl scouting days.
Giggly girls swarming over the green card table.
Dress up clothes, make up.
A cherished collection of marbles.
Dirty fingernails, soiled feet.
Little Henry ever begging for sweets.
Swirling, twirling dreams.
Old-time five and dime malt shops.
Confectioner’s delight, bubblegum, lollipops.
Innocent kids with big imaginations.
A newborn baby, silky skin.
Mouth-watering wishes.
A sparkling treasure.
Quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.
Vacation money saved each year.
Garage sales, loose change.
Counting and rolling coins, trips to the bank.
Disneyworld, the Grand Canyon, Florida.
A dusty shelf in the back sewing room.
A lifetime of childhood memories.

@laurie kolp

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 28

PA prompt: Life without ________

Life Without Temptation
(Why unrelenting emotion is evil )

The sycophant crept into your life
a slithering snake
Cleopatra’s mesmerizing spell
this adulterated charm coiled
around your weakest link--
Squeezing, depleting
putrid poison spread like the plague
false ideas, seduction and lies;
brainwashing, abusing
naked naiveté.
did you take the bait
as your loving family
watched from the bushes and cried?

@laurie kolp

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Poetic Asides

PA- In the ____ of ____

(In the Throes of Passion)

love bugs hold on tight
remnants stain the front windshield
wipers smudge foggy glass

@laurie kolp

Day 27


3WW- foolish, mercy, relish
NaPoWriMo- least favorite words (nincompoop, louse, twerp)

Mr. Nincompoop

As a child, momma always told him,
“Don’t be foolish in life’s decisions,
practice mercy, and relish each day.”

By the time he turned thirty,
he was labeled Mr. Nincompoop,
an unforgiving louse, and bilious twerp.

Why didn’t he listen to his momma?

@laurie kolp
Sevenling poetic form

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PA prompt- Following

Following Two Crows

I am
In the silence
Of nothingness. I revel
In the mere state of being
Perfect refuge from an ill-fated
Day. A quick glimpse in the rearview
Mirror reflects moisture-glistened skin
My tongue sweeps across the beady moustache,
A salty treat for my parched mouth.
Sweat slowly slips into deep dark
Crevices, the innermost secrets
Of my curvaceous body. I
Slowly wiggle closer to
The open window
Hoping for some
Stifling air
Remains inert, a prisoner
In the hot afternoon sun. Two crows
Play in grassy sand- jumping, poking and
Then flying away. My eyes follow their
Paths to clear blue sky, and land on an
Array of cumulus clouds. A perfect
Cloud angel comes into focus.
Cottony wings are opened
Wide, inviting me
Inside. Suddenly
I know this day
Has not been
In vain.
I am.

@laurie kolp

Day 26

NaPoWriMo: Spam poem

Please Delete All Shoppy Bag Emails From Me!

Oh, Shoppy Bag,
you are a drag.
Leave me alone
Facebook clone.
Beware my friends:
email it sends
is not from me--
delete them please!

@laurie kolp

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Halloween... I mean Christmas... no, Easter!

For the past couple of days, I have felt like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland darting through the bushes and mumbling, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" I don't know how this happened, but Easter hopped up from behind and nearly pushed me down the rabbit hole.

It hit me when we went to an Easter egg hunt last Friday. I had not sent out any Easter cards. No pastel eggs or cute bunnies were decorating our house, which was okay because I explained to the kids that we don't put them out now until after Good Friday. Lent is so serious, you know. We can't decorate the house during such a solemn time.

Whew. I really saved myself with that quick-witted thinking. I think might have started a new tradition, too.

I knew I was in big trouble, though, later that evening when the boys asked about Katie's Easter basket. She and her friends had hidden the eggs, not hunted them. Nicholas forgot.

"Why is Katie's basket empty? Did she eat all her candy?" He asked.

"No, honey. Remember? She didn't even go trick-or-treating with you."

Everyone just stopped and stared while I tried to cover up my snafu with a chuckle.

"I was just checking to see if you were paying attention." Then I quickly changed the subject.

That night before bed Pete said, "Today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday... and then comes Monday."

"You mean we skip Christmas?" Nicholas answered.

We all laughed.

It must run in the family.

"You sound like Mom!" Andrew joked.



P.S. We ended up having a very nice Halloween/ Christmas/ Easter celebration.

