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27 Comments

Birthdays; Cherished Memories Revisited

Paul swinging in the sunshine. PHALL PHOTO 2008

Paul swinging in the sunshine.
PHALL PHOTO 2008

I originally posted this just after I started my blog, and again in 2013, but I wanted re-post it in honor of Paul’s birth date this year. Paul loved celebration, surprises and family. I remember this last birthday before he was diagnosed with leukemia. We lined our merged five grand daughters up on the couch and took pictures. We so loved our little girlies :>)

Paul is/was a Leo and loved being in the lime light on his special day, okay, on any day. He was very quiet about his pride of place, but if you knew him well, loved him, you could see the glow of it in his bright blue eyes and that smile…

I gave him this 3-D NASCAR card that he kept next to his chair for months; he’d never seen anything like it and I think he loved it better than his actual gift. He loved getting gifts, but that was nothing compared to how he loved finding the perfect thing for someone special. He was very into the drama of giving gifts.

We went out to eat with friends 3 times a week and one of the places was at the local casino. While waiting in line, you pass the gift shop. We’d often have our friends hold our place in line, while we looked in the display cases. I’d oooh and ah over the pretty, shiny things, then we’d move back into the line waiting to get in for dinner.

That Christmas, I had a lot of gifts in all sorts of shapes and sizes. By the time all the gifts were opened, I saw what he had done. He used his casino points and bought me every piece of jewelry I had made noise about at the gift shop during the past year! Crazy guy. Thankfully, he also bought me a jewelry armoir to put it all in.

Enjoy…

A Piece of Our Story in Poetry

This is a piece of our story; the man I knew. This was written for his birthday, 11 months before cancer entered our lives.

20 Aug 2007

Paul teased me about writing a book for him, instead I wrote this poem for his 60th birthday.

Book of Paul…

He is everything wonderful that I ever needed,

handsomely wrapped up in one big tender man.

His rolling laughter leads to coughing fits;

spitting up water and vitamins,

and then falling off the bed!

A prankster to his core,

full of special surprises for all.

A memory-maker, his camera always within reach,

he records the Kodak moments of our lives.

His cards & gifts & little notes come from the heart,

and always meet their target.

He loves easily and deeply…

his children, grandchildren, his friends & me!

He would love to be a millionaire,

but he lives well, and is generous with what he has.

His tastes and beliefs are “traditional”,

yet he has an open mind and can embrace the non-traditional,

except food, of course!

He loves Taco Time, NASCAR, animal shows,

Funniest Videos, Cops and bad sci-fi movies.

Every day he says and does funny or special things for me,

he can calm me with only a look, or a touch.

He wants us together, no matter what,

and turns every errand into a “date”.

He acts crabby sometimes,

but just below the surface is a joke or a prank or a smile.

He notices the little things,

and always says “thank you”.

For a T-shirt and jeans guy,

he sure is a clothes horse!

He gives hugs and touches often,

he sings seriously and dances with a laugh.

Happy Birthday… With All My Love,

Patti

Sorry about the quality of this photo. I snapped it on my way out the door. This is Paul’s part of a little alter I have in my beach cave, for all those we’ve lost the last few years.

P1140494


19 Comments

Book Review: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

 

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
Dog Songs
by Mary Oliver

Patti Hall‘s review

Sep 22, 13
Recommended for: Lovers of dogs, pets, poetry and nature.
Read from September 20 to 22, 2013, read count: 2

I won an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Dog Songs through a Goodreads and publisher book giveaway.

One of my best friends turned me on to Mary Oliver several years ago, and I have been hooked ever since. Mary’s poetry is clear, concise and loving to the small things in this world that many of the rest of us simply overlook. If there is any uncertainty in her writing, it is about something that she notices and then questions. Otherwise, you will find no ambiguity in her words.

About Dog Songs? You are going to love it! Mary’s new book begins with a puppy, of course, and then we learn all the things that she (and most of us) love about dogs. She says that the thing these furry friends have that we humans just don’t, their secret ingredient, if you will, is steadfastness.

There are so many places in this book that I smiled, laughed and teared-up. While Mary shows the many nuances of these animals, she also shines light and love on their connection to our own species. She adds word to word, sentence to sentence, to offer up another poem that shows our bonds; dog to human, bound in pure love.

Mary doesn’t hide reality under the rug either. Dogs aren’t always that cute, they have gross and annoying habits, and they (sadly) have relatively short life-spans. While you read, please notice the way Mary touches her dogs. It is subtle, but do you feel the reverence?

