Sunday, February 28, 2016


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About 35 people showed up at a nationwide rally for Bernie Sanders for President. We gathered in a parking lot in Sonora, and flashed signs at the passing traffic. I've sat on the fence between Hillary, Trump and Bernie.  Hillary has worked hard in public service most of her life and has done wonderful things for others. But, she has wrapped herself in the arm of an unpopular, disappointing  president. Then, after promising she would not take super-pac money against her own party, she has. Not only wall street money but Monsanto, the GMO giant who spends billions to prevent states from labeling where our food comes from and whether it is genetically modified or not. That did it for me. Establishment politics, the failed machine that is inducing companies to go off shore, avoid taxes and take away good jobs from Americans?  Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates mandating change away from the establishment.
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Trump says nothing and Sanders very little about climate change while massive extinctions and weather change are playing havoc with our planet. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we on the ground, must shed the ingrained deniers, people who refuse to acknowledge science. We must shed a do nothing congress, promoting government shutdowns and working lock-step for their party instead of people. If a working person refuses to do his job, he gets fired. How dare Mitch McConnell state he will not even have a hearing on an appointee suggested by a sitting President, whether he is liked or not?
Trump and Sanders represent desperately needed change. Can they get us out of gridlock? I don't know.
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Environmental issues are foremost in the minds of others I met. Keep coal, fossil fuels in the ground. Support wind and solar. I talked with a bee keeper who lives in a pristine area where his bees are turning his garden and orchard into super  production, in a time when Monstanto and Bayer Chemicals are causing colony collapse across the nation. I'm hoping for a candidate that will make sure the laws we already have on the books are obeyed, like those from the EPA and the FDA and the Forest Service. All are sidestepping regulations when we are literally in danger of earthshaking consequences of fracking, contaminated water, shortages of clean water, decimating natural habitats for profit over nature. We and our institutions are under attack and they are ignoring our laws. How dare they get away with that stuff? They do it by under funding the organizations we depend on.
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The group marched along the highway, and into a shopping center. One man was so angry, I thought he was going to attack us. He called us Communists and Socialists. Bernie is an unapologetic Socialist. The angry man wouldn't talk rationally with us, like is he on Social Security? Does he use Medicare. Has he ridden on a train or does he drive on our socialistic roads? Has he used water from behind a dam? Come on. We all benefit from shared expenditures. Socialist countries like Sweden and Denmark, and Canada and France and many programs in Great Britain have provided a good quality of life even though big Pharma will tell you socialized medicine is about waiting in lines for poor quality medical care.  Biased they are. They don't mention the wonderful government sponsored childcare and education. Roosevelt made sweeping changes that saved people with his socialistic programs that corporate America has tried to dismantle ever since. Are we better off? Not hardly when it takes two or three income sources for middle class people to keep the wolf from the door. When people with college educations are slinging hash.
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Bernie is against the consolidation of big banks, and the notion that Wall Street's obligation is to make obscene amounts of money while working people are struggling to feed their kids. The system is out of whack. Trump feels the business model is the best way to run a country. Trump makes statements about laws he is going to pass that aren't practical like building a bigger wall. A bigger wall isn't going to stop the drug cartels who have already moved across the border. Nor stop people from entering the country unless you fence the entire country and put a net over the airspace. He also bothers me because he makes statements and then denies he made them. Even so, Rubio in five yeas has produced ZERO bills and his absenteeism is compared to Finestein who is 82 and Kirk who has had a stroke.  Cruz is more concerned with moral issues than the planet, or government working for working people. I'd run with Trump over them and figure he'd be smart enough to figure it out.
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Suffice it to say, there is no perfect candidate. If there is, I haven't heard about him or her. So, for the time being, I'm hanging in with Bernie. IMG_2824 (Copy)

I believe this is true. He really does care for all.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


