Category Archives: Personal Articles

My history with horses

For the last four years, I’ve been involved in politics, protests, and purpose. I know more about this president’s* administration that I ever thought possible. It’s been a lot of bad news, punctuated occasionally with positive news for the side of good and for human rights. It’s been rather exhausting.

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Just last week, I saw this picture (above) of a horse and young rider, nose to nose. The picture is not epic, just a girl and her horse. But something happened to me when I saw this photo. I started to have flashbacks; I was brought to tears. I realized what I’ve been missing is HORSE.

I exchanged messages with the originator of the post, and it turns out – that family is from North Dakota!

I remembered a lot of incredible experiences I’ve had over the years, hence…

My History With Horses

Sally Starr 

I remember watching this Philly-area TV show when I was about 5-6 years old. I remember Mom and Ang buying me a Sally Starr costume – vest, skirt (complete with fringes) and boots. I wore that outfit to bed. Mom didn’t want me to wear the boots to bed, Ang said, [sic] “Let her.”

Patches in the backyard

When I was about 8 years old, Ang rented a pony for my backyard birthday party. We had a pony in the backyard in suburban Wilmington! People came from far and wide. The pony’s name was Patches (skewbald or piebald, can’t remember which). But he was in my backyard.

Truitt’s Farm, Suburban Wilmington, Delaware

Just a mile or two from our home, there was a riding stable. The trail was short, but there was a barn with ponies and horses. Ang was scared of horses, but she took me anyway, probably because I begged. I rode. One time, I said I wanted to go bareback. She thought it was a bad idea. She was right. At the first turn in the trail, I lost my grip and fell into a pile of horse—t. I ruined a sweater.

Racetrack, in Maryland

I remember a time I went with Ang to a racetrack in Maryland, guests of her boss. Ang told me, “You pick the horses, I’ll place the bets.” My picks were personal –  because I thought the horse was pretty, or I liked the name listed in the program. I picked seven winners (win, place, show) that day. Ang kept the bills and she gave me all the change.

Pony Club, Suburban Wilmington

Ang’s boss (same one from the racetrack) at the DuPont Company had some muckity-muck position in the DuPont Pony Club. I think Ang pulled strings to get me in, because otherwise, we’d never be able to afford it. I attended the DuPont Pony Club for three summers.

I learned about breeds, how to care for horses, how to curry, brush, comb horses, pick hooves, how to bridle and unbridle and saddle and unsaddle, and how to care for tack and barn equipment. Total bliss.

Maine Draught Horses

I lived in Maine briefly in the late 70s. A neighbor had two Percheron draught horses, and I was able to visit them occasionally. I got on once – with the aid of a stepladder. Those beasts were so huge, I felt like I was doing a split.

Carousel Farms, Delaware

Formerly the DuPont Pony Club mentioned above, now trail rides and instruction. It was nice to ride, but carefully orchestrated so not as fun as free range.

Thoroughbred in Maryland

I once rode a retired racehorse somewhere in Maryland – the Where and Why and What-fors are sketchy. I mounted, and it was like zero to a hundred in a car, only no seat or seatbelt. Actually, no steering wheel either – I lost the reins. Come to think of it, I lost both stirrups, too. It was terrifying and thrilling.

Campbell Soup Heiress

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Somewhere in my late 30s/early 40s, I worked for a Campbell Soup heiress in Pennsylvania (filthy, stinking rich). Our crew cared for over a dozen horses, all with fancy, snooty show names. I never got to ride there, but it was good therapy, to curry, brush, bathe. And muck. And one of the most physically exhausting jobs I ever had.

In New Mexico

I hadn’t been on a horse in over a decade (probably closer to two decades). I went on a ride with a private owner, up around Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid). I remember we rode through town, right down the main street. Again, the galloping scared me, but I’d been out of practice for quite a while.

For those who have exercised muscles believed long dead, my thighs had a fire-breathing vengeance against me days later, and I thought I’d never walk normally again.

