November 12, 2012

Monday Short & Sweet - Winter Is (Not) Coming :)

Happy Monday, Everyone!
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I'm not going to beat around the bush.

I'm just going to come right out and say it.



Here it is:

I saw a completely black woolly bear.

I am not kidding.

Now, I know all about woolly bear folklore... the whole 13 segments, one for each week of winter (OK, well, that's just hogwash - around here we definitely have more than 13 weeks of winter!), and how a lot of black at the front means early winter will be harsh, and a lot of black toward the hindquarters means the end of winter will be harsh (and if you don't know which end is which, well, you're just going to have to figure that one out on your own :)), and generally you want a nice wide band of brown because the brown means mild.
Pyrrharctia isabella 001 So I'm thinking an all black woolly bear is either a true pessimist, or is having a Halloween trick on us a bit late (or just hasn't changed out of his Dementor costume yet), or really likes dark chocolate and is campaigning for world wide recognition of a National Dark Chocolate Rules Day.

I think I'd like to vote for number 3 :)

But I do not think it is a harbinger of a serious, cold, snow-filled winter, because unlike our friend the black woolly bear, I am not a pessimist :)

(I also really like the word harbinger... it's fun to say!  But I digress...)

Now that I've come up with a very clever way to sneak in a picture of a woolly bear because I think they're really cute AND we're all on the same page about how we will most certainly not be having a Little House In The Big Woods type of winter, let's warm up with something Short & Sweet, shall we?

Remember (because it's been a couple weeks and you might have forgotten) - Short & Sweets are meant to be fun and quick.  No agonizing!  Just write!

Okay, ready?


Pick a holiday, any holiday.

Of course Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, National Deviled Eggs Day (no I did NOT make that up - it's November 2 - you can check!), Kwanzaa, Make Your Own Head Day (November 28th if you've never celebrated before) etc. are clearly foremost in our minds right now, but I hope some of you free spirits will dance to your own tune and pick National Gum Drop Day (February 15) or Easter or Look Up At The Sky Day (April 14), or maybe Sidewalk Egg Frying Day (the lesser know July 4th holiday) or Ear Muff Day (March 13) :)


Got your holiday?

Write down the name of your holiday.

Now, write down
 - something you see on that holiday
 - something you smell on that holiday
 - something you hear on that holiday
 - something you taste on that holiday
 - something you touch on that holiday

Then write down the name of the holiday one last time.

Guess what?

You just wrote a holiday poem!

And maybe it will be even more than that and give you a great idea for a story!  (Or at least your PiBoIdMo idea for the day if you're participating in that festival of inspiration and frivolity as I most certainly am!)

I'll give you an example.  Remember... short... sweet... off the top of our heads here (because let's be honest - I used up most of my available time rambling on about woolly bears :))

Delicate ribbons of tinsel shimmering silver and gold
Spicy pine breathing the outside in
Joy To The World singing clear to a starry sky
Bright peppermint, cool and sweet, and
Peace On Earth warming every heart

So, are you ready?  Get set...  WRITE!!!

Please share your holiday poem in the comments so we can all admire them and become inspired for a whole week of great writing!

Also, if you have a word you love to say (like harbinger, or maybe Terpsichore or multitudinous, please share that as well! :))

I can't wait to read your Holiday poems!  I hope someone picks Race Your Mouse Day (May 28th)!

(P.S. I will announce the winner of the October Pitch Pick on Wednesday during Would You Read It!)


  1. Oh dear, an all black wooly bear.....I'd better get more snow shovels and mittens. Thanks for the wooly bear facts! I never knew them. I saw an all brown one a while back and thought THAT was a bad sign. So maybe the one I saw will cancel out yours and our winter won't be so bad after all! I love the word "bamboozle" and try to use it whenever I can :-) As for short and creative mind is not yet awake. Maybe after I finish my coffee :-)

  2. I'm going to give this short and sweet a try;
    Mother's Day
    I see father in the kitchen, smiling from ear to ear, a twinkle in his eye.
    I smell toast warming and fresh picked flowers.
    I hear bacon sizzling in the skillet and the quiet energy in mommy's hum while she rests in bed.
    I steal a sip of mommy's orange juice, fresh squeezed sweetness that dances on my tongue. Father does not chide, just smiles and musses my hair.
    I touch the silky petal of a rose stacked tall in a vase and am touched to be a part of making mommy so very happy.
    Mother's Day.