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Two big projects keep me busy and off-blog. I'm organizing and selling a huge stamp collection. And, I'm completing my mother's genealogy. Before she died, I promised her I would submit five generations with proofs, that she had worked years to complete, to the Mormon Genealogy Library. It is one of the largest in the world. However, the old days of submitting a pedigree book with hand or typewritten information, following your lineage for five generations, the only amount the library would accept, is no longer done that way.
 Meet Debra Newcum, left and Jean Oliver from the Family History Center at the Latter Day Saints Church in Murphys.  Debra is doing her Mission in the area for 18 months. Jean is head of the church's  Family History Center. I made an appointment with Debra over a month ago, choosing what I thought was an open spot in my calendar. I figured three days, it would be done. A vast new world awaited me. Genealogy is done on a computer and uploaded on-line. It is through their free program with multiple tools that can take you back to first recorded records. Jean, for instance,was able to trace her descendants to the 1600's. Debra had to go to Britain to physically get her records at great cost before this program was available. In the Mormon faith, when multiple marriages were encouraged to increase the clan and colonize, following a family tree is more complicated than most. I was blown away. I suspect I will be spending a year on my project.  I'll try to make it interesting enough to get you started on your family tree.

 I also recommend the PBS program, Finding Your Roots which is done with amazing insights into famous people who know nothing, or very little, about their descendants. Last week they found a first. A descendant that was burned at stake for being a witch. More interesting than fiction.
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Getting my stamp collection organized for sale, I also considered a week at most.  I had forgotten how massive my collection is and how much work I'd left to be done. I kept buying stamps as I was raising kids and living a demanding life, thinking I'd get back to it "later".  Later is here and I'm stunned. There is much work involved, but I'm enjoying my stamp collection for the first time in years. I'd forgotten how much history there is surrounding stamps. And, how much family and friends seep through from simple handwriting, addresses and post marks on envelopes.
A local store is named "Stories In Stones".  There are stories in stamps and genealogy both. What an adventure I'm enjoying.

I must limit this entry because I have a tenant moving. Refurbishing it after  seven years of one occupant, driving to Oakland, considering paint, new counter tops, upgraded cabinets and so on. Decisions to be made and attended to. Life is never static. Ciao

Saturday, February 20, 2016


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Loretta Sanchez met with locals at the Murphys Hotel. She has served in the House of Representatives for 19 years and is aiming to win Barbara Boxer's seat in the Senate when Boxer retires. It is rare that we find someone of her caliber in our small rural county. She didn't whiz in and whiz out with a canned speech like so many of them do. She spent the whole day. She got a tour of government center, visited the Butte Fire burn area. Talked to people frustrated and discouraged over issues in rebuilding their houses at their property. Next, at the Angels Camp   Arts Emporium, she listened while fire victims shared their stories. Some are taking debris from the fire and making it into a memorial art piece as a way of dealing with devastating loss. Last evening, she spent several hours with people, listening and answering questions before, during and after her speech.
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Loretta's background has all the elements of a Horatio Alger story. Her parents were Mexican immigrants who came to the United States for a better life. Like most immigrants, her father worked hard, with determination to achieve middle class comforts while her mother cared for their seven children.  In 1956, Loretta was the first child entered into Project Head Start, a pilot program to give disadvantaged children a chance to close the gap in beginning education. She credits that government program with her success today. All seven of the Sanchez children graduated college.  A first in the country, Loretta and her sister, Linda Sanchez, both serve in the House of Representatives. When her children were launched, Mrs. Sanchez got her college degree and taught in public schools for 17 years. The family is from Orange County.
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I took pictures of a cross-section of the community. Middle aged marrieds.
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Local women of stature.
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Young students from Bret Harte High School.