Painfully Lovely

I’ve been bitten by horses, I’ve been stepped on and kicked, I’ve been squished up against the stall wall, and I’d still rather spend a few hours with a horse than with most people.

 

Do you have any experiences with horses? Share pictures!

Do you prefer English or Western? 

 

 

 

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Summer is almost here

The first day of summer is next week, so I thought it appropriate to share some summer haiku. These are all from my poetry collection No Boundaries.

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Fun summer pastimeScreen Shot 2019-06-18 at 1.32.26 PM

Crack of bat at plate and cheers

Baseball up and out.

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Baked feet blistering

Bubbling shimmer on black top

Where are my flip flops?

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Warm waves crash the shore

Bringing in surfers and crabs

Shells crunch underfoot.

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Seasonal bathers

Vacationing families

Where’s the hot dog stand?

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Delicious taffy

Corner of the worn boardwalk

Smooth chewy goodness.

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String breaks flashy show

Teeny weeny bikini

Jump and grab a beach towel quick.

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Crispy lawn drying

Thirsty for a summer rain

Aching blades of grass wither.

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Drone of mowers

Neighborhoods and avenues

Lazy swinging-hammock days.

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Please write your own summer haiku – remember –

5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.

Try it!

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“No Boundaries, A Collection of Poetry” is available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/No-Boundaries-Karen-R-Sanderson/dp/0998127604

 

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Filed under Personal Articles, Prose & Poetry

Spring has sprung!

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No real “springing” here in Minot, ND, but it is Spring according to the calendar.

I’ve been neglecting my blog.

For good reasons? I think so.

I am going to university classes full time, and I will graduate in May with a two-year AAS degree in American Sign Language and Interpreting Studies. My first ever degree. Woo hoo!

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Also, I’ve been active with politics (mostly behind the scenes). So! My blogging time has been cut short, by choice.

But I still want to keep the blog alive.

 

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Below we have some Spring Haiku. All these haiku are available in my book –

No Boundaries, A Collection of Poetry.noboundariescover-frontonly

 

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Cold snow gone, melted

Plush tree limbs spread twig fingers

Stretching for warm sun.

Bursting and popping

The leaves unfurl like jade flags

Spring has sprung alive.

Longer days warm nights

Blossoms welcomed with kind hands

Mom tends the garden.

Black spots punctuate

Ladybug fluttering red

Teensy feet teek teek.

Queen praying mantis

Regal stance on the fuchsia

Beetles grasp her cape.

Eight legged artist

Web catches crunchy munchies

Crawl in for a snack.

Shut up tweeting birds

I am trying to sleep in

Give me a break please.

Bees bumble along

Garden smorgasbord buffet

Slurping sweet nectar.

 

What does spring look like in your neck of the woods? Will you please write a haiku about it?

Remember – it’s 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Try it!

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Reinventing the alphabet

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Are you L-G-B-T-or Q?

Are you N-A-T-I-V-E-A-M-E-R-I-C-A-or N?

Are you B-L-A-C-or K?

Are you B-R-O-W-or N?

Are you J-E-W-I-S-or H?

Are you M-U-S-L-I-or M?

Are you H-I-N-D-or U?

Are you S-I-K-or H?

Are you B-U-D-D-H-I-S-or T?

Are you D-A-C-or A?

Are you I-M-M-I-G-R-A-N-or T?

Are you W-O-M-A-or N?

Do you have a place in the U-S-A?

Yes, you

M-O-S-T C-E-R-T-A-I-N-L-Y D-O!

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Filed under Personal Articles, Words & Vocabulary

Why don’t she write?

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 4.15.30 AMYou may be wondering why I’ve not been blogging much.

In August, I quit my full-time job at Minot State University so I could go to school full time at Minot State University/Lake Region State College. I’ll graduate in May, 2019, with an AAS in American Sign Language and Interpreting Studies.

 

And then? 

I don’t know what I’m doing after that – and I’m not worrying about it now. I do have my sub teacher’s license, so that’s a fall-back thing.