  3. International Procrastination Day

    abandoned papers on abandoned desk

    air perfumed with anticipation

    murmurs of "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow"

    sweet sliced apples meant for that pie

    grasp an idea uncaged from time

    International Procrastin--


    I like "persnickety" and "hullaballoo" and about a million more!

  4. An all black wooly bear? A bit disconcerting (a lovely, crunchy word), but not as disconcerting as another encounter with a big, black bear, at least as far as the Two Orange Pups & I are concerned.

    Re the short & sweet, I read the instructions about trying to pick a not-too-obvious holiday. Came up with Colgate Day - any 13th of the month that falls on a Friday (because we love the number 13, as those of you with kids doing the college tour thing may know; not something you triskaidekaphobics can understand, I'm sure). Given the college theme, kind of degenerated a bit....Think I may have to think up a more kid-friendly holiday & come back to short & sweet a bit later today...

  5. In honor of your black bear sighting, I first chose Teddy Bear Day...but then I was having so much fun looking at all the odd and unknown holidays, that I got carried away. It's amazing how the Internet can suck you in! Oh...and I did a "normal" holiday, too. So, my Short and Sweet time was very sweet, but not so short :-)

    September 9
    Teddy Bear Day
    button eyes
    cookies and tea
    sugar lumps
    fluffy fuzziness
    Teddy Bear Day

    Family gathering
    Tender turkey
    Prayer of thanksgiving
    Delectable dressing
    Hugs all around

    (October 9)
    Moldy Cheese Day
    Dalmatian cheese.
    Stinky! Geez!
    Slice off mold.
    Inside is gold.
    Napkin, please.
    Moldy Cheese Day

    (2nd Thursday in March)
    Popcorn Lover's Day
    fluffy white
    buttery goodness
    pop, pop, pop
    mouthwatering morsels
    tongue to fingertips
    Popcorn Lover’s Day

  6. Okay - I lost three pounds, so leave it to me to celebrate by picking
    Homemade Bread Day for my holiday (Nov. 17th) I still remember making it with my Grandma in 1961 before she had a modern kitchen.

    Homemade Bread
    Grandma's kitchen table, flour dust in my hair
    warm, yeasty smells rising in the air
    creaking oven door, crackling, kindling in the stove
    punching, rolling dough, plopping into pans
    buttery, soft warm bread melting in my mouth
    Homemade Bread

  7. As you can see, my creative mind was already asleep when I wrote this :) Bamboozle is an excellent word! I also really like tapioca :)

  8. Aw!!! I LOVE that, Angela! So beautiful! Maybe I'll write a Mother's Day story today :)

  9. EXCELLENT poem, Renee!!! You have just written the story of my life. I think I'd better print it and stick it above my desk :) Ooh, persnickety and hullaballoo are fabulous!!!

  10. Zounds! I'm drooling! :) YUM does that sound good. I've never been a bread baker, but you know, it might not be too late to learn :) Love your poem!

  11. WOW! Penny! You don't do things by halves :) These are great, but my favorite is the Moldy Cheese Day one! :) So glad you had fun - hope it didn't take too big a chunk out of your day :)

  12. YOu don't have to pick a not-so-obvious holiday! I did Christmas, for goodness sakes! I was just spouting off a few lesser known ones in case people might find them inspiring... for poems, or maybe stories or PiBoIdMo ideas :) Please do anything you like!!!