I don't know all of the people I photographed.  Beth De Lima told me she is a staunch republican as she talks to Will Moore, a Democratic Delegate.  
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(Photo, Merita Calloway and Jack Garamendi).  Sanchez is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. She fashions herself as a moderate who sees a strong role for government programs in some places, but not in others. She also says, "I'm a bean counter. I like to know, if a colleague is proposing a program, I ask, can we afford this? And, if we can't, can we do it another way?" She earned a masters in business and finance and worked as a financial adviser before becoming a Rep.
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When answering questions, one person asked about the Government's threat to throw Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in jail if he doesn't open the encryption of the terrorists phone?  Her answer, is probably news by now. She said, "We have to respect individual privacy. No one can come and search your house without getting a court supported warrant. Likewise, the government cannot peek into people's phones. The answer is that Apple can open this one phone for the information without giving the government a back door to everyone's phone."
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She spoke about ISIS, and the crumbling of states in other countries hosting terror and why dealing with them must include their boots on the ground. She works as a NATO representative making sure that other world nations cooperate and invest in these areas to bring them back into the economy and into a positive position of cooperation with neighbor nations. You can't just go to war continually to solve problems. 
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Sanchez has a reputation for working the aisle and the experience to hit the ground ready "day-one" as Barbara Boxer's replacement. She's pro-business and works well with Republicans and Democrats. Her stance is what we expect of our representatives, work it out and get the job done. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016


The Democratic Establishment: corrupt, mendacious sellouts.

There, I said it.

You’ve seen what I’ve seen. Take the Presidential campaign. The Democratic Party schedules Presidential debates during NFL playoff games, to try to ensure that no one takes any interest whatsoever in our Presidential campaign or our issues, so that name-recognition will carry the day. The Democratic Party cuts off one Presidential candidate’s access to the most important tool of campaigning, the voter file, not long before the first primary. The Democratic Party quietly repeals the prohibition against accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists.
God forbid that our voters might choose someone that our party elites might not want – someone who is not as corrupt and feckless as they are.
Why don’t we just call it what it has become: the UnDemocratic Party.
And the funniest/saddest thing is that the Party Politburo does it with one excuse and one excuse only: that they are choosing “the strongest candidate for November.”
Excuse me?
Our Party Politburo is so deeply incompetent that they shouldn’t even be choosing lottery ticket numbers, much less candidates. Based on their track record, I wouldn’t even trust them with paper vs. plastic. They would screw up a one-car parade.
And yet the party bosses want to seize the power – from our voters – to decide whom our candidates should be. Their motto is simple: “the voters be damned.” Or as Joni Mitchell once put it, “don’t interrupt the sorrow.”

This is an edited version of what a prominent, former democratic Senator had to say about our process of selecting a candidate. It is a basic quarrel with the convention delegates and how they are "designated" from their home party to select a candidate. I tend to think the same way as the "corrupt, mendacious sellouts", I want someone who is strong enough to win. But, he has a point too, that we don't trust the people on the ground to decide what is best for us and I'm rethinking my mental alliance with the powers that be. I trust that the people are disgusted and they know best. But, do I trust the candidate to fend off the opposition in the general election when attack ads, and lies will muddy the waters and sway voters away from ideal candidates?

Sadly true.  Party control is an issue in both parties that can overwhelm the refreshing voice of true reformers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016



Before he died, Thomas Trump let loose about his nephew, "The Donald."

I looked into the family Trump on-line and learned that Donald's brother, Fred, chose not to be in the very rich family business and became a pilot instead. He also became an alcoholic and died of his alcoholism.  Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump Sr., cut his son, Fred Trump Jr., out of the will on the grounds that the man was an alcoholic. This was done at the instigation of his other son, Donald. Fred junior’s children took the issue to court to contest the will. At which point, the Tyrant Trump, the adulterer, racist, misogynist, isolationist, preacher of hate, showed his true family values.  One of Fred Jr.'s children, a young boy with cerebral palsy, suffered from seizures. Trump had been paying for the child’s treatment. Once the will was contested, Donald decided that he wouldn’t pay for the boy's medical care anymore. Such a nice guy.

