e-20/20…Trump this

Ha ha. This is the online English class my daughter must complete to graduate from high school. I thought she had perfect vision going into it. Maybe it was more like….I had a vision for her. The plan: study digital media at a trade school in the morning, drive 50 miles back home to serve lunch to high school students, go to drama class and LDS seminary, train for swim team, be a student body office, and last but not least, complete e-20/20. She did all of these….. until some shoes fell from the sky and hit her in the head landing her in Camp Procrastination. Now she finds herself feeling like a ZERO, eating onions and digging herself out of one helava helamonster hole which she occupies with one Stanley Yelnates. ONLY 250 + perfectly executed quizzes to go over the next 70 wonderful whopping school days. She is not happy these days.

Today my students learned about the US Constitution, and branches and roles of government. I had a fake Declaration of Indepence, purchased in Philadelphia, at the Constitution Hall gift shop. We read and wrote retells, asked questions and interpreted a bar graph that showed percentages of voter turn-out for US Presidential elections over the last fifty years. The big IDEA being, that voters elect a President every four years and the next election will be e-2020. “Do you think “he” will build the wall?” asked one child. Do you think “he” will build the pipeline at White Rock?” asks another. I shrug. ” I think the pipeline is ongoing,” and then I produce a pewter Colonial dollar-piece purchased at Valley Forge ten years ago. The coin is cut into about 20 pie piece slivers. “That’s fractions for you!” I add. Before I know it the day has turned to night. It’s time for bed. In a few sleepless hours it will be e20:20, or time to make the morning drive to school to teach another 8:20 a.m. math lesson on time conversions.  No telling what treasures await us at the little school on the ledges.

I say my prayers, including one for my brother in law who had a laser eye procedure today to restore his eyesight to e-20/20. All of this e-20/20 business is freaky. I half expect to see Richard Quinonez walking through my front door questioning, “What would you do if you were asked to be the next elementary Art teacher?” Then my burley-okie pal shows up in a puff off magic smoke and yells from the dreamscape, ” Get it in writing, Rosie!” and she paints the pink and purple, peeky-shoulder mural for goodness sake!”

I wonder if I will ever sleep again. At 3 am, I’m up, fully grateful for bookmaking classes, STEM, and diagrams of fourth grade fossils. It won’t be long til Spring equinox, and not long after that …. the sleep of Summer! Yay! Just you try to trump that!

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Half-Life, Seeds, and Silver Apples

Have you created anything really lovely lately?

Something that made your heart smile

or caused it to break

for the love of…or longing for


From the Sound of Silence, I’ve arrived in half-life,

Knowing happiness is fleeting. Forgetting how to find it.

Like pen to paper, I Learned Life is what I make of it,

Full of failures and successes

Until the pencil grew too small to hold then the lead broke

Joints aching from work and waking to smudges of meaning.

Resigned in the end to smile,  grateful just because I  could

be…grateful to be writing

from loneliness, to be heard and held in a moment

by a Universe conspiring in my behalf.

Writing… just for the fun of it, for the play of it, for the “done” of it.

For the ever-friending presence of it.

wishing for clearing,

Hoping a Muse (taking Musinex)

will sneeze and blow away the SAD inversion?

Ink for inkling

Song for singling

Gratitude and JOY beyond a Sunday prayer journal.


You were my Muse, Mentor and friend.

Sometimes I wonder, still, not understanding what there was, or wasn’t,

or might have been between us.


What was behind the wet paint,

flurries brush of cat tails

a winking shutter and lens cap,

the distant silent absent,

sound assurance, and present

certain letting go

I held with all I had

tagled in tangentsencies, not understanding God’s Plan,

or Why I do or don’t belong, but must stay on,

I choose to breath and keep on going.


a fluttering kite with flight plans

head in the clouds like Chicken Little

or Alice

searching for a God  to fear and love

but whom I’ve made too small,

I splay my elf owl wings, unfolding one small red umbrella feather

I hope to God that planes won’t bomb, or engines

smash my sleepless bed-head

I dial up a salt lamp for addiction

lunge dizzily a pseudo feeling Smart phone

It’s 3 am again, like clockwork

breath and force myself to sleep cuz its a work week

Maybe I want to be that tired tenured teacher

who hangs a smile in hopes of raising test scores, not seat sores,

who levels up the C report card ffor an average bell curve ringing district


I do….and don’t…..and just won’t have the chance to prove it in that old way


And all the while I’m haunted by a film I’m forced to watch in syndication

as if it were another pill to take, here in this fear sick state

The Four Agreements make so much more sense to me

than Donnie Darco, NRA, and gun debate.

I swear Darco is schizophrenic ten times over.

My son claims that he’s not

says, “Shut up and watch!”

I’d rather dream a new dream with the children


I wonder what you’d say about it.

Maybe you’ve created something

warm and springing streams of …Lovely

light and lilacs

or penned some perfumed words like  Lewis

or labeled something Godly in a

sketch book.

Perhaps you’ve sailed the sky, or North Pacific, or climbed Olympic Mountain vistas

Someday perhaps you’ll share a picture story with me

that all the children knew so well

I told you once in confidence, some of my bests were written for the children.

Who would have thought an email could be more than dull school diet

just lower than the angels

Your words and winging(s) were

a heart beat

superhuman in terms of pulse and action poetry.

I drew an apple yesterday while Aslan purred and spoke of healing.