Day 25

PA- Falling
Magpie Tales- (photo)
Birds: Wildflowers and Gemstones

Wildflowers decorate the sky
Nature’s tune in harmony
A multi-colored vista
Entertaining symphony

Red Poppy, Cardinal Flower
Ruby gems shining through
Bluebonnet, Snapdragons
Contrasting sapphire blue

Baby’s Breath, Queen Anne’s Lace
Pure and white pearl drops
Carpenter’s Square, Cattail
Tiger’s eye never stops

Black-Eyed Susan, Marigold
Amber’s friends a’swaying
Hollyhock, Zinnias
Rainbow’s slide a’playing

Falling like shooting stars
Up and down, red or brown
Splashing life's energy
In vibrant colors I drown

@laurie kolp

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 24

Happy Easter!

PA- Prayer form

Looking Up

You lift me up
in hope and love,
eternal life
with you above.
You cleanse me from consuming fears
I offer you my trust, you wash away my tears.
You remove bad habits, empty evil desires,
with you I’m whole- no peace expires.
This Easter, God, I pray to you on high
lead me forward, I’ll reach the sky.
You lift me up
in hope and love,
eternal life
with you above.

@laurie kolp

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 23

PA- A “quit doing what you’re doing” poem (Tetractys form)

False Bravado

Wolf, chicken.
Shallow tears flood
Raw emotions boomerang like raindrops.

@laurie kolp

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 22

PA prompt- Only one in the world

Everlasting love
Solace, serenity

@laurie kolp

NaPoWriMo prompt- Double dactyl poem

Eleanor Roosevelt: For the people, not above them

Higgledy, piggledy
Eleanor Roosevelt
National prodigy
Stubborn as well;

Objecting to debutantes’
Coming out socially;
Cup of tea hell.

@laurie kolp

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 21

Big Tent Poetry- What you would shout down the street
PA- A ‘second thoughts’ poem

On Second Thoughts, I’ll Keep My Mouth Shut

Hey, Mr. Hoarder,
yeah, I’m talkin’ to you
with all that tacky furniture
and stuff stacked high
out the garage
onto your driveway.
Man, when you gonna take down
that there blue tarp piece of crap
trashin’ your rooftop and trickin’ the birds
since Hur’cane Ike blew through?

@laurie kolp

The big mommy jubilee

It's a social gathering of mommies clad in designer workout clothes and visors, with kids in tow, Starbucks in hand. Long lost classmates are reunited here. They bunch around one another, oohing and aahing over their preschoolers and babies; tossing compliments like Mardi Gras beads. Some are pregnant, others old pros. These women commiserate over sleepless nights, teeth cutting, colic and colds. They also embellish stories of their offspring's milestones with such phrases as "____'s so advanced...," and "____'s the only one...". You would think these groupies were at a class reunion, but they're not; they are shopping at Target. And their carts are bursting at the seams with bargains.

I used to be one of those. I would go shopping just to get out of the house, and I would buy things because they were such a steal. Target and Kohl's were my stomping grounds. Nicholas is the one who accompanied me most of the time because the other two were in school. (When he started kindergarten, he had shopping withdrawals and often reminsced about "the places where he used to push the carts around.") I would run into familiar faces and Nicholas would receive a lot of positive attention. My appetite for adult conversation would be sated. When I crossed paths with another mommy, we would practically grab each other and hold on for dear life; or I would simply stand back and observe the exchange of dialogue between the needy.

"Hey you over there, stop for a second. Don't I know you?" One would say.

"Umm, you do look a little familiar."

Scoping eyes would roll from head to foot and when the mommies decided they were similar, a real conversation would begin.

The boys' new bunk beds
Just this week I was reminded of those days of desparation because we bought the boys bunk beds. I had to purchase new sheets because the bottom bunk is a double, and we had no double sheets. So I went to Target. The week before Easter. It was one big mommy jubilee; shopping carts were adorned 
with pastel Easter eggs, candy, children's clothes, DVDs, Wii games and other good deals. Friends gathered and shopped after splurging at the Starbucks counter. In the checkout line, familiar faces enjoyed gabfests.

"You were on the drill team weren't you? Who'd you dance with?"

"Yes I was. I never took dance before the drill team, though."

"You didn't? Really?" Look of disgust, end of conversation.

As I went through the boys things later that day, I realized how many items were unnecessary purchases from those early mommy days when I just had to get out of the house or I'd go crazy. I had spent money to get a good deal, thinking the whole time that the kids would grow into the new clothes for next winter or use the costumes next Halloween.