  13. Read Across America
    Children snuggled into beanbag chairs and sprawled out on the floor
    Breathing in that "new-book" smell.
    Silence breaks with giggles and spontaneous book shares.
    Snacking on apple slices, delivered by the Bookworm.
    Fingers fly along book bindings, in search of another readable treasure.
    Read Across America

  14. delores @ thefeatherednestNovember 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Grandparents Day in Canada is the second Sunday in September.
    Grandparents Day
    a sparkling clean house over run with toys
    delectable smells from the kitchen
    happy squeals and laughter
    rich celebratory chocolate cake
    and all those lovely, squirmy little grands to cuddle
    Grandparents Day

  15. Fun, as usual! Thanks Susanna!

    Valentine's Day
    Red paper
    White doilies
    Heart-shaped truffles
    Shared poems
    Crinkled wrappers
    Chocolate kisses
    Whole hugs
    Valentine's Day

  16. Midsummer Day

    Sun, high, high, high in the sky.
    Fragrant picnics spill from hampers.
    The crackling of bonfires.
    Smoky sting of fireworks in the nostrils.

    Clutching garlands and branches to dance through the night.

  17. Ooh, this is GREAT Laura! WHat a wonderful way to describe this very important celebration! I can picture it exactly :)

  18. Aw! That's so sweet, Delores! "All those squirmy little grands to cuddle" - so aptly described and so much the best part :)

  19. Oh, that's lovely, Julie! "Whole hugs" - just perfect! :)

  20. What a lovely scene to imagine when midsummer feels so far away! Thanks, Joanna :)

  21. Well, considering we've already had lot of snow and very cold days (that feel like February), I'm going to say we're in for a long harsh winter where I live. :(

    Everyone made that poetry assignment look easy. I might have to try it. :D

  22. Coming here is always such a delight! I hereby proclaim November 12th . . . the first annual Susanna Leonard Hill day!

    It's Susanna Leonard Hill day!
    Watch out for pessimistic woolly bears, all dressed in black
    Smell luscious wood smoke as "first fire" logs pop and crack
    Listen to laughter and giggles ringing out loud and true
    There's always something sweet here for me and for you
    Susanna touches our hearts in a very special way
    C'mon let's celebrate . . . Susanna Leonard Hill day!

  23. You can do it, Stina! Pick something summery - it will make you feel less winterish :) (But in case you're too cold to write, here are some lovely warm mittens and some fuzzy socks and a polar fleece blanket with hardly any dog hair on it and a mug of hot chocolate. Now, Fourth of July??? :))

  24. Christmas,

    Presents everywhere,

    The sent of cookies from the oven,

    Hearing "Merry Christmas, Erik, and Happy Birthday, too!"

    Cookies, O so good!

    Family everywhere!


    I like using the word "spoilt" and any old English word, ye fair maiden! Thou art too kind for this blog! ;)

  25. Aw! That's the nicest poem ever, Nancy! You made feel all teary (in a good way) and also a little bit famous for having my own day :) Thank you for making my day - both ways! :)

  26. Love your poem, Erik! I sense a theme with the cookies :) Cookies are my thing at Christmas too - you can ask my parents and brothers and sister - I bake for them all every year :) And may I say that your old English is excellent - one could easily mistake you for a native speaker! That's probably why you liked it so much a while back when I recited Chaucer... though that was Middle English :)

  27. My pleasure, Susanna. Visits here always put a smile on my face, so I thought I'd reciprocate . . . by making you cry. :D

  28. I love all of these short and sweet poems! I haven't written "just for fun" in a while, so here goes:

    Winter Solstice
    Twilight creeping up early in the day
    Chestnuts roasting and popcorn popping
    Wood crackling in the fireplace
    Hot spiced wine and ginger shortbread cookies
    My hand brushing against the soft stockings waiting for Santa
    Winter Solstice

  29. Universal Children’s Day is November 20th. In 1959, countries from all around the globe signed this decree...The Declaration of the Rights of the Child. More than half a century has passed...and
    millions of children are without homes, food, water, education and love.