Politics

I have also been enormously involved in local and national politics for the last two years and that takes up a lot of my time as well. I’m making signs, organizing, campaigning, and demonstrating. I’m feeling a little Norma Rae!

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Eventually …

I’ll be back … eventually. I’m not letting go of the blog, but I’m giving it a rest.

So, for now …

Gone Fishing.

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Remember handwritten communication?

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Vegas Baby!

We get emails and texts and messages all day long. Every day. Day after day.

But how often do you get a handwritten note in the mail? Can you even remember the last time you got a handwritten note? Do you remember how it made you feel?

Handwriting personal notes and letters is becoming a lost art, though some people (and some corporate CEOs) recognize the value.

I was raised on pen and paper; if we got a check from Aunt Peg for a birthday, we wrote a thank you note, and if we received a letter from Aunt Ginny, we wrote back.

With the advent of computers, social networking, and iPhones, we have lost the emotional connection of a handwritten note.

As soon as a machine is introduced into the equation, the personal touch is lost. We have machines that make furniture, instead of a wood-worker creating a legacy that lasts centuries. We have machines that die-cut knives, instead of a blacksmith forging a sword. We have a computer that displays words on a screen, instead of a person picking up a pen.

Arnie Fertig, for U. S. News & World Report, suggests a handwritten thank you after a job interview. I’ve done this – I got the job. Coincidence?

Regina Lewis for U. S. A. Today says that handwritten notes in business are refreshingly personal.

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Leaf Partial

Douglas Conant was the CEO for Campbell Soup for ten years and sent 30,000 handwritten notes to employees and clients. When severely injured in a car accident, he received thousands of handwritten best wishes. He and his wife both said that all these notes helped him heal.

Is there a downside to handwritten notes? Yeah…I can appreciate the flip side of this coin.

To handwrite a note, you have to buy the card (or like I do, create my own), find a good pen, find a surface to write on, write, address the envelope, and find a stamp. Oh, the misery of it!

For decades now we’ve had computers at our disposal, most people have one at work, most people have them at home. Computers are always at our fingertips. For a handful of years, most of us have had a tiny computer in a pocket, available on our person. The smart phone. It’s so easy to swipe, type, send.

Janice Kaplan, author of The Gratitude Diaries interviewed dozens of executives and many said they say thank you with a paycheck. Kaplan said “You don’t say thank you with a paycheck. You say I’m paying you with a paycheck. You say thank you with a Thank You.”

There are numerous companies that have machines that duplicate handwriting. You can order handwritten notes, made by a machine. How oxymoronic is that?

Sadly, we are reminded of birthdays and anniversaries via FB. We see important news on Snapchat or Instagram. We can “like” or “love” with a poke.

Handwritten notes have emotion, memories, and personal thought. On the NBC Nightly News, Jane Derenowski said, “The drawings, handwriting, poems, and postmarks took me back to exactly the time, place, and person they were from.” You cannot invoke those feelings and images with an email or a text.Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 5.26.21 PM

I look at old letters and notes, and and I see that person, where they live, what we shared, the laughter, the pain, the friendship, the love.

I have seen people in offices tack up a note or card from a loved one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone tack up an email.

The Encyclopedia Britannica claims that handwriting is determined with a great emphasis on personality and that handwriting it almost as individual as fingerprints. Your handwriting represents you as an individual.

I like creating handwritten cards. I feel good writing them, I feel good sending them – knowing that the person on the other end will be pleased when he/she rips open that envelope, flips the card open, reads the handwritten words. I have heard from people that received my cards (some send an email, some a FB message, some even send back a handwritten card!), and the comments are always positive.

Do you have an event coming up, an engagement, a graduation, a new school year? Has someone in another department done you a great favor? Did your spouse or partner cook dinner all this week because you were sick? Or would you simply like to reconnect with someone you care about?

I ask you to write a note, now – to your spouse or partner, to your son or daughter, to your mom or dad, to a respected workmate or someone in another department who recently did you a favor.

