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Friday, June 29, 2012

Wildflowers in Spring: Harbingers of Summer

wild rose, Georgetown MA 2012
As we end the month of June, I'll offer you one more poem about nature. This one was written in the spring, scribbled into one of my notebooks many years ago. No doubt I sat out at the table in the back yard with a cup of true coffee ( in the years before diagnosis and decaf.)I would sit and keep still, and pretend I was 'communing' with nature: the birds' chatter seemed to speak to each other regardless of their differing feathers. Cardinals and finch arrive when the grackles have left the perches; sparrows and rock doves eat peacefully on the ground beneath the feeders, and chipmunks and squirrels( both of red and gray fur) occasionally try to shimmy up the pole to the suet cage hung for the woodpeckers and jays. And they all, as do I, appreciate the wildflowers that grace the borders of the lawn - plants that volunteer each year - plants sometimes sown by the birds themselves. Some folks would come through relentlessly with weed whackers, reclaiming their tidy borders, clearing away the natural growths to nurture instead high maintenance foreign beauties. Not me. 

Wild Woodland Phlox, Georgetown MA 2012

Despite my physical neglect, despite the unraked beds of fallen leaves and dried pine needles the wildflowers that brighten my surroundings come up through the debris and brighten my life. Asking nothing from me but appreciation and protection from man's implements, they also provide shelter for the wildlife in my yard. The small birds luxuriate in their soft branches between trips to the feeders nearby. The chipmunks and small red squirrels can hide from the hawks that circle above the area, and the cardinals and goldfinch can hide in the foliage until a clear ascent to the pines for their erratic, bobbing flight is opened, free of
Rick's bird feeders 2012
larger pigeons and crows blocking their way. The little ones take their turns hanging on the long feeders, and some brave the birdbath to quench their thirst. The young often stay in the wildflowers; their parents travel back and forth from the feeders to the bushes with seeds in their beaks. It is a wonderful scene of nature caring for nature.

Tall woodland phlox, spindly pink asters, waxen yellow buttercups, wild rose with pink buds and yellow centered white blossoms, lily of the valley that grows pink under the pines, and an occasional lady slipper or jack in the pulpit ... all of these have appeared in my surroundings. I'm happy to share my poem of them here, and photographs taken this year, many years after the poem was scribbled into that notebook, while sitting at that table:

wild asters, woodland phlox, buttercups, and unknown others, Georgetown, MA, early June 2012

by Terry Crawford Palardy

My yard is a haven for all things wild
What others call weeds I have loved since a child

The buttercups held underneath my small chin
Showed I loved butter, although then I was thin

The dandelions grow as they did way back then
Always turning to fluff to be puffed once again

Tiny spikes of pink asters stretch way up and over
The little round blossoms that cover the clover

The maple tree seeds that come spiraling down
Like a helicopter twirling before it finds ground

Whatever the wild green ground cover is called
It is rich and luxurious and need not be mowed.

To think that some kill these young innocent plants
Unable to see the wind's grace in their dance

What others called weeds I rename as wild flowers
I sit and admire for hours and hours.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Photography and Poetry Together

Pond on Stallion Park Place
small healthy pond (Photo credit:
Sometimes the poem is later captured in art.

I have another poem to share with you. I wrote this one after watching the scenery on my drive to work change dramatically over the course of a decade. Along both sides of the very scenic route 133 I could see wetlands with dead trees growing in and around newly formed ponds.

Where once we'd had vernal pools (spring time water accumulations that fostered tadpoles, salamanders and other amphibious life) we had a new growth of trees that, before reaching full maturity, were literally drowned by the rising waters. What had caused the change in seasonal water levels, I thought? I spoke with others, asking whether they'd noticed the changes in our location. Few had.

 I looked in other locations, farther from my commute, further north in Maine, and later further south, in Connecticut, and Delaware. I didn't see the stark failings of young trees. Our losses troubled me. I continued to wonder, and ask. And what I learned brought me to an understanding.  I posed the issue in a poem.

And then one day, I saw a photograph taken by a young friend -- one that captured my poem perfectly. I'll offer it here:

Picture credit:  Owen Ricker, Georgetown, Massachusetts 2012
 A Standing Death of Nature

by Terry Crawford Palardy

Still pools filled with melted snow 
Spring rains raise the water levels
Changing scenes over seasons.