Now someone will get those things I spent money on to save money, the unused items, from Goodwill.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PA- A Message in a Bottle poem, and 'Stylish Blogger' award

Thank you Lisa of Inspired by Lisa for this lovely blog award!

Here are seven things about me in the form of a poem based on PA's prompt, A Message in a Bottle poem.

My Middle Name is Katherine

If you should find this note inside this bottle clear,
I was 43 years old, 2-o-11 was the year.
Earlier in life I taught in schools, lived out on my own
But then I met Mr. Right, said goodbye to life alone.
The children I had born, a daughter and two boys,
truly were God's blessings, spreading endless joy.
America was in troubled times, my faith replaced all fear
I escaped all pain in rhymes and shared my work right here.
I hope you find this message and recognize my name
from poetry, short stories, or a novel claim to fame.

Can you find my seven things? The first fifteen people to leave a comment with a link to their blog will be the next recipients of this 'Stylish Blogger' award (I will post the winners on this blog). All you have to do is link back to me, write seven things about yourself, choose ten to fifteen people and pass it along.

Many blessings...
Laurie Kolp

Day 20

3WW- cleanse, knead, melt
NaPoWriMo- The Ghazal poetic form
From War to Peace

Why do terse thoughts beseech me when I pray?
Inverse replies intensify; I pray.

Your hands upon my back knead stress away;
The tension lifts black weights from which I pray.

A hot tub shooting eddies, safe from prey.
The nation battles war, for peace I pray.

Communion with each other makes my day;
Pain melts away, you cleanse my soul, I pray.

Dried blood, iced glaze conceals lies, so I pray.
Eyes swindled from the haze; false gods. I pray.

Fresh scent of lilac captures love’s archway.
Blind faith leads, hunger sated; yes, I pray.

Gazelles grace fields, my mind in which I pray,
Peace grazes Laurie’s thoughts lift clouds; I pray.

@Laurie Kolp

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 18

PA- Love
NaPoWriMo- Conversation

Speaking of Love

A symphony shrills behind storm doors,
Unlit bulbs emblazon winter’s gray,
Young life births in barren fields;
Spring’s resurrection loves this way.

@Laurie Kolp

A cause for celebration

I was so honored and humbled to learn that I Am the Sea made it to #3 on Poetic Asides' sonnet contest (on PA, scroll down to April 18 to see the list and winning piece). Thanks, Robert Lee Brewer; and congratulations to the other top ten winners. Most importantly though, thank YOU for visiting my blog, reading my posts and leaving comments. You give me the strength to stay afloat. Here is my poem: 

I Am the Sea

The water’s edge laps rhythmic solitude
Enticing waves, the arms that call me in;
I drown in bitter sorrow from this feud,
Then like a buoy pop up once again.
Rejuvenating tides this cycle bears,
My fingers slap calm water freshening.
Hypnotic reverie from ocean’s prayers;
A dolphin diving up and down, I sing.
Am I insane to dream myself to shore?
To think white castles hold the golden key?
Each time a current pulls me to the floor,
An inspiration molds my destiny.
I am the sea, I write to fill this hole;
No storm or wind will crush my hungry soul.

@Laurie Kolp

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Nice Surprise from PA!

I was so honored and humbled to learn that I Am the Sea made it to #3 on Poetic Asides' sonnet contest. Thanks, Robert Lee Brewer; and congratulations to the other top ten winners. Most importantly though, thank YOU for visiting my blog, reading my poetry and leaving comments. You give me the strength to stay afloat. Click here to see the top winner and remaining list.

I Am the Sea

The water’s edge laps rhythmic solitude
Enticing waves, the arms that call me in;
I drown in bitter sorrow from this feud,
Then like a buoy pop up once again.
Rejuvenating tides this cycle bears,
My fingers slap calm water freshening.
Hypnotic reverie from ocean’s prayers;
A dolphin diving up and down, I sing.
Am I insane to dream myself to shore?
To think white castles hold the golden key?
Each time a current pulls me to the floor,
An inspiration molds my destiny.
I am the sea, I write to fill this hole;
No storm or wind will crush my hungry soul.

