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.

Stink Think


Stink Think

Scotch broom makes me nauseous. Roses make me sneeze.
I abhor the scent of jasmine on an evening breeze.
Room deodorants should be banned, as should scented candles.
I’d rather smell my brother’s sneakers or a vagrant’s sandals.

Now that we want each thing to smell like something it is not,
there’s a different odor on everything we’ve got.
There’s perfume in detergent, in dryer tabs and soap.
Scented toilet paper makes we want to mope.

Unscented’s getting almost impossible to find
It leaves allergic folks like me in a real tight bind.
Gardenia in my hand lotion or chamomile or peach.
Hairsprays  smell as fresh as air or like a summer beach.

Floor cleaners smell like forests of freshly gathered pine,
as though without this pungent scent our floors would smell like swine!
These odors leave me gasping and running for some air.
Their vapors make my eyes run, causing much despair.

I do not want my table waxed with lemon or “fresh scent.”
I believe that everything should smell as nature meant.
I’ve done a lot of research, and  I’m fairly sure
that perfumes out-stink everything they’re meant to obscure!


The prompt today was fragrance.  I found at least five old poems about fragrances and odors.  Here’s another one that goes waaaay back. Image of Scotch Broom from the internet.

back when we were baby birds

back when we were baby birds

feeding each other
cold spaghetti worms
in grass clipping nests
empty summer stretched in front of us

stale plastic wading pools
pressing yellow circles
into grass
that smelled like wet bandaids

during a game of hide-and-seek
dust bunnies behind the chest
full of old prom dresses
in the upstairs hall

mouse droppings
in the basement
pits from sour cherries
scattered on the back steps

scraps of soggy paper
dried into small sculptures
under the weeping willow tree
revealing part of each original message

mommy is . . .
. . . ate my cookie
I hope Sharon . . .
my doll doesn’t . . . your doll . . .

summer just an empty cup
we filled each day
with the long summer rains
of daydreams.


The prompt today way fragrance. Since I have to leave soon for the first day of Campamento Estrella. I’ll post photos tonight.  For now, here’s a poem I wrote so long ago that I’d totally forgotten it.

Bougainvillea in Evergreens: Flower of the Day, July 23, 2017

I’ve know bougainvilleas to grow to the top of huge Norfolk Island Pines here.  These are regular pine trees, but they were still pretty high up.


For Cee’s Flower Prompt.

Fallen Limb: Sunday Trees 297, July 23, 2017


A combination of wind and rain did this obviously dead limb in after a recent storm. Looks like it might have caused a few electrical outages as well, but luckily not at my house!

For the Sunday Trees prompt.

Sweet Harmony

Two years ago, when I visited friends from my childhood that I hadn’t seen for scores of years, we had a wonderful time  going through a box of mementos and then gathering around the piano to make  music as sweet as the memories.  Susan is a wonderful pianist and Karen a professional-level singer with a lovely soprano voice that always sends chills down my back.  Patti and I, good high school altos that we once were, created the harmony.  A perfect day with three of my favorite people whom I don’t see often enough.  Sweet Harmony for sure.

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Small Reunion

The pianist deftly presses out her chords.
The soprano’s voice slides smoothly from her throat
while we others strain until “Dear Heart” syrups our vocal chords
and we slip with less effort up and down the scale—
old friends singing even older songs.

The small dog snuggles in,
balancing on the plush chair back.
The mother of the pianist and the soprano
observes from her frame atop the piano.
All husbands out and about on other business.

Old letters reread, old memories pulled from forgetfulness,
each of us is left at the end richer—hearts refilled
from a shared past. Every word
has been a song of its own—
our notes blending together
in perfect harmony.

The prompt today was harmonize. This is a rewrite of a piece blogged two years ago. I’m getting ready for Camp Estrella so there won’t be much time for blogging for the next week!  

Water Lily: Flower of the Day, July 22, 2017


The little pond at the Lake Chapala Society was covered with these gorgeous blooms the other day.  Probably still is, with koi stitching their curvaceous seams in between.

For Cee’s flower prompt.




It is the appetite we wrap our skin around like clothes—
that we push down but that squeezes out around us
in spite of our best efforts—
that appetite we run from and run to.

It lies waiting for us
behind the cold glass windows of stores,
coils in our cooking pots
and curls out in their steam.

Appetite sits under the Christmas tree
wrapped up in red paper and green ribbon.
It is the appetite of the Barbie Doll and the erector set,
the jigsaw puzzle and the bouncing ball of the jacks game.

It is the appetite
that lies dormant in our gonads,
jumps in our semen,
sleeps in an egg.

It vibrates in a vocal cord,
trembles on the fingers of a lover,
swims on the tongue of a nursing infant,
catapults off the slingshot of a seven-year-old boy.

Appetite kinks out from the curling iron,
chews itself from the tips of our fingernails
and spins itself from our feet
during a jungle rhythm or a southern reel.

Appetite pipes from the end of a flute
and shakes off the edges of a tambourine.
It is sealed in a tube of paint,
carried by a brush to the canvas where it dances its own dance.

It is appetite that hides in our computer keys
and in the tips of the fingers that tap them,
appetites lined up on our paper
where we have assembled them in unaccustomed order.

They are what bring us here,
these appetites that can never be catalogued or collected in their entirety—
our appetites better presented in a brown paper bag,
jumbled like penny candies, tumbled over each other like in a junk drawer.

Appetites that can never fully be defined
or neatly wrapped up in a moral or a surprise ending.
Appetites that can never be satisfied,
because our appetites want everything,

and gaining everything, reach out for more.


The prompt today is dormant. The prompt word today brought something up in me that has lain dormant for many years.  That is, this poem which was actually written in a MUCH longer form twenty-five years ago. “. . .that lies dormant in our gonads” kept running through my mind, and although I knew I had written it, I couldn’t remember where.  Finally, I did a search in my poetry file and found this poem. The original I submitted to a national poetry competition and won first prize for.  The judge said it was for my pure audacity in submitting a poem that took 12 minutes to read!  I published it in a shorter form two years ago in my blog, but even that tightened poem was probably too long for most viewers to read. At any rate, here it is in its newest and shortest form–a poem from within a poem, where it has lain dormant for twenty-five years.