Once a pretty woodland sight
 Flowering trees, peeping frogs 
Wild rose offering scents at night 

Not this decade, now it's changed
 Bordered by ghostly, bare tree trunks 
A standing death of nature 

Why would trees root in water? 
They grew before the water rose 
 Branches were plenty; their leaves, green.

The pool was a puddle, nothing more 
Home to small polliwogs, peepers, frogs 
This space offered dampness to keep nature fed.

What happened, then? Why is it changed? 
Why did the water rise so high? 
They say the beavers built a dam.

The vernal pool became a pond 
A body of water that stays the year long
 A new world with new life and more.

The roots of trees then drowned in time 
There would be no leaves come the spring 
No bark would shield the tree in summer's heat.

Man views the naked sun-bleached trunks
 Reflecting in the pond:
 a standing death of nature,
Caused by nature,
 mourned by man.

This poem is found in Poetry to Share vol. 1, which is still offered at Beyond Old Windows webstore for 50% off, with a personalized autograph included. I'll give you another poem and art link, from Poetry to Share Vol. II, later this week!

Both volumes are currently on sale at Beyond Old Windows webstore. Both will be autographed and mailed out quicker than Online Stores can do. Shipping is less expensive as well. Paypal will accept your credit card. If you prefer to mail by check, email me for details at
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Poetry and a Folk Art inspiration: Christopher Gurshin

Welcome to a new week! The temperature has moderated, the rain has fallen and the air is drier than it had been for the past several days. It's Sunday, and so time to offer the next of my books here, with a preview, a discount, and perhaps by the end of the week a review. I'm happy to feature Poetry to Share, Vol. II, and will be offering the same 50% discount at both CreateSpace and at my webstore. You can also purchase this book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as other reputable online stores. It is not available as an e-book (yet, she says.)Of course, you can always email me to order a personalized copy if you'd prefer to send a check, or stop in to see us and save postage for your cash. Rick and I would love to see you!

I will offer you a sneak peek at one of the poems this book offers. This poem was written to commemorate the folk art that I often admired in a local antique store named Salt Marsh Antiques in Rowley, Massachusetts.

Having moved to Connecticut, Christopher Gurshin has his own website and now shares images of his work there. I've asked his permission to occasionally share one of his paintings  here, to accompany my words. He, in turn, has my permission to share my words with his work. Here is the poem, and an image of one of his  paintings that represents those I admired for so many years:

Then, There
by Terry Crawford Palardy

As though you are there, in your painting, you share 
The balance of work and rest earned 
The scenes you portray of a faded, soft day 
Or an evening just fallen, time turned. 

In your quieted hues, you offer hushed cues 
Of the values of effort and strength, 
The beautiful lines of the simpler times, 
sunlit workdays of limited length. 

As a glacier will melt to reveal what's concealed 
In its crystal clear center, the past, 
So the water you use when creating your hues 
Paints a moment so pure it will last. 

Time is still, in your work, without rush, in your brush 
As you labor alone, in that place. 
I work, too, but with pen. In my thoughts, it is then 
In that quieter world, I keep pace. 

When my pen's lost the view, I can find it anew, 
For you paint it, as though you are there 
What your work shows reminds us,
 though struggles may find us, 

There's a rest that is earned, one we share… 
The same rest that was earned then and there

I would love to receive a review of this poem, or of others in Poetry to Share, Vol. II. You can leave a review here as a comment (see 'comments' link below) or at Amazon or Goodreads, or via email (see header for my email: Though I've sent this book out to dozens of customers and friends, no one has yet written with feedback. Will you be the first?

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Writing for Readers

A teacup on a saucer.
A teacup on a saucer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My writing began, seriously, in fifth grade, when I had a teacher who appreciated poetry and a classmate who matched me poem for poem. My audience for those poems was my teacher, and I was careful to include rhyme, and meter, and optimism. Those were the things she valued in a poem. If she enjoyed the poem, she might read it to the class at the end of the school day. That was the ultimate reward, for she always read it with the title and author's name first.