And I’d like to know what the response is.

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Have you sent a handwritten note lately? What was the response? Do you think you should re-introduce handwritten notes into your correspondence?

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Our favorite things… best friends, perfect gifts

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Elizabeth’s Journal, covers

Elizabeth’s “Favorite Things” Journal

Elizabeth and I met years ago, via LinkedIn. We exchanged greetings, shared some feelings, shared our love of family, writing and blogging, nature. And the friendship grew.

For years, we corresponded via emails and Facebook, we partnered on a little blog sharing, etc. We enjoyed numerous phone calls. And the friendship grew.

We encouraged each other, nagged each other occasionally, counseled each other. We celebrated our accomplishments, lamented our troubles.

Years and years of correspondence, about a thousand emails, dozens of telephone conversations…

Sharkies Conference in Delaware

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Sharkies Conference

We progressed to the point that in 2016, we met for a writers’ conference at my brother and sis-in-law’s house in Newark, Delaware. This was the first time Elizabeth and I met each other face to face, and we were immediately comfortable.

When I decided to create my poetry collection, Elizabeth worked with me to make this collection beautiful and ready for publication. Without her, my No Boundaries poetry collection would not have made it to fruition.

 

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Porch at Shrine Mont

Shrine Mont

Later, Elizabeth invited me to her writers’ conference at Shrine Mont in Virginia. And I knew I HAD to go.

This conference was a re-affirming of our friendship, and it touched me deeply. A culminating event was walking the labyrinth at Shrine Mont with Elizabeth and other new friends, met at the conference.

A special gift

I met Alyssa and Dan Sharbono (Couple of Artists) at an event at Minot State University in North Dakota. They make custom, recycled-material journals, and I knew that this is what I needed to get for Elizabeth. She’s a journal-writing junkie, and I could customize a journal with the help of Alyssa and Dan. What a perfect partnership!

While talking to Alyssa about what this journal meant to me and what it would mean to Elizabeth, I teared up a few times. Alyssa understood how special this gift would be. I selected several of my own personal photos and screen shots, and with Alyssa’s help, created a most beautiful journal for my special friend.

In the journal, I included…

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Labyrinth at Shrine Mont

  • A pic of a few of us at the Sharkies conference in Delaware (with my goofy brother photo-bombing)
  • The Shrine Mont labyrinth from our retreat weekend
  • A vintage photo of a country doctor (a nod to Elizabeth’s country-doctor husband John)
  • A photo of me at a covered bridge that Elizabeth took on the way home from Shrine Mont
  • Elizabeth’s Heartspoken blog banner (shamelessly copied from her site)
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Me at the covered bridge

 

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Elizabeth’s Heartspoken banner

The front cover of our custom journal is a photo of Elizabeth and John’s house – I had to ask Elizabeth for that photo with instructions to “just send it, it’s for a special surprise.”

The back cover is a vintage map of Elizabeth’s beloved Shenandoah Valley.

When I sent the journal, I enclosed a few thoughts…

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Please take a moment to read Elizabeth’s companion piece

about this special journal at Heartspoken.com.

Do you need an awesome diary or journal?

Do you need a special journal for a special someone? Click on these links for Couple of Artists –

https://www.etsy.com/shop/coupleofartists

https://www.instagram.com/coupleofartists/

Facebook page for their gallery/studio space, 62 Doors Gallery and Studios –

https://www.facebook.com/62Doors/

Quoted from Elizabeth’s partner blog –

Share your favorite gift or favorite things 

A gift can be special for a million different reasons, and your list of favorite things is likely to be entirely different from mine. But I’d love to hear about any memorable gifts you’ve received and why they’ve touched your heart. And I’d also love to hear about your favorite things on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Just use the hashtag #FavoriteThings and #Heartspoken.

See this link also – Gretchen Rubin Happier Podcast

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What’s the most special, most memorable gift you ever received?

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Filed under Blogging, Personal Articles