Coffee Break · Personal

#WeekendCoffeeShare — 18/19 June 2022

Be sure to visit the blog of our host Natalie the Explorer for wonderful photographs of murals in downtown Toronto, Canada: 5 Colourful Murals To See.

blue wild grass flower next to a tall grass stock with opening flowers.
Blue Wild Flax and Grass Flowers

Welcome! This has been a hectic week, and I am looking forward to relaxing in the rocking chair for a good, long while. I enjoy a coffee latte and very dark chocolate. Made a new batch of coffee concentrate for the coming week. I’m drinking some and calling it supper. I’ve plenty enough to share … even if this were not a Virtual visit. Stocked up before the bad weather arrives.

Al has gone out, again, to shop for semi-soft cheese to disguise Thaddeus’s pain medication. He had two teeth removed on Wednesday, and he does not like pills. We bought soft, prescription food to feed him until the sutures dissolve. Still waiting for an appointment to be made available for Charlie’s tooth cleaning.

* * * * *

Some weekends do not go as planned. The two-hour co-working gathering (Liz Danforth Makerhouse Meetup on Zoom) was enjoyable and productive. I got a lot done; not everything I had planned to finish, but also some tasks that popped up to be taken care of instead.

The online Poetry Heals Zoom workshop (poetryheals dot org) this past Wednesday was the last online gathering for a while. Hiatus for now planned for July and August. The local/in-person events are the focus during the summer. The website has downloadable prompts and exercises available for personal use. I am wondering if I want to add that sort of focused, stress-relieving activity to my weekly poetry writing. Lately, the activity on Ronovan Hester’s site has slowed down, and so there are fewer participant poems to read for the Monday Haiku and Wednesday Sijo challenges. I think it might be useful for me to develop a writing routine that includes therapeutic or introspective writing (à la Naomi Wakan, for example).

My in-person activities out of the house are pretty much limited to pet care and my now less frequent but necessary ventures into health care settings. Al is pretty much doing the shopping and banking, while I remain sheltered. Spring and summer bring various pollen allergies and other irritants that keep me mostly indoors and away from people. I need to build in more routine activities that involve interacting with people as I can, which seems to be on the Internet.

I am taking more seriously the possibility of working on my handwriting, again. I think better with the keyboard, but regaining handwriting abilities might also broaden what I write about. I don’t know if a tablet and stylus would do the trick. I should buy a pen and try writing on paper with ink and pencil.

In the transition from the colder, more comfortable seasons, I think it would be worthwhile to find some different activities that still don’t cause balance or breathing problems. I mean, it’s a large world with a lot going on that doesn’t demand sounds of media or physical presence.

Again, I have spent not enough time seeing to household management (or playing with the Scamper dogs). I am now feeling much less put upon by the routine. The temperature is still, I believe, above 100° F outside. Perhaps a rousing game of “Chase the Tennis Ball”?

I hope you’ve had a lovely week!

Best wishes,

P.S. Moving on from the Collegium books to Lackey’s Alberich’s Tale series.

Coffee Break · Personal

#WeekendCoffeeShare — 10 June 2022


Hard to believe that this week has gone by so very fast. I feel like I haven’t accomplished even half of what I had planned on. Instead, the wild flax flowers and the tulips have bloomed, and my hard drive is cluttered with unfinished text files and photo art in progress.

In the midst of it all, I have gotten a resupply of a variety of hard and semi-soft cheeses and corn and gluten-free crackers to go with them. The tea can be reheated, or I can make instant coffee with the latest batch of Toddy coffee concentrate (cold or hot, milk or filtered water). Fresh fruit in the fridge. My husband’s been on a fruit and green salad binge for months now. We are eating a lot of the same foods, now, which is nice.

If we were enjoying a coffee break together, I would show you the moveable wood shelving on wheels that Al repaired (new bottom shelf, replaced the broken wheel, refinished the shelves). With this spring’s clean-up week, we disposed of the classic cassette tape library that we have not used for nearly thirty years. Our CD music library is now coming out of boxes to take their place. It is a compilation of my favorites gathered over the decades, some of Al’s, and many jazz and classical discs from Uncle Jesse’s music library when he died. I will like having the emptied boxes removed from the living-room floor.

Still working my way through the reread of Fukuyama’s Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. I was right, I think, that Identity and Liberalism and its Discontents are easier for me to understand when I take the two works as volumes one and two.

I have written a fair number of poems since last week. Lots of them are quite short, complementing my and others’ photos and my own photo art. Generally, I really have not done much of anything. Scrubbed out the kitchen sinks, kept up on laundry, read a lot of poetry and books. I finally got an appointment set up with the clinic for my semi-annual checkup (but I canceled the January slot). Mostly, though, it has been flowers and photo art. As much time as I spend barefoot on the flower garden’s borders, I really need the tetanus booster I should have had in December.

Al’s birthday comes around later this month, and he really wants to go out to dinner at a restaurant. I am uncertain, in that the distancing protocols seem to be no longer in place, here. Also, I enjoy the conversations, but I really do not like the food.

And the rest of the weekend got away from me. It is now late afternoon on Sunday. I will leave you with a few flowers from earlier in the weekend.

Best wishes for your week! Hope to stop by your blog!

Hugs & much love,

Be sure to drop by the blog of Natalie the Explorer for wonderful walks and photographs: Corktown Common and Don River

Personal · Photography · Weekend Coffee Share

In my garden #WeekendCoffeeShare

blue wild flax flower with raindrops
Eyes Wide Shut

Good morning! The tea is hot, and the cheese and crackers are looking good, this time of the day. (I can offer you Toddy coffee, with or without milk, if you’d prefer. A fresh batch of homemade coffee concentrate is in the fridge.) The Scampers dozing on the loveseat, and all is quiet, again. We did wake up in time to enjoy an early dawn outing in the back yard.

The weather has turned warm, this week, and I have spent a lot of time out of doors, taking photographs of the tulips and finally the blue wild flax flower perennials along the south side of the garage. I also saw some more hover flies, although singly, attending the open flowers. I have seen almost no pollinators until now. Also, only two spiders and no webs.

This has been a cold, wet spring that almost hasn’t been. I am happy to report that the seepage really has been quite minimal for a flood year, and the dehumidifiers in the basement have been working well to keep the humidity down. The floodwaters are not under control everywhere, yet, but we are hopeful that fields across the state can be seeded in time to produce crops for fall harvest..

While my writing, this week, has been minimal (think “photographs”), I did contribute to Ronovan Writes Monday (haiku) and Wednesday (sijo) poetry writing challenges. And caught up on the ones that I missed. Also, this week the first Wednesday of the month was June 1, and that meant the Zoom poetry workshop through Poetry Heals from seven to eight o’clock, Central Time. Quite a lively time of it, this week. Met and interacted with some new-to-me folks. Afterwards, I did a bit of rewriting and found photographs to go with the two poems that I wrote independently during the workshop, which are on my Quietude blog: “Playing with Words“.

Got a lovely package from Laura Anne Gilman: one of the paper galleys for her book Uncanny Times, which comes out later this year. (I support her work through Patreon at a tier that includes that benefit … the coffee stain was an unexpected embellishment.)

Friday evening, I attended the third of three poetry readings via Zoom of the short poem section of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association 2022 Rhysling Anthology (an annual publication of SFPA member-selected favorite poems to be voted on by members). Got my votes recorded before the June fifteenth deadline. On to the long poem section! Votes for the longer poems are due in August. There is talk of making the online readings an annual event, and I am in favor of that.

With the progression of the seasons, I still am feeling restless. Sleeping a lot during the day and waking in the middle of the night (five o’clock, this morning with my alarm set for nine o’clock).

I hear a stirring in the next room, and so I am going to wind this up. Natalie, our host for Weekend Coffee Share, has posted her blog post for this week: Five Easy Walks to Cool Off (with a lovely selection of photos along her way), and you will also find an InLinkz link party app with links to other participants in Weekend Coffee Share.

Hugs and best wishes,

Coffee Break · Personal

#WeekendCoffeeShare — 29 May 2022

© 2022-05-27, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Thank-you for stopping by. This is a week when I have welcomed interactions with people, including a lovely 90-minute phone call with my sister in New England. I put aside my plans for the week, pretty much, and a solid week of impromptu activities. And not using the alarm clock and napping often.

The weather was fairly dry, but for a few showers in the night. Promises of more rain for Sunday and Monday. I enjoyed Liz Danforth’s Social gathering (via Zoom) on Saturday afternoon. Relaxed and relaxing, a smaller group with easy conversation and good feelings. In the morning (Sunday) I’ve meeting for worship to look forward to with a social time afterwards.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and part of Saturday evening taking care of the laundry. Clean bedding for people and dogs. I trust that later on Sunday, I can take care of what’s in the laundry hamper. I understand that lots of trips up and down the stairs is good exercise. Speaking of which, I did get the gazebo cleaned up, the rest of the foam blocks out of the open rafters, and using the stationary bike after dusting and straightening the accumulation of items that were put there for winter storage.

I hope to maintain a relatively spontaneous group of activities during the coming week. I bought a recent Elementals novel by Mercedes Lackey, whose writing I have enjoyed since decades past and another Valdemar anthology for which she was editor. I preordered another of hers, months ago. I also preordered Laura Anne Gilman’s latest book.

I did catch up on the Ronovan Writes Monday Haiku and Wednesday Sijo poetry challenges, the last on Saturday morning. Sometimes, poems are not ready to be written. I go with the flow;

Hugs & best wishes,

P.S. Natalie, our Host for Weekend Coffee Share, has posted her blog (with participant links) at her Natalie the Explorer blog: Loving Life in May 2022.

nature has no words
for friendship or loneliness
silent raindrop tears

copyright © 2022-05-29, by lizl bennefeld.
after the rain
Coffee Break · Personal

#WeekendCoffeeShare — 22 May 2022

Copyright © 2022-05-21, by Lizl Bennefeld. All rights reserved.

Welcome! I apologize for the mess. I have spent some time playing with the options on my Coffee Break blog, and I’m not set up for company. Time and days have gotten away from me.

My surprise for the week was the blooming of my Poet’s Daffodil, which bulb was given to me by an acquaintance, quite a few years ago, because it never produced a flower for them. I am surprised to find that the daffodil did not give up through the nights of Frost Advisories and maintained through many misty, cold, rainy days. While a few late blooming tulips are coming along, now, the bulk of those more luscious varieties are coming to end of season.

Next on the list of flowers to appear, besides the multiplicity of wild blue violets and buttery dandelions, are the longer lasting wildflowers. We have the blue wild flax to look forward to. My favorites of almost all the wildflowers! I have some few thick patches of flax plants, and I expect that the flowers will come along in a week or so. Last year there no Common Evening Primroses with their long-legged spiders waiting behind each open flower for an unwary bee or fly. Another favorite of mine is the “butter and eggs” flowers, which grow in the north corner of the back yard. They will come along a bit later, if the ground is not too dry.

butter and eggs

This week has been interesting also as I got deeper into Francis Fukuyama’s Liberalism and its Discontents (10 May 2022; Farrar, Straus and Giroux). I read Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018) too long ago, and I feel like it belongs/fits closely with Liberalism. I have set aside the Liberalism book to read Identity, again. I expect to get a clearer picture of the whole.

I am still having some problems with breathing, but I have surrendered to the need to nap when I can and write when I cannot sleep in the middle of the night. Yes, I do wish that winter would return! I must reschedule my medical appointments before we get too deeply into June. The Scampers are to have dental appointments, once days and times can be confirmed. They are enjoying the great out-of-doors. Rolling in the grass and sundries and chasing the rabbits around the back yard.

I am running out of time, and so I must drop this and move on to evening chores and rituals (i.e., puppy time). Best wishes to you for the coming weeks!

Hugs & much love,

P.S. Check out (our host) Natalie the Explorer’s blog post What Stories Do These Trains Tell? for a marvelous post (again) this week. I am particularly fond of towns and railroads and their histories, and I look forward to spending some time on her site, next chance I get. We had commuter trains running through the smaller towns and villages, when I was a child, carrying people from home to work, and back again at the end of the day. The fare was inexpensive, and I often snuck away during the summers to visit the big city and ride up and down the escallators.

Coffee Break

Rinse … Dry … Repeat …

"Still Within Rain"

Rain begins slowly, faint drizzle,
as though arising from the ground, not
falling from the sky, whose clouds are
so high above that one would not
connect them with what happens now
so far below.

Standing awestruck in these warm
and heavy drops falling, a huge
thick shower stretching to my face 
and feet from shower-heads as far
above me as, now quite cold, the edge
of space itself, a shower sent by 
the Spirit of Space, of Earth, of All, 
to wash me and the whole earth 
Clean. Refreshed. Renewed.

The rain ends as the sun appears
to warm the ground and that sweet
breeze that gently dries the grass
and flowers and trees, rain-heavy air
and me. Light and fluffy breezes
like soft scraps of towel, feeling
on my skin just slightly reminiscent 
of that first soft, gentle, loving 
kiss of rain.

Copyright © 2015-10-21, by Liz Bennefeld. All rights reserved.

Finally, a bit of sunlight between rain showers. Forecast for tomorrow? Thunderstorms, again!

Photo by lilartsy: Water Droplets