@Laurie Kolp

Magpie Tales Monday

Bites of Acceptance

Healthy breakfast mixes
Yellows, whites, browns
The All-American start
A plate filled with dreams

Day 18

NaPoWriMo - A color poem (same color repeated throughout)
PA- Title-- Like_____

Like a Day at the Park

Outside my kitchen window red
birds jump and play hopscotch,
cardinals all shades of red;
Mommy, Daddy, babies gather.
Red flits as wings flutter,
sibling rivalry, red hot ire
tempers flare in flights red;
a game of tag, “You’re it!”
Red STOP sign; the enemy nears
Blue Jay chases red away.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A bar brawl, fight with a chair and unexpected bonk of the heads: There's no hiding black eyes

A black eye; this unwanted baggage always seems to appear at the worse times. There's no hiding the blacks, blues, purples, reds, yellows and greens no matter how hard you try. The three incidents below really happened, but how they were "covered up" is interesting. Notice how the two male stories differ from mine.

Last week, Andrew was sitting in an old orange school chair in front of the kid's computer, leaning back and rocking as he anticipated his next gaming move. All of the sudden I heard a WHOOSH / THUMP and then Nicholas' concerned voice:

"Oh! Are you okay, Andrew?"

I quickly turned my head and found Andrew on the floor, hands covering his left eye. I was surprised he wasn't crying, because when I peeled away his fingers I could see the bruise already forming. The chair had flipped with him and the bottom of the leg had come back around and poked him in the eye (not directly, thank goodness, but close enough). We applied ice immediately, but the next morning it was apparent that we could have done nothing to stop nature's course of healing.

A few days later, right when the boldest colors of a black eye usually peak, Andrew had his award ceremony for earning his blue belt in TaeKwonDo (yeah, Drew!). I have to wonder if everyone thought he got his shiner while sparring. A few asked him, and this is what Andrew said:

"I got in a fight with my chair and won."

He did look like a true prize fighter.

Just two days before graduation from Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) School in Paris Island, North Carolina, Pete was in a fight. The E-Club (Enlisted) was a well-frequented spot for the guys back then; kind of like an oasis in the middle of the desert. Of course, I'm sure Pete was only a victim and could never have stirred up trouble, so I will pass on the details. The important thing is that he had a big ole' shiner on the day of graduation; and he was graduating #1 in his class. When the commanding general of the base handed Pete his award, he whispered these words:

"What happened to your eye?"

"Oh, I just slipped in the shower," Pete mumbled.

"Does the other guy look that bad?" Asked the general with a wink.

Pete showed perfect proof that he was a tough marine as he walked across the stage with a serious expression on his colorful face.

Then there was the time I was stranded in Galveston while on a college weekend trip. I bumped heads with a friend on the seawall while waiting for my summer roommate Mitzie to show up (she had abandoned me at a night club, but that's another story). My mother came to visit me the next week. I tried to disguise my shiner with gobs of eye makeup, but there was no fooling good ole' Mom. I could tell she was onto me when she said this as soon as she saw me:

"My God, Laurie. You have on so much eye makeup. Since when did you start wearing all those different colored eye shadows?"

"Oh, you know Mitzie. She works at the Estee Lauder counter. She was practicing new methods on me."

"I see," Mom answered with a quizzical look.

I did not appear rough and tough; I looked like a little girl who put on too much eye shadow while playing dress-up. And I caked on the camouflage everyday until my eye returned to normal.

Did you notice that Andrew and Pete bragged about their black eyes, but I tried to cover mine up? To men, shiners are war stories. Women do whatever they can to hide their scarlet letters and keep them a secret. But we're really only fooling ourselves. The truth is visible in the oily blobs making rings around our eyes.

Day 17

NaPoWriMo - A portrait poem
PA- The big picture
Form: Shadorma

The Trophy Wife

Cobalt blue
Eyes shadowed rainbows
Lips soft pink
Whitened teeth
Like an Easter egg, pastels
Camouflage the truth

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 16

NaPoWriMo- Write an erasure poem from an excerpt of Annie Dillard's book The Writing Life.
A Writer’s Spark

The curtain’s sparks burnt
red hot cigarette holes
in the threadbare rug,
fire’s rumbling heat
flew vengeful flames
‘round the kitchen table.
Roaring inferno heat
that seemed to melt
shaky hands, ashen face
came so close it singed
her tattered yellow sleeve.
Faster than flying fingers
across an old typewriter,
the torch spread fire
through the endless pages
of the writer’s creativity.