The lambs drew imagery among the silver apples, and oats and ivy

This was my ten year plan for growing trees and children:  Creative thinking

and soon again

this is the path I will be taking

not looking back on all of this  Confusion


Alchemy in tears and new spun strands of silver

while trying not to spill the spoon of oil in all my racing.

I think on smiles and tears and passing years and places

I watch the happy, struggling children cross the field and cross walk

What will become of them?

What will become of me

as I am plucked

from all I’ve known and all I’ve done for years

long gone the truth,

I just can’t dare believe it yet.

my greatest fear…rejection

believing all the while I’m indispensable….a lie I keep for feeling safe

I don my reading glasses for the


concealed,, I carry Jesus on my heart

a silver apple hangs for me

up there beyond the reach and glint of Summer Light

I see your smiling eyes

they’re picture perfect proof

there’s Heaven on Earth







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Plowed Parking Lot

I’ll trade this black old for white gold! Hooray! It’s starting to snow! Up to 30 inches expected overnight in the ski resorts along the Wasatch front and back! Prepare for the onslaught Park City, Utah! (Fingers crossed)

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Remembering the Opera Years

Tonight as Delanie and I were giving each other foot rubs and watching prime time television, we saw some of the most amazing interpretive Olympic couples ice skating I have ever witnessed.  As I was caught up in the “spirit” of the games,  I found my mind drifting back to a seven year period of time in which I facilitated Opera by Children in my classroom.  I am grateful to have been part of this miracle gifted by Utah State University, Utah Festival Opera (founded by Michael Ballam), and blessed by so many other helpers dedicated to the Arts in our school.  I miss seeing the children’s faces light up at curtain time and witnessing their growth in so many ways that standardized testing can not measure, as they imagined and created their stories, librettos, musical scores, dances, scenery, costumes, and more. Here are some of the scenes and themes my children explored during our seven year run:  1.) an activist classroom lobby for more recess for animal students, 2.) a junkyard clubhouse to safeguard feral raccoons, 3.) a mission to Mars by Secret Agents of Outer Space amid civil war between Freeze-ray Vampires and Lava Monsters, 4.)  an attempt to save a failing Dazzle City Casino from the spell of an evil magician (We were forbidden to include the words “Las Vegas” and “gamble” in the writing and performance. Hmmm. Welcome to YEW-taw!)  5.)  a time warp from a high school homecoming football game into a mysterious land of Wizards and Vikings, 6.) Doping at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio by a vengeful Lance Livestrong  which resulted in a surprised bearded gymnast and a high speed tricycle chase through the audience, 7. Drought, death and  unprecedented change due to railroad expansion and westward disruption of Native ways  and wisdom.  This was the only serious opera  produced in the 7 years. It was the 100 year celebration of our town and school.  The opera explored what it is to lead and what it is to be free.  It was also our last Opera.  Sometimes I wonder if I could do it all again, but I can’t go back. The path moves forward.  Who knows…..maybe it will lead to an Olympic ice oval full of performing children!

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In flew Enza




She touched down weeks ago

on the heels of icy swim feet

wet footsteps on dry heaves

Death came knockin’ on my coughin’

Can’t wait ’til she leaves

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The second year

He kept the Presidential desk

and hung the curtains

They hung heavy in the fishbowl

hovering floor-length


scratchy catalog stock

ape-like drapes

like swirls of blackened brine shrimp

empty froth for barracudas

Well intended

Cloak of Containment.

I choked on the blinking they caused,

They’ll never be the Greatest,

the dog and pony flow of child,

the fairy wand, the plush, and LEGO

Come and go….and stay awhile.

This  retro Bronze and

Iron starched establishment

is Reinstated

Belated State of the State,

Good Old Boy Regiem.

I preferred Progressive

honest, public, meek and mild,

Choice and …accountable mercy,

Play and “Mother May I?”

transparency and glitter grooves.

I preferred all these to what has come

in chain store, out the door remedies

I preferred “Suffer the little children

to  this dry wall, float and tape

escape the community pool

For not so goodness sake

This year we hooked and caught some


fishy family counseling

divorce court tug of war

naughty parents keeping score

Sure is Sad

Glad we had a little bit of Heaven

for awhile

Sadder now

We Cant keep the darkside in

We can not keep it out

the pout and shout,

the Upside down plays generationally

its broken records

skip and scratch

the vinyl face of unimaginative

broken school system

Pretending ice and bandaids

will take the swelling down

believing the answers  LIE in TESTING!

clinging like a grubby Golden bandaid

we applauded but lost

I Polish up the silver strike plate

believing God hears prayers

I wipe and smile away the tears

and every day make the drive

park the lines like wax on paper and crayons in boxes

another weary year

Cuz you can’t stop on green

You must GO!

What else would you do at 52?

Just can’t stop the guiotin routine


How can I stop?

Light finds a way

It seeks and finds and blinds you

like truth and antiseptic

Light comes softly, loudly

humbly, proudly

sometimes bending corners and swallowing swords

pokes into pockets for wish watches or lockets

for carnival tickets and cotton candy

and soaks into hearts

All the while

Reality sags

like a warm soggy swim bag

Pack it up. Pack it home

It wets the bed

and then you have to sleep on it

Until tomorrow

Tomorrow is a Mew day

of Pawsibilities

and coffee late’ creation

Where the water runs clear again

refilling a paint brush cup

and palette with sunrise

I face another day


David Habben finds color

where the curtains hang





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