Saturday, July 30, 2011


Guess what lovely little insect has taken up residence in the walls of our home?

Yep, this guy: the subterranean formosan termite.



Turns out, the formosan is a special termite, not native to our area. It hails from Asia. And they are hungry little critters capable of doing significant damage FAST.

And all those ground treatments they do for regular ol' termites? THEY DON'T WORK.

So. Bummer.

Fortunately, Terminix is a really excellent company that values its customers. They have offered us an option so that we don't have to bear all of the expense (holy goodness, expensive! AND intensive!) of repairs - even though it wasn't part of our original policy. LOVE it when the corporate world does the above-and-beyond-we-care-about-you thing! And now our policy DOES include protection against these eager interlopers.

Friends in the southeast: does YOUR policy cover the formosan?? Trust me, you don't want these visitors.

Anyone else have termite stories to tell?

Friday, July 29, 2011


Just wanted to share a tiny poem (that's really huge) for Poetry Friday. I wrote it this morning after a prompt given to me by fellow writer and friend Sheila.

Sixteen Words for Love

Ablaze now,
I give you
raw snowmelt,

this ocean
is our map.

copyright 2011 Irene Latham

For more poetic goodness visit Kate at the Book Aunt for Roundup!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


1. Blogs More specifically, youngest son's blog. His first, created by him and him alone, all in the past week. It's inspired me to work some on THIS blog, to snazz it up a bit. In fact, I might just hire HIM to do it for me!

For the curious-about-the-11-year-old-male-mind, here's a link.

2. Binders Yes, indeed, it is back-to-school time. And my guys are VERY TOUGH on binders. We have learned from experience to buy only the ones marked Heavy Duty. Trouble is, these sell out rather quickly. Which means I've got to get to on it. And fast.

3. Boots Yes, it's August. Yes, it's miserable-hot. And yes, I am thinking FALL/WINTER. This is the year I want to buy myself that great pair of cowboy boots. There's a pair I am craving over at one of my favorite places: Sundance. But I'm still shopping. So if you've got suggestions, bring 'em on.

4. Plays As in, plays written for the stage. Thanks to oldest son's summer reading list, we, as a family, have this week watched OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder and THE GLASS MENAGERIE by Tennessee Williams. OUR TOWN has long been a favorite, But I've not been a big Tennessee Williams fan -- until now. Maybe it's an age thing. But I certainly enjoyed the movie. And it's a reminder to the writer in me to STUDY SCRIPTS. Wow.

So that's me. How's your Thursday?

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Behold July's bounty:

Not from my garden, but from Pat's and Mama's and Carl's and Yuko's. The house smells like home, what with the scent of green beans cooking in the pot all day. (Holy goodness, Pat! That was a MESS of beans! Will be freezing some of them.) For supper I will bake some cornbread and we will feast.

Thanks, friends!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Today I am writing a poem about a hummingbird.

Turns out, hummingbirds have often been an source of inspiration to poets -- from Emily Dickinson to Robert Frost to Mary Oliver. Not to mention the lovely HUMMINGBIRD NEST by Kristine O'Connell George. Which makes it a daunting subject to tackle. I mean, what can I possibly say that hasn't already been said?

Instead of being intimidated, I choose to be inspired. Especially when I read this one by Pablo Neruda:

Ode to the Hummingbird

The hummingbird
in flight
is a water-spark,
an incandescent drip
of American
the jungle's
flaming resume,
a heavenly,
the hummingbird is
an arc,
a golden
a green

you hover
in the air,
you are
a body of pollen,
a feather
or hot coal,
I ask you:
What is your substance?
Perhaps during the blind age
of the Deluge,
within fertility's
when the rose
in an anthracite fist,
and metals matriculated
each one in
a secret gallery
perhaps then
from a wounded reptile
some fragment rolled,
a golden atom,
the last cosmic scale,
a drop of terrestrial fire
took flight,
suspending your splendor,
your iridescent,
swift sapphire.

You doze
on a nut,
fit into a diminutive blossom;
you are an arrow,
a pattern,
a coat-of-arms,
honey's vibrato, pollen's ray;
you are so stouthearted--
the falcon
with his black plumage
does not daunt you:
you pirouette,
a light within the light,
air within the air.
Wrapped in your wings,
you penetrate the sheath
of a quivering flower,
not fearing
that her nuptial honey
may take off your head!