@Laurie Kolp

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 15

BT- "It’s not true that"
NaPoWriMo- twinning of opposites


It’s not true that…

echoes in the night bequeath my weary soul
heinous misconceptions haunt your memory
charcoal burns a valley through our love
thorns prick holes within my bleeding heart

…and I don’t miss you.

@laurie kolp

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 14

NaPoWriMo- A contemporary sonnet
PA- “Ain’t none of my business”
He Says It’s None of Our Business

The skunk sneaks and slinks through scattered trash

Furtively he gathers tidbits from each source

Trailing stenches strong enough to bowl one over

In gross disbelief. Bystanders scoop their chins

Off filthy floors, try to force rabid mouths

Shut. Harsh words drool empty promise puddles

To make things better for our sweet young kids

When all the pest really wants is more money

Green slime seeps through secret man-made cracks;

Dirty politics within the school district.

Concerned parents and taxpayers want to know

Why this man, the leader of the clan, hurls

Junk at them and acts like an unruly brat

Flinging rotten food across the lunch table.

@laurie kolp

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where's the Candy Shop?

I travelled to the state capital last weekend hoping for some homemade pie, but all I got were crumbs.

{Wedding decorations look like gumballs falling from the sky}

I was ecstatic when I discovered that Katie's Future Problem Solving (FPS) Annual State Bowl was the same weekend as Austin's International Poetry Festival (AIPF). At first I planned on tagging along with the school group. I could go to the festival during the day and spend time with Katie in the evening. How hard could it be to slip away for a few hours to attend a workshop or poetry reading? A week before the trip I was asked to chaperone, which would cover the cost of my hotel room. Of course, being the Little Ms. Economical that I am, I said yes. How hard could it be to share a room with my daughter and two other twelve-year-old girls? Then just two days before the trip, a parent I had never met or even seen before called me and asked for a ride. She would pay for half of the gas. Hmmm... I had to think about that one for awhile before I said yes. Before I could turn around, the weekend had begun.

Unfortunately, I did not make it to the poetry festival. Knowing that this gathering of famous poets from all over the world was going on somewhere within the depths of Austin away from our teeny tiny little corner of state-wide problem solvers was treacherous. Imagine taking a child to the Mall of America and not letting her go into the alluring candy shop where a vast selection of goodies awaits. That's how I felt. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the shopping trip; but I missed out on the sweet treats I had been dreaming of. Friday night we ate at the Cheesecake Factory, and I didn't even get a piece of homemade pie (it was after 11:00 and we were tired, full, and needed to get to bed). That thick slab of caramel chocolate cheesecake haunted me the rest of the weekend almost as much as missing AIPF.

I really could have used the sugar after my sleepless nights. Fortunately, I was blessed with a room full of sweet girls. In fact they were the cream of the crop. Girls will be girls though, which means a whole lot of talking and giggling. The chatter boxes opened each night at bedtime and continued until who knows when? Gab, grab (snacks), gab, grab; no wonder I was a crab. And the time they spent in the bathroom getting ready was preposterous! I could have made a trip to the candy shop and returned without them even knowing I was gone.

Speaking of trips, the drive was quite an adventure in and of itself. The lady who rode with me turned out to be a teacher and we got along, thank goodness. I felt sorry for her, though, because she had to put up with my trailing the school buses and stopping at nothing to keep up. I was flying by the seat of me pants, for I had no clue how to get to Austin. I had not visited since my crazy college days. I did have my GPS, but you know how I feel about those things (if not, click here).

On the way there, one of the bus drivers got a ticket. We had to stop and wait while the state trooper cited her for not changing to the far left-hand lane when she drove by. He was giving out a ticket on the highway's shoulder and didn't like the warm breeze, I guess. While we waited patiently, the other two bus drivers shocked us when they stepped away from their steering wheels and took a smoke break beside the buses. Great role models, huh? This hold up put us behind, as did lunch. As a result, we wasted time trying to save time. Out of nowhere, the school buses veered off onto a toll road that was not in the itinerary. They were trying to make it to the planned tour at Inner Space Cavern, but serendipitously discovered it was rush hour on a Friday evening. All the time we wasted driving around and keeping up with Old Yellow was merely a circuitous lap through the mall... ~sigh~.