My competitor was a red headed boy named Tommy; he and I shared an Irish/Scot background, and a love of words. For a while, he wrote about one thing and I wrote about another. I don't remember any of our poems, or topics chosen in the early part of the school year. But as the December holidays approached, we both chose to write about Christmas. He wrote about Santa and Frosty, and I wrote about the Madonna and the stable. We each left a poem on our teacher's desk every morning. We would watch as she sat at her desk through lunch time (and we sat at ours, opening metal lunch boxes and swapping cookies.)  There was  no cafeteria in the nineteen fifties, and students and teachers ate in the classrooms together. Conduct grades induced a quiet, healthier setting than the noisy cafeterias of today. She would sip her soup from a shiny silver spoon, and drink from her tea cup with her pinkie extended. And she would read our poetry before finishing her soup and tea. Her perfect white tea cup was always decorated with small foil stick-on stars of many colors, carefully and artfully applied by whichever student had been chosen that morning for good behavior. Each day it returned to her desk clean and fairly begging for decoration, and stood as another motivator for good conduct.

One day, following the third day in a row that she had chosen to read Tommy's poetry featuring talking snowmen and hungry reindeer, I dared to approach her desk at lunch time. When she saw my hand raised she raised her eyebrows and pursed her shiny red lips (which always left their imprint among the shiny stars on her tea cup.) She summoned me to her desk with a crook of her finger, barely perceptible to anyone but me. I walked carefully between  my classmates' desks, all bolted to the floor in perfect rows, but overflowing with precariously placed wax paper wrappings that exceeded the space left by the open lunchboxes. When I reached her desk I lifted my eyes from their cautious focus on the floor and my feet, and look into hers. I timidly asked "Did you like my poem today?"

Her normally placid expression was replaced with a serious look; her eyebrows went back down and her lips pressed together tightly. We looked at each other's eyes for a moment, and then hers looked down at her desk, and at the pages of poetry next to her tea cup. The classroom was so quiet I realized that no one was breathing, or chewing, or sipping warm milk through a straw. I waited.

"I did like your poem, Miss Crawford, but I cannot read it to the class. You have a strong faith, and have shared that in your poems this week. But it is not a faith that I can share with your classmates. There are rules about things like that, here in the classroom."

I didn't know whether to smile and thank her for liking my poem, or apologize for writing the wrong kind of poem. My lip began to tremble, and my clasped hands sprung apart, to avoid the appearance of being folded in prayer. I nodded my head in acceptance, and made no comment. Her eyes returned to mine then, and kindness seeped between us. With a small smile, I walked back between the rows of desks looking straight ahead while my classmates quickly moved wax papers away from the edges of their desks.

I wrote no more poetry that year, and the following year, having reached sixth grade and approaching puberty, I, like my two older sisters before me, was sent to the nuns and attended all girl parochial schools for the next five years, during which I wrote no poetry. We still had no cafeteria, and as the building was very old and condemned by the city's building codes there was no running water, either. Those who lived nearby went home for their lunch, and we who lived out of parish sat outside on the school steps, or might be invited by a classmate to go home with friends, or went to the convent to "use the facilities." But when my family moved out of the city, I returned to a public high school, boys and girls together. And the poetry resumed.

If you read here yesterday, you know of the special offer for my book of Poetry to Share Vol. I. It is on sale this week at my webstore, where you can order a personalized, autographed copy for half-price. There are only four left, and the sale ends this week. It is also half-price this week at (see message in the side bar, above.)

But next week, I'll offer Vol. II the same way!
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Poetry to Share on a Hot Day in June

Oh, it is still hot. Ninety-five degrees outside my windows,  but with the shades drawn, and a single fan moving the air, the house is still in the seventies and bearable - as long as I sit here. Getting up to move around is risking more heat, and going through the cool kitchen into the back room to move laundry through the washer and out to dry in the sun is inviting an increase in fatigue, blurred vision and tilted walking due to multiple sclerosis, complicated by my need to wear a hat, sunscreen and long sleeves and pant legs because of the new diagnosis of melanoma.

I would much rather stay here in the cool north-facing living room, checking the emails, visiting Facebook, and writing here at the blog. I have begun writing a new volume of poetry, one that will deal with the diagnoses and changes that Rick and I have experienced in my first year of retirement. Our 'happily ever after' years have begun, and we are enjoying the time we have, the spontaneity our new  lack of schedule provides, and the good weather we have had through this winter and spring. The summer heat will be a challenge for  us, but we can move slowly, drink lots of water, and stop and rest when we must.