From scarlet to dusty gold,
to yellow flames,
to the rare
ashen emerald,
to the orange and black velvet
of our girdle gilded by sunflowers,
to the sketch
amber thorns,
your Epiphany,
little supreme being,
you are a miracle,
from torrid California
to Patagonia's whistling,
bitter wind.
You are a sun-seed,
a miniature
in flight,
a petal of silenced nations,
a syllable
of buried blood,
a feather
of an ancient heart,

For more poetic inspiration, visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. I'll be at my window, watching and writing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


My mother lives just outside the charming town of Monticello, Florida. So, on my recent visit, we decided to "do" Monticello.

Here we are, happy to be together.

Turns out, everything there is to "do" in Monticello can't be done on a Monday. We drove up to one antique store after another only to find a "CLOSED" sign. We admired the historic Wirick Simmons house and bemoaned the fact that we couldn't get in.

And then we went into the drug store. When we told the cashier about our predicament, she said, I know just who to call.

Not thirty minutes later we met members of the Jefferson County Historical Society for a private tour of the house! And it was lovely. Aren't small towns THE BEST??

Here's Mama with Eric,one of the best travelers EVER.

The yard outside the house was so very Florida. The soil was sandy, and there were magnolias and live oaks and palmettos. And palm trees of course!

And here's a close-up shot. I wish I had taken an even closer-up shot -- love how those palm trees have that bristly hair-looking stuff growing amid the latticework you see here.

Inside the house we found other treasures, like this dress that the wearer had a hand in at ever stage of creation: homegrown cotton spun into fabric; fabric dyed and cut. dress sewn by hand. Whoever the wearer was, she had that classic t-tiny waist. (And probably a really strong corset.)

This doll made me think of Ludelphia:

Love this old clock!

Most of all, I love my mama. It was so wonderful to spend some time with her. We're already making plans for a return trip, on a weekend, so we can get inside those adorable junk shops. Can't wait!

Oh, and if you happen to go: eat at The Rare Door restaurant and try the hummingbird cake. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


A few years ago my friend Foster Dickson wrote a book called I JUST MAKE PEOPLE UP: RAMBLINGS WITH CLARK WALKER.

Clark is an artist from Montgomery, Alabama. I love his work. And I love his words too. Consider this:

"You could paint forever. You could paint and paint and paint on one painting for five years, and you might not even like it. But people don't know the struggle and the agony that goes into painting. Sometimes paint will come right off the end of your hand, and it'll be wonderful. And other times, you fight with it until you don't know what to do with it, and you're still pushing that brush, and you're still trying to get it to -- and it's all sort of abstract in your mind. You don't know what you're going for. At least for me, because I'm not painting any - I'm painting imaginary things, I create people and create situations. Not all the time. I have painted portraits, and I have painted the still life, but I like to invent, I just make people up. To make the world the way I want it."


It's a gorgeous book. Thank you, Foster, for taking the time to record an important story. And to you, Clark, for telling it!

Friday, July 15, 2011


She's 8 months old now. Loves to play fetch and patrol the yard. Barks at thunder. Plays with our cat Maggie. Wags her little nub tail. Leaps and flips and bounces with that long, lithe body. Chews and digs and licks.

She's the perfect dog. Really. And today, for Poetry Friday, I'm writing a poem about her.

Don't forget to visit Mary Lee at a Year of Reading for Roundup!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


This month in one of my most favorite magazines, there's an article by Larry Gallagher called The Compassion Instinct.

Gallagher reports on research that shows that people who can develop the ability
"to feel the pain of others via compassion can lower stress levels."

Turns out, there's also a direct relationship between people's reported happiness and their ability to practice compassion.

So how do you practice compassion?

The article suggests using an internal dialogue taken from Resurfacing: Techniques for Exploring Consciousness by Harry Parmer (Star's Edge Creations)

Look at a person on the street or across the room or behind the counter and remind yourself that that person is just like you:

He or she is looking for happiness

is trying to avoid suffering

has experienced hardship

and is trying to meet his or her needs.


When you feel slighted or hurt or put out, it's good to remember that for the most part, we're all doing the best we can. Which means that sometimes we are going to mess up and cause injury. It happens. Better to move forward with that sense of understanding than to blame or wallow or resent.

Anyone else out there feeling your stress level dropping at this very moment?

Monday, July 11, 2011


Some facts:

The only Harry Potter book I've read is HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE.

I enjoyed it and especially thought that first chapter was something to strive for in my own writing. (I mean, The Boy Who Lived ?? How awesome is that??)

But. It felt too complicated to me, with too many characters and plot lines. (I like a simple story.) So I did not continue on with the series.

I did, however, buy the books for my children.

Unfortunately, like mother, like sons. None of them read past the first book.