So on the way back Sunday, I was not about to follow those darned buses; our daughters were belted safely in the backseat which meant we could drive at our own pace. There was one minor problem, though; all I had was the GPS, and we were not leaving from the hotel. We were leaving from a huge auditorium that was off the beaten path. We were somewhere on the outskirts of Austin when I punched the Home button. In seconds, the GPS told us which way to go, and we followed its instructions. The highway was a dirt path being worked on, with no mode of entrance. So we had to take a wee little detour. The road it took us down was deserted. We couldn't turn around. I felt panicky, and my guest was extremely nervous I could tell.

"I'll just call Pete and have him Google this. He can tell us if we're on the right path," I offered. She just looked at me.

Pete did not seem too surprised to hear my voice. After a quick computer check he told me that we would be okay, but we were still in the middle of nowhere. It was like something out of a horror picture, I tell you; driving down a deserted one-way dirt road with no signs of life or reassuring images on the horizon. To top it off, the GPS was telling us to turn around as soon as possible, but there was no way to do that. I kept chugging along on a hope-filled promise that we would soon reach something. And we did finally reach a little town. After the GPS readjusted, it told us the drive home would take eight hours, when it should only be four or five. That's when we got out the road map from my glove compartment and turned off that stupid thing.

Eventually the lady felt comfortable enough to doze off. The girls were napping, too. Without someone to talk to, I found myself falling into a dazed haze. Luckily I discovered a bag of sweets, but only cookie crumbs were left. I poured them into my mouth and prayed they would help me stay awake. They did. I replayed the weekend in my head as I knocked out the miles. I had a wonderful time with Katie, got to visit with my nephew and his wife, witnessed an outside wedding, and observed many strange occurrences and human foibles. I may not have attended the AIPF, but I sure did collect a wide assortment of pictures and writing/poetry prompts and ideas. I was happy with my box of chocolates.

We finally made it back to town four hours later; exhausted, but alive. There really is no place like home. I'm still coming down from my sugar high.

Day 12


PA- A form poem (haiku)
NaPoWriMo- Memory from an old photo

September 2005/ Hurricane Rita evacuation to Richardson, TX

on the edge of sanity
the hungry family dives
for bread crumbs

Monday, April 11, 2011

Magpie Tales Monday

Her Only Hope

Judging eyes bargain:
to see the truth at last
awaken, step out;
a quantum leap
from fish to fledgling.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 9

False Pretenses

A flock of females
They ogle and giggle
Chirps and warbles
Showy plumes teasing whispers
Hidden secrets pecked within
A bevy of kindred spirits
You can spot them everywhere
Birds of a feather stick together

@Laurie Kolp

Backwards poem *NaPoWriMo

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 7

Never Tease a Weasel

He had a breadstick for a nose
darty eyes, a moving head;
and when he chose to speak, y’all,
slimy sounds were often said.

The guys all called him Weasel
but his real name was Aumen;
a bunch of grapes a’taunting
beneath his pimpled chin.

Why would you tease a weasel?
All the girls would criticize
as they grabbed the sour grapes
flung them in the bullies’ eyes.

Each day to him Russian Roulette
a secret game he played at home,
and despite the animosity
Aumen answered with Shalom.

Until the day his mom caught on
and tried to intervene,
poor Aumen turned the gun on her
raging fire, putrid green.

Perhaps a scare would do the trick
it worked each time he played,
so he grinned and pulled the trigger
then screamed when life did fade.

@Laurie Kolp

*NaPoWriMo prompt
*Big Tent Poetry

Previous poems about Aumen can be found under the Big Tent Poetry prompts (days listed in Comments)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Red is for ~EEK!~

This is the story of the time my husband looked at me and screamed. Let me warn you, it is not a normal story. It begins in the present and moves backwards.

I had to buy a new lipstick today. It had been so long since I had bought one that I was amazed at the wide assortment of new colors.

Is lipstick becoming like nail polish? I wondered. Will younger generations wear blue, green and yellow shades of lipstick soon? Hmm... 

I carefully inspected each shade that I liked until my eyes landed on one in particular; bright red. And I mean bright. I stopped for a minute and then went on to select my usual light mauve color. I had to replace my favorite lipstick, and here's why.

As most of you know (click here if not), my family went to the fair last week. I know they must get so sick of me trailing behind them with my camera, clicking right and left, up and down. I always get teased about the wondrous moments I just have to capture on film. I've even witnessed my children making bets with each other AND THEIR FRIENDS on whether or not I'm going to whip my hair camera out.