Reading poetry is something that slows my breathing down, and cools me off. I've been offering volume one of Poetry to Share all this week at CreateSpace with a fifty percent discount, and a few people have ordered it there already. But you can also order it through my website, Beyond Old Windows, and receive the same discount and an autographed copy. Please take advantage of that; I can send it to you faster than Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the publisher. Only my readers of this blog have that offer, but I don't mind it you share it with friends. Just drop me an email at to let me know who you might want the personal autograph addressed to.

I'm going to give you a sample here that is different than the one Amazon offers. This is a free verse I wrote about the special time I spent with my mother in her last months: 

Rain Sketches
We sat together, Mum and I
On the home’s piano bench
She played her favorite tune for me
The bright room hid the storm beyond
Until we moved to face head on
And sat to watch the rain come down
We sat together, Mum and I
Before the rain soaked window pane
Our faces altered by the water’s path 

Through sheets of water, dark of night
We sat and watched the sky turn bright
As lightning changed our reflections 

In her face I thought I saw mine
In my face I knew I saw hers
But water streaming changed us both

We sat together, Mum and I
Her mother’s face was next in view
Her aunts’ and older sisters', too
The rain continued changing us
Reminding us of those we’d loved
Rewarding us with memories 

We sat together, Mum and I
With common features I knew then
That though she too would leave us soon 

I’d find her in a well lit room
When next the rain darkened the night
And falling rain would show her face in mine

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I know it is hot. But please consider becoming a blood donor. Because of the melanoma I cannot donate blood for at least 12 months. Here is an email I received today from the American Red Cross. I had made an appointment but had to cancel it. No Fenway T-shirt for me. But you can get one!

The American Red Cross' supply of O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative blood is currently low as hospital usage has been outpacing donations. Blood donations have been down during the first five months of 2012. Only about half the amount of blood that was available at this same time last year is available today.

Each day an average of 44,000 pints of blood are needed in the U.S., which can only come from generous volunteer donors. Please make an appointment to donate blood in the coming days to ensure patient needs can be met.

If you are eligible, you are encouraged to double the impact of your donation by giving two pints of red cells through double red cell donation. Click here to learn more about double red cell donation and the eligibility requirements.

Come in to donate blood this June and you will receive:
- a free 100th Anniversary Fenway t-shirt.
- a coupon for a free 24 pack of Nice! Spring Water and a coupon for up to 20% off from Walgreens.¹
- a chance to win two Boston Red Sox tickets and to be honored at Fenway Park as the Blood Donor of the Game™.²

Schedule your appointment now by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visiting Thank you!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Quality Time with Quilts

The Saga of the Quilts continues here. I have spent some quality time with both orphan quilts that came to me thirty-odd years ago. I've come to think of them as symbols of that other time, whenever that time might have been.

At that time, there clearly were women who had enough time to consider art. One way that they would practice their artistic skills was with fabric. No two quilts are exactly alike, even if the intent was to follow a pattern. There are color variations, and stitch variations. Some quilts follow existing patterns, and others are individually designed.

The two quilts that came to me are similar in age and in fabric, but very very different in detail. I've had an opportunity to talk over the phone with one of the ladies who work at the New  England Quilt Museum in Lowell, and I've learned quite a bit just in that short conversation. I told her that the Crazy Quilt seemed not to be complete, as it had no filling. She told me that crazy quilts were not meant to have a filling; and, though I didn't think to ask her, I wondered if that was because the finishing touches on a crazy quilt involved decorative border stitches that would be difficult to accomplish through three layers. I'll have a chance to ask about that in September, as I've made a reservation for her and her staff to consult on my two orphan quilts. They will  'appraise' the quilts, not in financial terms but in age, fabric, and perhaps location. They will know if these quilts used fabric made in Lowell or elsewhere, and they'll give an approximation of the age of the quilt. For their time and expertise, they ask a small fee: $15.00 per quilt for non-members, or $10 for members. I told her I would sign up for membership: $45.00, or $30.00 for people over age sixty. I will join the museum, as I'll have time now to visit it to see the exhibits as they rotate through. And I'll invest the small fee to learn more about the quilts. And then, perhaps, I'll be able to write their story.