    I know this is a ‘light’ creative writing exercise...and I
    hope my rather gloomy submission won’t spoil anyone’s holiday spirit...but these are the words I was compelled to write. :)

    Universal Children’s Day

    In a hospital bed, a young girl fights for her life (to get an
    education is the right of every child)

    Charred wood structures, the remains of homes destroyed by
    terrorists (to live in a safe home is the right of every child)

    The cries of the little boy whose feet are bruised and
    blistered because every day he walks three miles to gather the family’s water from a tainted
    pond (to drink clean water is the right of every child)

    The gall of bitterness (to be brought up in a spirit of tolerance,
    friendship, peace and universal brotherhood is the right of every child)

    Tenderly touching and soothing every child’s heart...if only I could.
    (to grow up in an atmosphere of love and understanding is the right of every child)

    Universal Children’s Day

  30. You are great, took the words right out of our mouths...thanks for saying this. :)

  31. So kind :)

    nrhatch (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    My pleasure, Susanna. Visits here always put a smile on my face, so I thought I'd reciprocate . . . by making you cry. :D

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  32. Tracy! Hi! So nice to see you :) Love your poem - very evocative! Glad you could join in today's fun! :)

  33. This is wonderful, Vivian. So sad. So true. And so important. Very sobering, but good to be reminded that it's not all sweetness and light, and that we should always be doing what we can for those less fortunate and for those who need us.

  34. You guys are so sweet. You're making me blush. But I *am* really enjoying having my very own day, and I may have to get one of my artist friends to create a beautiful badge or banner or perhaps a festive balloon to that effect! :)

    Vivian Kirkfield wrote, in response to nrhatch:

    You are great, took the words right out of our mouths...thanks for saying this. :)

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  35. I love your picture of the woolly bear! They always make me smile. Here's my holiday poem and an idea starter for PiBoIdMo.

    Flag Day
    Flags waving in the breeze
    The sweet smell of grass
    Fabric flapping and snapping
    Watermelon juices flowing
    Hands on hearts in respect
    Flag Day

  36. Thanks, Susanna...I'm glad you understood my sister used to call me "Pollyanna" because I ALWAYS saw the positive side of every situation (and still do). And I am an incredible optimist...however, that does not mean I bury my head in the sand, unaware of the sadness that exists in the world. :) :)

  37. I'll have some hot spiced wine and ginger shortbread cookies, please. :) This is lovely, Tracy...perfect images for Christmas!

  38. "Fingers fly along book bindings, in search of another readable treasure" What an amazing image, Laura!

  39. Some of my fondest memories are of getting up early in the morning and going downstairs to help my grandmother (we lived in her house from the time I was 9) bake bread and apple pies!!!! This is lovely, Laura. :)

  40. Oh my goodness...I didn't know there was a Popcorn Lover's Day...whoo-hoo...that's for me!

  41. the 'air perfumed with anticipation' perfect!!!

  42. And I'll bet the sip of mommy's orange juice is something you can still taste, even today. :) Beautiful. :)

  43. Okay. I love woolly bears. I read somewhere that green caterpillars turn into butterflies and other kinds turn into moths. So do woolly bears turn into moths? Because they are way too cute for moths. Anyway, here's mine.

    Arbor Day

    Arbor Day

  44. You know, I actually don't know what wooly bears turn into Hannah - I will have to find that out. I hope it's something pretty like a Monarch :) Love your choice of holiday - such a good one! And dirt is about as kid-friendly as you can get :)

  45. Oh, I love this, Jennifer! It makes me feel like I'm there, with the flag "flapping and snapping" and I can smell and taste the watermelon :) Much better than what's outside my window right now which is barely light and pouring rain! :)

  46. As we race towards winter, figured I'd have a go at a summer-time holiday. Thanks, Susanna, for the opportunity to think about early summer rambles.

    Arbor Day

    Gnarled trunks clad in rough bark reach towards tiny, shiny leaves That sparkle in the morning sun;
    The pungent scent of pinecones wafts upwards
    As our boots crunch over the forest floor, the steady beat a bass Line for the lilting birdsongs swooshing through the canopy;
    The taste of woodland’s bounty awaits us in the clearing ahead – Tart strawberries that cling to tenuous vines, each berry bursting With refreshing juice;
    Red-stained fingers grasp our sturdy walking sticks
    As we clamber onwards.
    Arbor Day, harbinger of summer.


    I couldn't resist. Here's my wacky poem to honor, "Race your mouse day!"