When we were in the livestock section admiring the good-looking animals and listening to real life "oinks" and "moos," I was doing what I always do; lagging behind taking pictures. I decided to put my camera back in my dark knapsack so I wouldn't be tempted for awhile; but when I did, my favorite lipstick fell to the cow-poop infested ground, knocking the lid off. Of course, there was no way I was ever going to use it again, so I had to buy some new lipstick.

But I knew I could never choose bright red lipstick again, or I might just scare Pete. Way back when we were engaged, we were getting ready to go somewhere very important (but I can't remember where). I happened upon an old lipstick in my evening bag. It was as red as a beautiful cardinal against newly fallen snow (my fair complexion).

This will be perfect with my black dress, I thought.

I carefully lined my lips just so and filled them in with the sparkling delight. Pete was waiting for me in the other room, calling for me to hurry up or we'd be late. I finished up, kissed a tissue to dab it a bit, and pranced out with my slinky bag in tow. I knew Pete would be surprised by my outfit, I had fixed my hair just so. Maybe he would whistle or something.

What I didn't expect was a scream.

Pete saw me and screamed, I kid you not. I screamed back. Was there a bug on me? I looked down at my body, my shoes, the rug. I inspected my arms closely, swished my face. I hopped around like an Indian around a campfire. Pete simply stood there looking at me. Soon his expression morphed into an impish grin which quickly grew into a chuckle and then outright hilarity as he watched my melodramatic debacle.

"What? What's wrong with me?" I sputtered.

"Nothing, really. I was just taken back by that red lipstick."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Coincidentally, more chocolate...

Unaware that I wrote about the candy from Germany and shared it on my blog, Pete comes home this afternoon bearing... more chocolate from overseas. This time it is from a coworker who has no idea about the blog thing. He is from Turkey and just came back from visiting. While in the Istanbul airport, he picked up some Swiss chocolate for us. He also brought us this small souvenir, which when translated means "What makes the flag is the blood on top of it. What makes the country is the willingness to die for it." Notice how my silly child/husband put bite marks in the bottom left corner.

A Heavenly Surprise

Yesterday it rained chocolate from heaven. An angel showered me with sweet blessings. I can say that because I believe special friends like Linda, the one who sent the treats, are earthly angels; and where the chocolate came from, Germany, seems almost like heaven to me (at least it's far enough away).

It's funny because Linda had just asked me that morning if I had gotten any surprises lately, because she had the inside scoop of something good that was going to happen to me. Of course, my writing mind jumped to publication, and then even higher to honors. Did I finally break a deal? Had I won the Pulitzer Prize? I soon came off my purple cloud and realized this wasn't a dream. But what could it be?

I had no idea I would find out a few hours later. I came home from running errands and this box was on my front porch. Had I looked closely on the outside of the box, I would have seen "chocolates" written on the bottom; but instead I rushed inside and cut it open with my green scissors. Not only did Linda send several different kinds of rich, flavorful German chocolate, but she also included three Easter eggs for the kids.  Inside the hollow milk-chocolate egg, which was lined in white chocolate, there was a surprise- a plastic Easter egg with a toy inside. Pictured below is what the kids found.

We had so much fun experimenting with the different flavors and sinfully splurging the night away. Since we can't read German, we had no idea what we were biting into, but each piece of chocolate was (and still is) out of this world... heavenly. I can't wait to see what the next bite brings. Wait a minute, I'll try a taste for you. Here's the little chocolate bar:

...excuse me while I take a bite (I love how it comes in little squares)...

...yum! It's solid chocolate (thank goodness it didn't have caramel in the middle because on an impulsive whim I gave it up for Lent).
Thank you dear Linda for your friendship, support, humor, and love. Thanks, too, for the heavenly delight... you are an angel! And the surprise is better than anything I might have conjured up in my head; nothing tops a gift from the heart.

Day 5

Bad Hair Day

A little wisp of blonde hair
flies through the gentle breeze,
an aftermath of a light drizzle
that put a damper on our plans.

This wild ponytail straggler
line dances back and forth
like a metronome keeping time
or a persistent child nuisance.

The former bangs escape bondage,
bobby pins can’t keep them down,
tickling my eyes and nose;
tousled rebels with no cause.

Repeated hand sweeps avail me not;
the daunting wind won’t let up.
I surrender to the peer pressure
and set the rest of my hair free.