I did ask her if she might want the quilts for the museum, and she asked me if they were museum quality. I smiled and said no, they were tattered and stained, and now further weakened by my careless washing. She did say that if the quilts had something that the museum was missing in their collection, they might accept them. And if not, I will keep them until someone else might need them.

After talking with her, I went back to the dining room, where the Crazy Quilt was still spread out like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. I looked differently at it now; square by square, each seemed to have been created by a different person, and I began to imagine this as a 4-H project, with a group of youngsters using the same basket of remnant fabrics to cover their 15-inch square uniquely. But each square's fabrics were machine sewn with precision, as was the binding made of the back fabric, and so the thought of different people didn't fit. I then thought of a young person making a first quilt with odd discarded remnants of the family's cast- offs, and then losing interest in the project and finishing it hastily to go on to something else ... perhaps the Dresden Plate quilt. It, too, was machine sewn with precision, but with much brighter and better coordinated fabrics. And after being machine sewn together, some hand quilting of all three thin layers was done, suggesting to me that this quilt had special meaning to someone.

I have finished pinning the Crazy Quilt back together, with now only a few original pieces missing. I will not sew it, nor fill in the blank spaces, until after the museum has had a chance to assess it. I'm posting a  picture of it here, spread evenly on the floor, so that you can see that it is composed of twenty-five 15 x 15 inch squares. It measures 75 x 75 inches, each square with layered print fabrics on a solid white muslin piece, and the finished squares are all sewn together with 1/4 inch seams. The Dresden Plate quilt (and that is the correct name for the pattern, I learned from one of the quilter sites posted at the bottom of yesterday's blog) is also square in shape, but measures smaller than the Crazy Quilt. It has a flannel-feeling layer between the front and back, giving it a bit more weight and fullness. Both quilts are backed with small patterned cotton calico, carefully seamed to fit the wider-than-bolt-width size of the quilts.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

An old {Dresden Plate} ? quilt survived the washing machine.

I thought it was a Dresden Quilt, but no, I've got the wrong name for this pattern. I think it is a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt. 

Yes, this Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt fared better despite my impulsive treatment. This one, too, went into the washing machine, but did not come out un-stitched, separated or frazzled. Well, it was already a bit frazzled, simply by age and the rough treatment it had long before it arrived in my hands.

This quilt and its partner Crazy Quilt, which I wrote about in yesterday's blog page, were used as padding for moving furniture. The story I know (but no doubt hardly the beginning of the story) began in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, at a small cottage turned home, in the early nineteen seventies.

My brother-in-law's sister was leaving her home,  and my husband and brother-in-law were helping to pack up her belongings. The two quilts had somehow found their way to her, and in turn now found their way to me.

This one, the Dresden Plate or Grandmother's Flower Garden, was in fairly good shape and pleasantly colored and patterned, and so I used it to cover the clothes dryer in the front entry room of our first home. It was there for a few years until we, too, were moving to a larger home, our 'forever' home, our 'happily ever after' home. This home has a laundry behind doors, and so the quilt and its partner were tucked away in storage, first in an upstairs closet, and later relegated to the shop's office in the barn. There it stayed for several more years.

Recently, after talking with someone who knows old quilts, and knows people who are interested in preserving women's history through the quilts they made, I brought the two orphan quilts back into the house. We were planning to hold a local quilter's exhibition at the town library, and I thought these two might make interesting topics of conversation.

But, as I explained yesterday, the quilts were musty and needed cleaning, and impulsively, without thought for their age, I put them in the washing machine.  This one, at least, came through its ordeal intact.

View of University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lo...
To protect them from any further unintended damage, my plan is to offer them to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. I'm told that the workers and volunteers of the museum have begun a registry for quilts made in Massachusetts. Lowell was a major textile manufacturing center, and women in large numbers made up a considerable portion of the labor force.

The materials in both these quilts are varied and include many patterns that might well be the patterns produced in the Lowell Mills. If the museum will have them, I'll feel that the circle is complete, and these quilts will be appreciated for the art they represent. One is so carefully measured, cut, and symmetrically arranged to create a calm, pleasing pattern; the other is as carefully measured and cut but creates a disjointed, oddly-patterned abstract form of art.