    My mouse day race

    Rumps rise

    Mice droppings roll

    Crowds roar

    Cotton candy melts on my tongue

    A red ribbon gets pinned to my,---Ouch!

    My mouse day race

    Okay, so I switched the title around.

  48. YAY! Someone took up the gauntlet! I LOVE this, Tracy - very funny :)

  49. WOW! Patricia! This is what you come up with in 5 minutes off the top of your head?! This is incredible! Just beautiful! I hope you're turning it into a picture book :)

  50. Okay, Susanna, I'm stretching myself right out of my comfort zone. Thanks for pushing me. I have chosen "Look up at the Sky Day" April 14. And I am actually sharing two! Thank you for this short and sweet. It inspired some poems that touched me deeply and brought me to tears. Those are more "adult" poems - dealing with death and love, so I will not share. Here are my more mild ones.

    Look Up at the Sky Day

    A paisley hot air balloon and swift sweeping clouds play a game of tag

    Pungent river mud and sweet clover compete for my nostrils’ attention

    Honking geese argue, whooshing balloon burners hiss, the river rushes

    I nibble a blade of grass, earthy and sweet like watermelon rind

    Grass dew springs as I roam, splashing my shins, soaking my sneakers, chilling my toes

    Look up at the Sky Day

    Look Up at the Sky Day

    The moon and stars play peek-a-boo with slow sweeping clouds

    Nearby pines and a trace of campfire smoke sooth my nostrils

    Water slaps against boat hulls. Loose halyards ring and ding on masts reaching for the stars

    Steaming cocoa and soft marshmallows mingle in my mouth and slide down my throat

    Droplets of dew moisten my face, dampen my clothes, and chill my bones.

    Look Up at the Sky Day

  51. These are both just beautiful, Alayne! I'm so glad you shared! As a bonus, you have sparked a possible PiBoIdMo idea for me :) (although it's very unformed as yet... :)) I love that you did a day version and a night version! And how nice that you picked Look Up At The Sky Day... which just happens to be my birthday :)

  52. (Appropriate to prepare for the holiday eating season...)

    November 15th

    Green with purple iridescence floats on top of old sour cream,
    Sour milk, date only noted after I taste and spit a stream,
    Wafting wrench of week-old chicken, casts upon my gut a curse,
    Fumbling fingers find the soft spots on old veggies quite diverse.
    Ice-maker grinds to warn me that the freezer side just might be worse.
    Clean your refrigerator day.
    --Damon Dean (this was fun Susanna!)

  53. A Day of Silence
    Butterflies drifting on a breeze
    Lilacs overwhelming me with their sweet fragrance

    Fish leaping in the river at dawn
    Sweet melons, fresh and juicy

    An oak tree, mighty and strong
    A Day of Silence

  54. Alayne Kay ChristianNovember 14, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Thanks, Susanna. I look forward to someday seeing the picture book my poem inspired. Look Up At The Sky Day - what a nice holiday to share your birthday with.

  55. Maybe the black woolly bear just means an early snow (check) and a very late snow. Or the woolly bear has been cross breeding and it is going to turn into MOTHMAN! Anywho...

    Groundhog Day
    The air tastes of almost spring as
    My walking stick steadies each muddy step.
    Shadows abound in the woods, and
    Groundhog feet patter back to their den.
    I smell Grandma adding more logs to the fire.
    Groundhog Day

  56. What a perfect choice of holiday, and so well written - in rhyme no less! Impressive! Now that you're warmed up, feel free to come clean my fridge :) (Glad you had fun! :))

  57. Oh, this sounds so lovely and restful, Pat! Especially after crazy yesterday! :) Thanks for sharing!

  58. Oh, I LOVE this, Lauri! I'm so glad someone picked Groundhog Day! It should have been me :)

  59. Better late than creativity is waning this month!


    Sparkling Italian lights on the Avenue

    Scent of Wassail wafting

    Sweet Silver Bells chiming

    Spritz cookies in my mouth melting

    Snowflakes dancing on my nose in the thin crisp air of night


  60. Oh, I LOVE this, Jarm! So beautiful and perfectly evocative of Christmas! :)


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