No, Only Wounds

Wounds run as deep as the seeds that plant them. I find myself hiding behind their scars. Fear imprisons my inhibitions, a loss
which freezes my dying soul. The candles I lined on the path to my room, pure as vanilla drifting on high; no halo do they produce, only darkness; no peace do they bring, only niggling. I am buried under mounds of regret; no sunshine do I see. I want to grow, to live again; yet I am a tree stump. Will you ever forgive me, let it go? Only then will I blossom and flourish, burst through the soil and bury my wounds.

@Laurie Kolp

Monday, April 4, 2011

NaPoWriMo prompt

pwoermd-- a one-word poem:


Jingle Poetry

Cherishing Children

There’s something magical about night
a mother’s sweet satisfaction knowing
the children are all tucked into bed~
innocent evening prayers offered,
goodnight kisses showered over tender
skin holding on tight to that last hug,
knowing all too well the calm will end
and one day troubled teenage monsters
will howl away the quiet times, dreamy.

*Jingle Poetry

Magpie Tales Monday

Photo from Magpie Tales


Vitreous eyes-
lachrymal view, tainted
windows closed mind.
pure, wholesome outlook
acceptance, open
stained-glass windows.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Come One, Come All to > Language > Place Blog Carnival

Webster's Standard Dictionary defines carnival as "a time of merrymaking; a local festival; a traveling show."


Thanks to the money won at the women of maritime's annual Bingo night, our family was able to go to the South Texas State Fair this weekend. We stuffed our faces with shrimp-on-a-stick, turkey legs, corn on the cob and funnel cakes. We tiptoed around mounds of cow dung and caressed Pygmy goats. Of course the rides and side shows occupied a great deal of our time, as did the bucking horses and mesmerizing cowboys during the rodeo. Everyone was able to find something they liked at the fair, and they were sad to leave until next year.

Did you know there is another kind of carnival?

It travels around the web, landing at different blogs from all over the world. It offers entertainment for all who enter. Visitors will want to come back for more, and they won't even have to wait a year. Plus, it's free.


> Language > Place Blog Carnival just released edition #5, hosted by Parmanu. I am so happy to announce that I am part of the show. Yes, I have joined the circus. You can read my previous post "... and then there was a phone" in room 19. My good friend from Germany, Linda, has a spot in room 12. Please stop by and enjoy the show.  This one is free.

Sweet Emporium of Death

Might I die one night in May
when Candy Land heaven caves,
bubblegum rainbows hail pelts at me
and a tsunami of caramel waves?

If perchance I find myself
drowning in taffy quicksand
while staccato Red Hots titillate,
would you Snicker or lend me a hand?

The world you say would lack my sweet
tooth yellowed not now but later,
and I would miss boxed chocolates;
powdered sugar’s reward is greater.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Catching up with NaPoWriMo prompts

Day 2:
Postcards from a Poetry Forum

Dear Achates,

Hearts are smoking; it’s not a peace pipe
Fettered fuses collide, ridicule and gripe.
May you be so kind as to lend me a book,
One offering wisdom with merely a look?



Dear Anonymous,

Among the books found on my shelf,
Robert’s Rules of Order speaks for itself.
Something to live by out on the street,
Emily Post’s Etiquette entices aesthete.
If esteem’s what you want rather than libel,
Then take love’s advice etched golden; The Bible.

Yours truly,

Day 1
RED: A Tanka

Viscid blood sprays ire,
Venom spreads with the mound;
Vindictive fire ants.
A bed burning, whelps on skin-
Tread softly through Poe's hot mind.


The Rodeo’s Star

Stiff cowboy dudes popping wrists back in place
Bleached blonde groupies lacking grace

Wearing skin tight jeans and clingy tees
They flock the livestock like irksome fleas

Horse-bucking, calf-roping, bull-riding for show
As the spectators laugh, my jaw drops below

The stands uncover peanut shells and spilt beer
I start to wonder why the hell I’m here

Until the lone clown jump-bumps with a car
Emblazoned amusement, I delight in the star

Friday, April 1, 2011

Together Forever

I stood in the pristine mezzanine
watching the show unaware, beware
I was the main star, vain gar
trying to manipulate, capitulate
life’s unending tune, soon
I sat down, closed my eyes, lies
no more could I take, a break
I looked up, abrupt
and saw the director, protector
reaching out his hand, grand
finale unknown; peace, release
and that’s what got me here, we’re
in it together… forever.

@laurie kolp

Today’s prompt from:
Big Tent--Standing on a balcony with a famous person
PA-- What got me here