Each one complements the other, showing that not all women think alike. Their quilts are their legacy, finally being told and celebrated in Lowell, and through Lowell, around the world.  Lowell has sent quilts for exhibition in Padukah, Kentucky, and to Japan.

Readers can visit the quilt museum personally or virtually. I'll put a link to the museum at the bottom of this page, and one to the story of the Lowell Mill Girls, and I encourage you to visit them, and consider supporting their efforts.
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Restoration, Evolution, and a Review

Years and years ago, perhaps as many as forty  years ago, Rick went to help our brother in law Kip help his sister move out of her small summer home near the shore. She had been in that house every summer for as many decades and had accumulated a great deal of ... some would say trash and some would say treasure. Rick and Kip went to help her downsize and move into a senior housing apartment. When they finished moving her furniture and boxing her treasures, they asked what she would like to do with the two old quilts that had been used to cushion her furniture for the move. She said they could let those go, for a neighbor long since passed had given them to her for the summer house. Kip, never one to throw something away, asked Rick if he thought I would like to have them. And so Rick brought them home.

We were living then in our own small house, and the quilts were very worn and in places tattered. They were summer coverlets, really, with no batting in between the pieced tops and the solid fabric backs. I thanked them for thinking of me, and put them in the entryway room, a catchall-closet type room where clutter accumulated and adopted whatever was added to it. When we moved from that house to our happily ever after home, the quilts came with us and were stored out in the workshop/barn.

But this week, I had a chance to talk with another quilter, one who takes quilting very seriously, and who works at the small quilt museum in Lowell, where they treasure old quilts made here in Massachusetts. Lowell was a textile city in the nineteenth century, and so they are interested in old quilts that may include those fabrics. I told her that I had two quilts that might be interesting but I had no history of them, no labels, no names. She and I are organizing a quilt exhibit to showcase local quilters' work at our local library and so I told  her I would bring them, thinking we might use them if not as local quilts, but perhaps for table coverings.

In my enthusiasm for the local quilters exhibit, I took the two quilts out of the shed. All I was thinking was that they smelled musty and needed to be washed. Now, I know how old quilts must be washed ... they are to be put in a large tub, washed by hand with a gentle soap, rinsed, pressed and rolled with thick towels to remove most of the water, and then air-dried on a clothesline or porch railing. But none of that logical, rational treatment entered my mind. Instead, auto-pilot kicked in and thoughtlessly loaded them into the washing machine!  Only when the buzzer beeped to tell me they were done did it dawn on me. Why I did that, I cannot explain. I guess I would only call this a "senior moment?"

The crazy quilt really took a beating. When Rick and I carried it outside to hang on the line, a few sections separated, and remnants fell free. Humbled, and embarrassed, and very, very sorry, I took the quilt in later and folded it as best I could. But last night, after reading 'week one' in Julie's book*, I took it into the dining room and spread it out on  the table (and on the chairs) and began guessing where the fallen fragments might belong. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the quilt had been pieced on sixteen inch squares of muslin ... and I think that is how I will re-build it. Square by square, oddly-shaped piece by piece, I will have to take the rest of the squares apart and then stitch them back together again. And finished, it will still be odd looking, and faded, and worn. But it will be appreciated by those ladies in that little quilt museum for what it was once, and what it then became, and what it now is.

And I believe that the same can be said for me, and for this blog. There is value in creativity, and in order to have it be appreciated, it must be shared. I'll put more into the blog now and then: some of my quilting, some of my poetry, and some of the beautiful things that Rick builds in the barn. There are still many more books to be reviewed, and some to be showcased.  Stay with me as this blog restoration evolves. I promise it will be, as I used to say to my students when I gave them back a rough draft with notations, "even better."

*****     *****     *****

And now, back to the book shelf:

The Blackmail Club, A Jack McCall Mystery by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club
had a tough bill to fill: measuring up to the attribution of David Bishop, Author. The book succeeds in maintaining that Bishop reputation by sharing well developed characters who have a past revealed through quiet memories of the main character, Jack McCall. Jack, his perky, attractive and intelligent partner Nora team up with a congenial, jovial retired police officer, Max. This savvy trio follow leads up and down hill, bringing both satisfaction and suffering to the characters. The secondary characters are as well detailed, each bringing his or her own back story to the book. Bishop's own intelligence background and knowledge seeps through his characters and makes it easy for readers to admire their strategies and observations.

