The Last Balloons

It’s a big week for me. I’m celebrating my 55th birthday. I am very happy and grateful for all of my family and friends, and one in particular, my beautiful friend Bree, the kindest person I know. Despite dealing with pain from a recent surgery, she and her two girls went to multiple stores to find helium balloons and deliver them to the party because I asked for them. Balloons make me happy.

And they are the last balloons I will ever ask for.

Did you know that there is a world-wide helium shortage? Helium, although abundant in the universe is difficult to find and harvest on Earth. In addition to balloons and making our voices squeaky, helium is a component of medical and aerospace technology, and electronics.  From now on, if I want a balloon, I’m going to have to have to rely on lung power. The other reason to eschew balloons is that they are tough on the environment. Like plastic, they are not biodegradable and can kill wildlife who find and eat them.

You know what is biodegradable? CAKE!


The cake was delicious. Two of my guests helped me by cutting and serving the cake and one of them gave me a BIG piece. I managed to eat it all and I’m glad I did because a funny thing happened on the way home from the party. I live in an apartment  and  use a wheeled cart to bring groceries and stuff in from the parking  lot. I had gifts in it, but the box with the leftover cake would’t fit. It sat on top. I had the balloons firmly in hand, as they whipped in the wind. I was doing fine until I got to the curb. Was it the wind? Was it my foot? I don’t know. But the box flew and landed on it’s side. The leftovers were piled against the tire of a neighbor’s car. Sigh. But I’m not mad about it. Everyone who wanted cake, got it. Some of it went home with guests. And there’s always more cake to be had – Just like birthdays!

balloons after
PS: It rained in the night which washed away the evidence. #gratitude!

For more reading:

Spooky Forms

Just in time for the Halloween season, this haunting image from the IWH Weekly Haiku/Senryu Challenge will inspire your dreams!

An Upside-Down Tanka

Get a roommate, they said.
It will be fun, they said.

The rent is cheap
But he has no boundaries!
Tired of the webs.

A Senyru

This dream is not real.
I will not manifest it.
Afraid to wake up

The Submission Call

Have you been called — tempted or teased — to submit your work for possible publication? Have you done it  —  or are you ignoring the voice because of fear? I’m not going to lie to you. It takes work. It’s scary. But there are rewards! You can win or lose (a contest); you can get accepted or rejected. But when you put yourself and your work out to the world, you declare powerfully: I believe in my work. I believe in myself.

Hippo cheerleader supports you!

Hey,  you know that anthology of poetry I told you about, The Heron Clan? We’re accepting submissions of poetry for volume 7 through the end of November.  How about submitting some of your poems?

Yes, I am on the selection committee, but don’t worry. We read the poems blind. We’ve already received over 200 poems so make sure you’re submitting your best work. How do you know it’s your best work? Aside from checking and rechecking spelling, spacing, and sparkle (!) try looking at it with the eyes of an outsider. Here’s a link to the poetry critique checklist I use in workshops. It might help.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments, or email me at Good luck.

Heron Clan Call for Submission Guidelines

  • Submit 1-3 poems as an email attachment. Include all poems in one document, separated with a page break. Please use a standard 12-point font. Title the document with your name but do not include any biographical information in the document itself.
  • There is no restriction on theme or style.
  • Include poem titles and 100-word bio in email cover letter.
  • There is no fee to submit.
  • Poems must be in English.
  • Contributors receive one copy of the anthology, and the opportunity to buy additional copies at cost.
  • Please indicate in the cover letter which poems have been previously published, along with the appropriate acknowledgment (publication name and date). By submitting previously published work, you assert that you have the necessary rights and permissions for the work to be republished.
  • Submission deadline is November 30, 2019.
  • Email submission to Doug Stuber, editor,

Bee Encounters

A few weeks ago I found this quote in a meme on Facebook. I loved it and shared it to my feed, because, bees!

I remember when I used to see a bee and go, YIKES, a bee! And now I’m all, oh wow, a bee. Hi! You ok there? Need anything? Can I get you a drink? A cushion? Wanna borrow the car? (@tracy_thorn, She’s Magic & Midnight Lace)

Anyone who has been paying attention to the decline in honeybee population and who knows how vitally important these marvelous creatures are to our food supply and quality of life, probably gets it.

About a week ago, I had a bee encounter. I was just about to get into my car when a bee buzzed around my head. I wasn’t afraid. I’ve never been stung because when they’re around, I stay calm and still until they move on. This one was really close and taking its time. I felt wings, or maybe feet (?) on my cheek. I spoke to it quietly, calling it sweetheart, thanking it for visiting and asking it to please move away from the car door because I didn’t want it to be trapped in the hot car with me. And then it left.

Last night I watched “Jupiter Ascending” starring Mila Kunis as a young woman who finds out she’s the genetic reincarnation of intergalactic royalty.  It’s a great space opera with a little bit of romance and enough CGI destruction and fighting to make everyone happy. When Jupiter finds out she’s royalty she has an encounter with bees. They swarm around her and move with her as she waves here arms in a delightful dance. Sean Bean, one of her alien helpers  tells her, “Bees are genetically designed to recognize royalty.

I thought about my recent bee encounter. I’m not saying I’m anything special, but I decided I needed to write a poem. Since I seem to be in Haiku land lately, here’s what I came up with.

Her wings brushed my face
A fuzzy buzzy flyer
Honey maker’s kiss

Bee happy folks!

Postscript: I checked with a friend who is a writer, teacher and beekeeper. The bee that visited me would have been female, so the haiku has been modified!

Haiku Challenge

One of the best things one can do as a writer is to encourage other writers. Being creative, as all artists know, is both a joy and a challenge. We all need inspiration and I found some today from Pat at e-Quips who wrote three haiku in response to this:

I Write Her Weekly Haiku/Senryu Challenge #30

Here are the two I came up with.

We are both angry
Your hairy eyeball and lips
won’t make me back down.

I need a chainsaw
to open my lips and heart
to say “I love you.”