It’s all here, in this little white book. The beautiful pen and ink illustrations by John Burgoyne are as clear and concise as Mary’s words. There’s nothing overly sweet, silly or gushy in her words, yet the dog songs may make you feel that way.

I am surrounded by gushy dog-lovers. Almost every person in my circle is a gushy dog-lover. I am not. I am a plant-animal-bug-tree-sky-water-lover. And not gushy at all. I do hear all of their songs though.


17 Comments

Summer In Alaska; A Fishy Tale

Patti fishing in Alaska
Patti fishing in Alaska
This was written for a story prompt at The Community Storyboard here. It combines experiences from several summer trips to Homer, Alaska. Need to study up on formatting poetry on WP…Also, since I wrote this off the cuff and in a hurry, let’s just call it a draft? :>)

It’s a promising morn, as I see from Outhouse Hill,

I rock in the swing and sip coffee to ward off the chill.

All is sunrise quiet on little Peterson Bay.

There’s Marie at the oyster farm unpacking to stay.

I take the lush green path slowly to make the morning last,

Then detour to pick blueberries for my impromptu breakfast.

We bundle up, grab cameras, snacks and bait,

Captain Honey calls, “Hurry, it’s getting late!”

He goes first to the shore and pulls in the skiff.

I climb down the steep metal stairs, feeling old and stiff.

From skiff, to dock and onto their boat;

This procedure is new for me, for them it is rote.

Captain throttles down and away we go!

Goodbye Peterson’s Bay and Halibut Cove.

The boat, she’s made special, out of stainless steel,

Loaded with all we need, including more than one rod and reel.

The co-pilot, The Mrs. (my sis), is a long time veteran of this—

how far, how deep, how many and what kind of fish.

On the far shore we see a baby bear and perched eagles.

Then Gull Island; cormorants, puffins and a million sea gulls.

I sit in back and watch the rooster tail as the boat splits the water,

I see all kinds of birds diving or floating and, every so often, a playful otter.

Soon I see the Homer Spit and Land’s End as we speed by,

I’ve never deep sea fished and I’m anxious to give it a try.

The loud noise of the engine and the wind in my hair,

My butt is freezing on the cold metal box that I use as a chair.

I’m excited and happy after so many months of grief,

And I’m determined to have fun, no matter how brief.

The engine finally stops and here comes Captain Honey,

He tosses the anchor, as the day begins to turn sunny.

Thirty miles out and I have beginner’s luck,

I catch the biggest and the most; at least that’s the story that stuck!

At one point, we were moving to a new spot and off flew my hat,

Mrs. Captain Honey reversed and the Captain netted it—imagine that!

Sis is a pro at this fishing stuff and also stronger than me;

She helped hold my rod, while I reeled in a fish…or three.

I’m giddy as we reel in halibut and cod,

And even a clown fish, which looks really really odd.

Sis and I are reeling them in left and right and I hook a big skate with wings,

Captain stopped fishing to gaff our catches, cut bait and do other important things.

Out of nowhere, in the middle of all that the blue,

There’s a spout of water…then two!

After that we soon spot the tails,

In no time at all we’re surrounded by whales!

I can’t get over it; I watch until they swim out of sight.

Now we’ve caught our limit and we’ll feast tonight!

Settling in for the long ride back to the cabin,

I’m sorry my visit will soon come to an end.

The boat points to Katchemak Bay as we go,

I’m in the back looking in amazement at an active volcano.

There’s a huge white plume, against the blue,

Over to my right are the other two.

Volcanoes and glaciers make this a special place to be,

But better than that, is the time I get to spend with my family.

Patti Hall 2013


21 Comments

Birthdays; Cherished Memories Revisited

Paul swinging in the sunshine. PHALL PHOTO 2008

Paul swinging in the sunshine.
PHALL PHOTO 2008

I originally posted this just after I started my blog, and again in 2013, but I wanted re-post it in honor of Paul’s birth date this year. Paul loved celebration, surprises and family. I remember this last birthday before he was diagnosed with leukemia. We lined our merged five grand daughters up on the couch and took pictures. We so loved our little girlies :>)

Paul is/was a Leo and loved being in the lime light on his special day, okay, on any day. He was very quiet about his pride of place, but if you knew him well, loved him, you could see the glow of it in his bright blue eyes and that smile…

I gave him this 3-D NASCAR card that he kept next to his chair for months; he’d never seen anything like it and I think he loved it better than his actual gift. He loved getting gifts, but that was nothing compared to how he loved finding the perfect thing for someone special. He was very into the drama of giving gifts.

We went out to eat with friends 3 times a week and one of the places was at the local casino. While waiting in line, you pass the gift shop. We’d often have our friends hold our place in line, while we looked in the display cases. I’d oooh and ah over the pretty, shiny things, then we’d move back into the line waiting to get in for dinner.

That Christmas, I had a lot of gifts in all sorts of shapes and sizes. By the time all the gifts were opened, I saw what he had done. He used his casino points and bought me every piece of jewelry I had made noise about at the gift shop during the past year! Crazy guy. Thankfully, he also bought me a jewelry armoir to put it all in.

Enjoy…

A Piece of Our Story in Poetry

This is a piece of our story; the man I knew. This was written for his birthday, 11 months before cancer entered our lives.

20 Aug 2007

Paul teased me about writing a book for him, instead I wrote this poem for his 60th birthday.

Book of Paul…

He is everything wonderful that I ever needed,

handsomely wrapped up in one big tender man.

His rolling laughter leads to coughing fits;

spitting up water and vitamins,

and then falling off the bed!

A prankster to his core,

full of special surprises for all.

A memory-maker, his camera always within reach,

he records the Kodak moments of our lives.

His cards & gifts & little notes come from the heart,

and always meet their target.

He loves easily and deeply…

his children, grandchildren, his friends & me!

He would love to be a millionaire,

but he lives well, and is generous with what he has.

His tastes and beliefs are “traditional”,

yet he has an open mind and can embrace the non-traditional,

except food, of course!

He loves Taco Time, NASCAR, animal shows,

Funniest Videos, Cops and bad sci-fi movies.

Every day he says and does funny or special things for me,

he can calm me with only a look, or a touch.

He wants us together, no matter what,

and turns every errand into a “date”.

He acts crabby sometimes,

but just below the surface is a joke or a prank or a smile.

He notices the little things,

and always says “thank you”.

For a T-shirt and jeans guy,

he sure is a clothes horse!

He gives hugs and touches often,

he sings seriously and dances with a laugh.

Happy Birthday… With All My Love,

Patti

Sorry about the quality of this photo. I snapped it on my way out the door. This is Paul’s part of a little alter I have in my beach cave, for all those we’ve lost the last few years.

P1140494


46 Comments

The Measure of a Man; In Memory of Paul, Aug 20,1947-Aug 9, 2009

Paul 2008 PHALL PHOTO 2008

Paul 2008
PHALL PHOTO 2008

 

The Measure of a Man

What if a man lives his life full of purpose, reason, and love?

He makes it through childhood, the teenage years, and young adulthood honoring his parents, serving his country, and with loyal friendships still intact.

He carries these tenets of honor, service and loyalty as he falls in love and makes a family; joining her children with theirs.

He takes fatherhood seriously and works hard to build a home, hold down a good job, and then they form a business of their own.

He serves his community as a firefighter; 24/7, one emergency call at a time, for 30 years.

He remains conscientious, believes in hard work and big dreams, he has friends from every walk of life; for he is no judge of others.

He is quick with a joke or a prank, which surprises those who are fooled by the grumbly, growly side of him.

He appreciates beauty, whether in nature or man-made. He is an inventor, thinker, builder and mechanic.

He thinks 5 steps ahead of the game; always planning the next move cautiously.

He grieves deeply his losses; viscerally shaken by the pain of losing his wife, the mother of his children. Though he will carry this pain to his own death, after a time, he rallies his forces to continue on the way.

He is set in his ways and has something in common with mules, though love can bend him her way if she tries.

He forms a new love, which quickly becomes an unbreakable bond.

He spends several years living, loving, and laughing with his new love; they have grand babies together! They make dreamy plans to retire on the Snake River and ride their jet boat!

What if they spend a year fighting for his life? They spend precious moments beach combing, laughing, crying and adjusting their plans for his illness, then for his recovery; and also hazily planning for the worst, while stridently hoping for the best.

Then the day still comes when the doctors tell them that nothing more can be done to save his life.

All she asks is one more miracle—he’s been tossing them around all year long—just one more, please.

During his last weeks, tucked into their own bed, we hear story after story about how his courage and strength this past year has changed so many lives.

What if a man lives his life, and even his dying, full of purpose, reason and love?

Shouldn’t he then be called, not perfect, but a king among men?

Patti

Poem written July 2009,