If Trump has absolutely no scruples about screwing his own family over for money, including a  sick little boy, he also shows that he will have no remorse about destroying the lives, families and children of others if he becomes president. Especially if they’re unworthy like Hispanics, Muslims, low women or ordinary blue-collar American workers. For all his bucks, I didn't see any philanthropy in Donald's business.  Too bad he didn't equate himself with his Uncle Thomas, the Carnegies, the Standfords, Bill Gates and other men of wealth who were thankful for the opportunities offered by a great nation.  I guess he doesn't believe in true American values.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


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Women treasure their friendships and plant deep roots with each other. Lizz Emerson is one of the strongest women I know. Out of a job? No problem, I'll have one tomorrow. From a non-opportunistic background, with no education, she raised her children, on her own, since they were little. One daughter has been a city supervisor and is now running for congress. Another has her own catering business in Sacramento. Both success oriented like mom.  Lizz, called me and said, I couldn't make your birthday party, so its belated birthday party time. I'll bring the food, what do you like? I told her I like vegetarian food and, voila. Let it be done.
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Hor's de ouevres.
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A Mexican casserole with fresh corn, and olives rolled in lasagna noodles.
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A Greek spinach and cheese casserole. She brought the food cooked, and placed cheese on top before we put it in the oven to warm-up.
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She brought all the condiments, a Greek salad and dessert, too. I didn't get pictures of everything. Plus, her instructions were that she wanted every guest to go home with food.
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First to arrive was Jan Stewart, who also couldn't attend my 75th. I like to describe Jan as an expert at pushing all the negatives away, forgetting them and making haste to see sunshine in everything and everyone. She practices esoteric healing and she practices love. Love thy neighbor, love thy neighbor's dog, love all children, help everyone you can. I'm grateful to be in her sphere and have felt her love and helpfulness.
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Karen Phillips is my housemate. She's been with me for 10 years. Loyal, conscientious, she literally keeps the home fires burning.  I could not have chosen a rambling lifestyle without her. Gathering my mail, watering my plants, keeping my place looked after and occupied. You name it, she does it. An excellent cook, she feeds me when I'm busy. This picture was taken in 2010.
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Margo and Pam were the last to arrive. Pam Quyle, raised a son on her own with no support.  Pam is a potter and drives a big truck delivering clay all over the Bay Area, besides making pots. She has one day a week off and arrived straight from work. Harried and tired she said, POUR THE WINE.

Margo Osborn has a son, a grandchild, divorced and in her late 60's and continues to work. I love talking to Margo because she has such a diverse background and speaks with ease on any subject. Both she and Pam are associated with the wine industry. Margo's winery was sold and she is the only employee retained from the former staff. Lucky for them, she is the most popular wine advocate in the county, as in "everybody knows Margo." She speaks several languages and has a magic way with people. She was in Italy during my birthday party.

We managed to discuss all subjects important to women with no men around, as in breasts, bras, sex, men, food, life, shoes, healing our wounded souls and bodies as we age. Not necessarily in that order.
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Pam took a picture of all of us.
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And, someone took a picture of she and I. We share so many experiences. Lizz making me go out on New Years the year my husband died. Pam's 25 year old son taking his first steps on my deck. Karen and I learning together how to deal with her adversarial boss. Jan performing reiki and meditative healing when my spirits were low. From Margo flows hiking club, zumba, health, sharing and "yes, let's do it." Our roots are deep. Girlfriends. Sisters all. Happy Valentines day.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Everyone admits to having a junk drawer. A place to store something of a temporary nature, or something you don't want to toss, but what good is it to keep? It ends up in the junk drawer. I have too many junk drawers.
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My daughter-in-law came for the weekend since "the guys" meaning my sons, and old high school friends have this big mega bash every year over super bowl weekend. They play poker, drink a lot of beer, golf on Sunday morning...well you get the picture. So Laurie and I poked around my junk drawers for stuff for a project she is working on. The picture was taken after we reduced the quantity of junk in the drawers by half.
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It was really nice because I cleaned out a large bag of crochet yarn that I'll never use.  I took out most of my button collection;  It filled three large cigar boxes. Ribbons and badges from Community Club events will hopefully find a home in the local museum. Much of it represented past volunteer activities and some travel items like the museum patches above. Whoever heard of such obscure museums as the National Skating Museum?  The Cartoon Art Museum. I've been to an Eye Glass museum, a Bait Museum, a Knife Museum, a Funeral Museum, Bead Museums...   On the road with Jim, I (we)  visited every museum that came to our attention, no matter the subject or size. I wonder sometimes,  how many I've visited?
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Among the buttons were whirley-gigs  I made when two young nieces and a nephew came to visit for a week one summer. I also taught them to play Hide The Button.
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My mother visited Pope John Paul II when he visited San Francisco so many years ago. I have her holy cards, relics and a purported piece of the crucifixion cross; a metal from every California Mission she visited and more. My intention was to make a collage with her things. I'm  inspired anew.
I couldn't hold in two hands the number of metal pins I saved with messages such as:  Our Owner's Gay, from Chatom Vineyards. Elect Jeffrey's for Sheriff; Warning: I go from 0 to Bitch in 3.5 seonds; USA Olympics, 2002; Chocolate Makes the World Go Round. TV4UBYU and so on. Useless.  Junk. For the Junk drawer.
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LaurIE and I enjoyed the process. I got my fix of "fur" for a couple of days. Koko sat on my lap for a bit while we watched three episodes of Home Fires on DVD. We cooked and ate well, too. Idiotically, I didn't take a picture of Laurie, just Koko and Bix.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