What Bishop does particularly well in this story is include people who live a mainstream life while managing a fringe existence. Avoiding stereotyping these practices, he includes them in the readers field of vision, and uses innuendo as well as subterfuge to spare the innocent and gently reveal the guilty. Very well done, Mr. Bishop. I am, as always, impressed!

*****     *****     *****

Don't forget, Teaching Vol. I is still on sale today at CreateSpace (see the discount code and url in the sidebar) and Multiple Sclerosis an Enigma is FREE today at Smashwords with the special discount code. The discount code is UN83W. To use the code, go to and enter the code at checkout. I would love to read a review at Smashwords, Amazon or Goodreads for these two books. Thank you for reading and sharing them.
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Three Five Star Reviews for Teaching Vol. I at Amazon

I published this book one year ago, a time when I was approaching the last days of my career in teaching. A mellow mood colored those days of transition; thirty years of teaching behind me, and an unknown number of years ahead.

A  great deal of time that month was spent in sorting my collection of teaching paraphernalia into those three familiar piles: Keep, Discard, and Share. I'd done a lot of moving around in those thirty years, and the four years that I spent in this last classroom were the easiest to close out, materially speaking. In that setting, I taught only 8th grade US History. The teacher who would be in that room after me would bring his own collections with him, but might appreciate much of what I'd added to the room. And if not, he could sort them into his own Keep, Discard, and Share piles.

Publishing this collection of columns written for Phi Kappa Phi's Forum provided the closure I sought.  I am happy to share here with you the three reviews that were posted at Amazon:


Dave, a fellow middle school teacher who eased my transition to 8th grade, wrote:
This collection of essays presents key issues in education to both parents and educators in an approachable, easy going manner. Ms. Palardy's writing is grounded in her long career as an educator and a parent and this book is appropriate for both. She uses common experiences and dialogue to delve into topics ranging from education reform to the usefulness of homework and the rank book. The development of each child intellectually, socially and emotionally is a common thread. As an educator, I am familiar with the topics she takes on, but her writing led me to look more carefully at my own practice and approach. Though the pieces were written a few years ago, the ideas continue to be very relevant today.


Floyd, the principal of our middle school and co-author of "Questions Worth Asking", wrote:
As a parent, teacher and administrator, I found "Teaching" to be a thoughtful and insightful reflection of issues that transcend teaching and learning. Each article speaks to the social, emotional, and academic concerns facing students, parents, and teachers. The author, Terry Palardy, is obviously an experienced educator. Her understanding of young adult learners is to be applauded.


Jeff, a teacher and author whom I met on Facebook, wrote:
     In Teaching: Education and Academics at the turn of the century, Terry Crawford Palardy writes with compassion, care and love for her profession and her students. They must have been lucky to have her as a teacher.
      In a series of essays, Palardy explores timeless educational issues from her experienced perspective. She asks pertinent questions from varying perspectives. In Pendulum, we get a subtle, yet painfully accurate warning that the educational trends swing to extremes. (The current top-down business model of education may have been avoided if those who create education policy were forced to teach elementary school for one year.) Her intelligent writing explores various methods, addresses the intricacies involved in grading and grade inflation, and ends with a discussion with the principal demonstrating educators concerns for more than just academics. I was reading Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education concurrent with Teaching: Education and Academics at the turn of the century, alternating between the two and on a couple occasions, I forgot which I was reading. That puts Palardy in very good company. Palardy is now retired and she is reflecting on her career in education. Let's hope she continues to shed light on an often misunderstood profession.
      I am always a bit apprehensive when a fellow writer has favorably reviewed my fiction and then later I review their own work. The task was made easier because Teaching: Education and Academics at the turn of the century is nonfiction, and I write mostly fiction. Still, in this case, it's even more satisfying to enthusiastically give five stars.

~Jeffrey Penn May, author of No Teacher Left Standing


Please don't forget that this book in paperback format is available THIS WEEK at with a 40% discount (see the discount code in the upper right margin of this blog page). The Kindle is also priced lower, and the Nook will be on sale today through  Saturday midnight at Smashwords. the discount code for the Smashwords is EJ83S

 I like it when things come in threes, don't you?
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