For the third boy (who hates to read ANY book), I bought an audio version. The British accent and language had him boucing around like he'd been bee-stung before we finished chapter one.

So I donated the audio version to the school library and sold off the rest of the books on ebay.

Fast forward to summer 2011: my sweet friend Lori who is a major Harry Potter fan invited me to go to the midnight showing of DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2.

I declined and confessed to being horribly behind on books AND movies -- having only seen the first one. And then I thought, hmmm, no better time to remedy the situation than with the final installment due in just weeks.

So my husband and I decided to do a Harry Potter movie marathon (which for us means a movie a night, because, we have this tendency to, shhh, FALL ASLEEP), and Lori oh so thoughtfully and generously offered to allow us to borrow her copies of the films.

And now I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE HOW THIS THING WRAPS UP! I feel completely invested in these characters and am confident I've got the plot lines straight in my head and certainly have my own hopes/suspicions about what's to come.

Plus the trailer makes me teary-eyed.

And to think I've only really known these characters for a week. I can only imagine how all those uber-fans are feeling as this series comes to a close. Sadness and happiness all entertwined.

Here's the trailer in case you've missed it:

I won't be at the midnight opening-night showing, but we WILL get to it this weekend. Can't wait. And I'd love to hear about YOUR relationship with Harry, if you're willing to spill!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Tomorrow I will pick up two boys from camp(where online pics reveal they've had all kinds of fun), and deliver the third to a bus that will take him and his cross country teammates to a distance running camp in North Carolina.

I love the ever-changing days of summer because they bear no resemblance to the monotonous school year.

I'm just sad that it's disappearing so quickly. Just one month from today is the first day of school for one of mine.

One month!

Makes me want to plan some home-stretch adventures.

So. My summer is a revolving door. For Poetry Friday, I challenge you to come up with a metaphor for YOUR summer!

And don't forget to visit Roundup at Wild Rose Reader.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Debra's post at Four Angels Momma on the Casey Anthony verdict made me want to write a post of my own.

First, I should admit that I haven't followed the court case AT ALL. I try to avoid news as a general rule, but I do read the headlines on my internet home page. Sometimes I even click through for more details.

I haven't done that once with the Casey Anthony trial.

I don't know if she had any part in her daughter's death and can't speak of evidence or lack thereof.

All I know is that a child's life ended too soon and for no reason.

I also know that I have always considered motherhood to be one of the greatest blessings in my life. Like Debra, I cannot imagine waiting 31 days to report my child as missing. Most moms I know are super-caring and take the task of motherhood very seriously. They make sacrifices, they do the best they can to meet the needs of their children -- many times placing those needs above their own individual needs.

There are all sorts of ways to do motherhood right, so many paths to being a responsible parent raising responsible children. We all put our individual stamp on it, and that stamp shifts and changes as we learn and grow and the needs of our children change.

I've always believed that motherhood is the most important thing I will ever do in my life. Motherhood is my opportunity to make a difference in the world. Like the bumper sticker says, MOTHERHOOD IS SACRED.

And this is not to say that those who aren't mothers don't have their own important life journeys and opportunities. I just know motherhood is mine. I am so very grateful for the experience -- hardships and all.

And so I'm sad today for that little girl who will never grow up. And I'm sad for Casey Anthony's mother (and father) too. Look at what they have endured in the name of parenthood. So much grief.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Why, you ask?

It's an "I" word, like Irene, so that's cool.

And hello, colonialism?? Not for me.

FREEDOM, baby. That's what I'm talking about! I like to make my own choices.

Hope your 4th of July is filled with things that make you happy.

And if you need a good YES story, check out my post at SmackDab in the Middle entitled "When YES is Not Quite Fireworks." (The monthly theme is on our biggest YES moments during the publication journey. Good stuff!)

Friday, July 1, 2011


Question for those who love words:

Is there a better name than novels in verse for these books with short lines that may or may not be poetry?

There MUST be.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Because I adore books in this format. But I think "novel in verse" sets the expectation for poetry. And I don't think many novels in verse actually ARE poetry. Nor do they need to be.

And really, if you want to chase the mainstream reader away from a book, tag it with "verse" or "poetry." I'd love to see a new name emerge!

Meanwhile, here's what's waiting for me:

THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder. Have been waiting and waiting for this one! Lisa's YA books are always so romantic... can't wait.

And SONG OF THE SPARROW by Lisa Ann Sandell. Not sure how I missed this one, but it's from 2007. And it's a take on the Arthurian legend, which I lovelovelove! VERY excited to read.

For more poetic goodness, visit Andromeda for Poetry Friday Roundup!