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Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly...I can't help it. It's what happens to me when I get my art fix.  I want to be part poet and part artist wannabe, all mixed up.  No flies here. Inside Manzanita Arts Emporium the bold work of Cate Culver greets you. Deep glorious colors. A small entrance draws you in to her powerful work.
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Then the next long room; great wall space filled to capacity. Here I view wood cuts done by John Trinkle.
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He made this table that retains the shape of the tree trunk, polished to enhance the natural grain.  Don't miss the bottom shelf. Gorgeous.

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I mentioned bold. This gallery is like something you'd see in San Francisco. Some hotelier will find Gary Rose's pieces perfect for a lobby. This installation takes up about 10 feet in length.
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Gary does smaller pieces suitable for the average home, too.  Again, the word powerful comes to mind.
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In the next room is Monika Rose, busily editing a 500 page book...
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...with her partner Joy Roberts. They are working on different chapters.
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The Arts Emporium is a co-op owned gallery and office. Another partner, Connie Strawbridge is researching something on the computer. This is Calaveras County? Local talent? I'm impressed. I kept moving from room to room.
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Giles Parrish does abstracts of women. Again, they are bold, engaging paintings.
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I have to admit a bias for his work since I own a couple of his pieces.
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Dimensional metal sculptures, catch the eye. Sizable pieces as well are from Wanda Macioszek and her husband Robert Santiford.
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I detect the difference in style, but who does pine cones and who does quail, I do not know. They are all good.
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Patty Payne horses are unique.
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If you love a paint pony, this rendition is quite literal.
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Another Cate Culver painting, but look at the copy cat quilt made by Linda Bass. A different kind of partnership, in art.
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Kevin Brady is also a well known area artist. This small rendition is the Frogs Last Supper.
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You will find beautiful art cards. Also local writer's books for sale.
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Ceramics by James Aaron and others.
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Another room in the building, is owned by a person I did not meet. There I spotted a Judy Caine Papais painting, an old friend whose work I know and admire. She has a rammed earth studio in the high country. Her work is well-known in the area, as is Monika Rose for her teaching writing, and publishing the work of local writers in prose, memoirs, and poetry. It has been her passion for, I'm guessing, 30 years. She is an amazing force for literary talent in this county. Connie Strawbridge came out of the Calaveras Arts Council Gallery and is now flying with a place on the street in Angels Camp,  Manzanita Arts Emporium.  She is an agent for Giles Parrish's work.
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I like that there is much to choose from.
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Under this display is an antique table for sale. We know that art and antiques are a splendid mix.
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I'm blown away by what this small group is offering and by the quality of local talent. Manzanita Emporium offers a series of lectures and speakers, one coming about Navy aircraft carriers with Bob Rogers and Judy Laws. Another on social media by Brett Bunge. And in honor of Valentines Day, Romantic Poetry by Suzanne Murphy. 

Check out their website at: