Author Archives: lifelessons

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

Found Poem



I was looking for another poem that I wrote but have never published or put on my blog. I couldn’t find it but instead found this poem that I wrote four years ago. Seems as though it would qualify for this prompt!!  It’s actually a true story. When I was at the beach a few years ago, I had a house right on the beach and it got so I never knew who I would find on my porch when I woke up in the morning. 

Found Poem

One and  two and three and four.
Four little music makers pounding on my door.
One beats a rhythm, one toots a horn––
wild and sweet––sort of forlorn.
One hums a tune behind his teeth––
a sort of descant underneath
the melody on the steel guitar.
The gulls reel in from near and far
to add their screams to the refrain,
then fan their wings, silent again.

Four musicians at my gate.
I wait for their music to abate.
Then I go and let them in
to add my music to the din.
I sing my lyrics fast and slow
first soft then loud, my lyrics go
up and over the drums and horn–
out into the sandy morn.
Over the rocks and out to sea,
setting all our music free.

When the drummer leaves my porch,
he leaves just three to loft the torch.
Too soon the horn, too, fades away
but the hummer’s here to stay,
and the steel guitar swells out to fill
the morning air until until
the morning fades into full sun
and our melody comes done.

Soon guitar and singer fade,
their morning share of music made,
and I fold my songs away.
I’ll bring them out some other day.
With music left behind I wind
only words around my mind.
They weave their spell with me along.
I lose myself in their noisy throng.
Wander aimless, round and round,
in getting lost, this poem is found.


For Fandango’s Dog Days of August Challenge: Something you Found.

Chapala Diary, Page 1 (The Covid Art Challenge.)

Friday, Aug. 7, 2020

At the beginning of the Coronavirus Sequestering period, I issued a challenge for people to create an art piece that chronicled their experiences during this time. Go HERE to see that challenge.The idea was that we all started out with the same materials, then added what we wished to to come up with an art piece that chroncicled these first stages of our isolation. Four friends accepted the challenge, but I’ve only received photos of their work from two. I’m going to be blogging their photos over the next two days, and if anyone else has photos to submit, please do so now.  Below are the photos of my completed project.

(Please click on the first photo to enlarge it and read the story of my Covid Vacation. Clicking on the next arrow enlarges the next photo and gives more of the story.)

My photography session over,  we’ve all moved from the studio to the gazebo. I’m in the hammock and Diego is rolling around and growling on the grass. I’ve never been able to figure out what prompts this. Is it pure kidlike glee or a bee sting? If it is bee stings, he’s a slow learner because he’s been rolling in the grass and growling for years and yet he still tries to catch bees in his mouth every time they venture near, which is the second reason for the bees depicted in the Covid-19 memorial Retablo. Now it just needs a wooden frame and it is complete.

Tomorrow, a depiction of another piece from my Covid Challenge–that of my friend Candace’s piece. If anyone else accepted the challenge and has photos to send me, hurry hurry.

Bad Fortune

Bad Fortune

A superfluous excrescence  to our sinking ship of state,
of all our past mistakes, I’m sorry to relate
that this uquiet jester is our biggest flub to date–
a fact that many voters cottoned onto way too late.
But if you seek a formula for change, there’s no debate.
Vote this fool out of office before he seals our fate!

Prompt words today are quiet, formula, jester, excrescence and past.


The Lowest of the Highest by Default

The Lowest of the Highest by Default

He was a homeless jester, a contentious feisty gent.
He shed a sense of triumph everywhere he went.
No amount of scorn and no superior air
ever contradicted his shabby debonair.
In a stovepipe hat, overalls and a tux jacket,
he played his mobile xylophone, making such a racket
that folks rushed out to pay him just so he would quit.
He felt no sense of shame in this, for he took pride in it.

He had the perfect racket. He felt he counted coup—
raking in the dough for what he didn’t do.
He had a fridge crate penthouse on a tower labeled Trump.
(Also a little pied á terre across town at the dump.)
Highest of the highest and lowest of the low—
his main address  the finest though he had so little dough.
The key up to the rooftop he had scored out of a pocket
right after the janitor had gone up there to lock it.

He snitched a maintenance uniform and in the helter-skelter
of a tenant’s moving day, filched his plywood shelter.
It made a perfect domicile obscured in a back corner.
As a joke, on its front cornice, he wrote, “Residence of Horner.”*
But he dragged it to the rooftop’s front when the day was done
and had a view of city lights that was second to none.
You may think that he’s a shyster and the building’s lowest resident,
but only since the former lowest tenant became president!


*Little Jack Horner sat in the corner eating his Xmas pie.
He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum and said, “What a good boy am I!”

Words for the day are homeless, contentious, jester, amount and triumph. Image by Donald Teel on Unsplash, used with permission.

A Little Bird Told Me: Thursday 13

A Little Bird Told Me


For the Thursday Challenge we are asked to make a list of thirteen things, our choice. I am listing thirteen questions I would like readers of my blog to answer. You can either do it on your own blog with a link to my blog or in comments on my blog. Since turn about is fair play, I’ve answered them myself.

1 What could you do with an artichoke rather than eating it?  I would dry it and put it in a flower arrangement.

2 What is the strangest name you have ever heard and what is your association with it? Illgemara Lillcox. It was the name on a fake i.d. I borrowed in college. 

3 What is the most embarrassing thing your parents ever did? We took a two week car trip when I was 12. Actually, about everything they did at that age embarrassed me, but what bothered me the most was that they sat in the front seat and held hands for most of the trip. Also, my dad knew he embarrassed me so he made it worse by making funny faces and walking oddly when we would walk down the street in towns or cities. I would walk as far ahead of them as I could.

4 What was your most unusual pet? A raccoon. And a mole.

5 What is your most favorite holiday and why? I like Christmas because I love having the Christmas tree up for three weeks to a month. I like the lights and when I have the energy, the nacimiento displays that I put up.

6 What is your favorite footwear and why? My Croc sandals because they are so comfortable and so easy to get in and out of.

7 What is your most irritating habit? It really irritates people that I have no irritating habits.

8 If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Where I live, in San Juan Cosala on Lake Chapala in Mexico. If that is cheating, I’d like to live in Florence, Italy for one month. Dolly can come visit!

9 What is the most unusual place you have ever visited? Lalibela, Ethiopia. It was so remote and beautiful and I was the only American living there. It was home to 13 underground churches carved out of the solid stone of the mountain. An amazing place.

10 How did you meet your spouse or significant other? At a poetry reading. I heard him read and knew he was the man I was supposed to marry but I didn’t meet him at that reading. A few months later I was giving a reading where he was in the audience and he came right up to me afterwards. We were married a year later.

11 Who do you most admire? Michele Obama.

12 If your pet could name you, what name would they give you and why?  Patsy. For obvious reasons.

13 What is the most romantic thing that ever happened to you? I was in a very third world country and was going to meet my lover but there was no way to communicate with him to tell him when I was coming, yet when I got off the plane, he was waiting for me with an armload of flowers. I asked him how he knew I was coming and he just smiled and said he just had a hunch. Later his best friend told me that they had met the plane with flowers every day for a week. That night we went to dinner at a little hotel that had a small garden but there were no flowers in it. The hotel had given him permission to pick flowers for me and over that week, they had picked every one!


Visiting Grandma


Visiting Grandma

If you must go on an escapade, be sure to take umbrellas.
Do not talk to strangers and do not flirt with fellas.
Why put on all that makeup? Your natural look is best.
Why would you wear a bustier when you could wear a vest?

Pick locales you know are safe. Just go to ones near churches.
Beware of stuff that falls from planes and pigeons on tall perches.
You may think your gallivanting is the stuff of dreams,
but the world of adventure is not all that it seems.

Why not choose daylight hours to see what you can see
and once the sun sets, stay at home, here with gramps and me?
I’ll make a pan of fudge and then we can play Parcheesi.
This town’s not nice at night. It’s very dark and way too breezy.

But if you simply must go out, mind the bottom stair.
Is that funny little outfit the one you’re going to wear?
Put toilet paper on the seat when you use the loo!
A key? Oh, you won’t need one.  We’ll be waiting up for you.

Prompt words today are umbrella, escapade, dream, locale and natural.