Holiday Greeting Cards & 2016 Calendar | Yellowstone Deadline 11/16

It’s that time of year … When the bells jingle, dreidels are spun, houses are decorated, and families gather.

If you haven’t chosen your holiday cards this year or would like my new calendar (all photos are mine from my trip this summer), here’s an opportunity. I’m taking orders now, so make your purchase by Monday, 11/16 noon MST and I’ll have them ready to ship Priority Mail by 11/20. Feel free to mix and match the card designs (instructions below).

**For some reason my PayPal code is not working on WordPress. If you wish to order please use this link: http://www.lafcustomdesigns.com/2015/11/holiday-greeting-cards-2016-calendar.html where you will see the Buy Now buttons. Thanks.

Order information:

NEW! 2016 Calendar | Yellowstone
13 month 11″ x 8.5″ format

Price: $20.00

Holiday Greeting Cards

12 designs (images attached / pdf can be enlarged for detail):

1 It’s a holly jolly Christmas
2 Hanging Christmas balls
3 Icicle
4 Jingle bells
5 ‘Tis the Season
6 Joy Candles
7 Clear Creek, Golden, CO – B/W
8 The gift of a snowy day
9 Kobi – Peace
10 Snowy rose
11 Red berries
12 White berries

Dimensions are 4.875 square with a 5 x 5 white envelope, printed on a high quality paper.
Cards will be package in a ziploc bag.

REMINDER: square format takes additional postage, .65 (1st class + .20)
INSTRUCTIONS: 
  1. Select card images you like (yes, you can mix and match)
  2. Contact me through my contact page with your quantities and image numbers
  3. Pay with the PayPal link below; choose quantities of 12, 24, 36
Greeting Cards
12 ea. $30.00 USD
24 ea. $46.80 USD
36 ea. $63.00 USD

Thanks so much. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Poetry #10: If I Leave

WordPress Writing Prompt: If You Leave

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?


My sonnet If I Leave.
I’ll try an apostrophe another day.

If I leave, so much to do
before even getting out the door
books, CDs, and clothes askew
it all seems like such a chore.
Divvy it to charity or trash
what’s left I’d love to keep
other things want to be stashed
but no room for that, so I weep.
Once I’m done with all of that
I have the freedom to roam
in any direction, I go to the mat
maybe enjoy the life of a gnome.
Appearing magically from place to place
leaving without a glance or a trace.

Day 10: Pleasure, Sonnet, Apostrophe

Today’s Form: Sonnet

A sonnet is normally composed of 14 lines of verse.
Using the rhyming pattern a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g.

Today’s Device: Apostrophy

An apostrophy occurs when the speaker in the poem addresses another person or an object (usually personified) directly.

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Poetry #9: Golden Leaves


  golden                                     leaves are
      falling                           down
         autumn                    coming
               to                an
                end,   a    new 
                season     on
                  the     wind, 
                   as I walk 
                   the path 
                   with Kobi.
                   the leaves        a-
                    glitter                   in
                     yellow         and
                     orange,                      the 
                   golden leaves
                    are falling 
                   down. cooler
                  temps a-coming
                  snow     in the
               high   coun-    try.
            golden leaves are falling down.

Assignment Day 9: Cold, Concrete Poem, Anaphora/Epistrophe

Today’s Subject: Cold

From wintry weather to emotional aloofness to the fun you had during your heyday as a teen figure skating champion, write a poem that will send chills down our spines (literally or not).

Today’s Form: Concrete Poem

Generally speaking, any poem that’s typographically arranged to represent a specific shape (recognizable or not) is a concrete, or “shape” poem.

Today’s Device: Anaphoa/Epistrophe

Anaphora simply means the repetition of the same word (or cluster of words) at the beginning of multiple lines of verse in the same poem. Epistrophe is its counterpart: the repeated words appear at the end of lines.

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Poetry: #8 Chocolate and Coffee


Cold and creamy, mocha dreamy
chocolate and coffee and chips

I try to wait, but cannot stay
away from that indescribable taste

Melting smoothly, chips o crunchy
In my mouth and oh so munchy

Once it’s gone, I want some more
but will stay away from the door

Leaving, driving on toward home
I only think of you and roam


Assignment Day 8: Flavor

From the simple (butter on toast, a childhood-evoking bubblegum) to the more complex (insert your latest dinner party triumph — or fiasco — here), flavors occupy a crucial place in our memories, in our stories, and in our social interactions.

Today’s Form: Elegy

Today’s form, the elegy, can trace its history all the way to ancient Greece. It started out as a poem that could be about almost any topic, as long as it was written in elegiac couplets (pairs of verse, with the first one slightly longer than the second). Over the centuries, though, it became something a bit more specific: a (more often than not) first-person poem on themes of longing, loss, and mourning.

Today’s Device: Enumeratio

Constructing a list, a successive enumeration (duh!) of multiple elements in the same series.

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365 Days of Writing | #20 A New School

WordPress Writing Prompt: The New School
You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

image is from The Colorado Trail near Leadville, CO

As I hiked the Colorado Trail this summer the thought that consumed me is if corporations functioned the way the hiker community does, we would have a very different work world.

As I hiked solo I walked in solitude much of the time, but when I encountered other hikers there were several characteristics in common: kindness, generosity, compassion. We looked out for one another. When I was exhausted there was someone to help me remove my pack and set up my tent. When I was low on water there was extra water offered. When I was in pain from a fall another hiker carried my pack in addition to his own. There was no hierarchy. There wasn’t any one person in charge. We were all in it together.

I had an idea. What if there was a program that helped corporate leaders learn this way? Take groups of three: the CEO, a middle manager, and a support staff. Assign them to five days on the Colorado Trail. No instructions except “learn from the trail.”

Among hikers there is a saying hike your own hike. Each person on the team would be advised to do so, but they would also be instructed that everyone needs to return safely. Each person would be expected to research their gear, prepare for the trip, and go out for discovery. It would be a little family of sorts.

All kinds of things come into play. There may be a pusher–one who trucks on down the trail because he’s in the best shape. Then a lagger–one who simply can’t walk any faster. One who thinks she knows everything about the trail. There will be encounters: storms, lightning, wildlife, water crossings without a bridge. Sometimes the team will be together to discuss how to tackle the obstacle. Sometimes they won’t.

The object of the game. Twofold. Learn to manage circumstances on one’s own. Learn to handle circumstances as a team. Once the team members return, my bet is they would work together better in the office as they would have learned to apply in the real world cooperation, compassion, kindness, and generosity. They would know what teamwork really is. They would know each others’ strengths and weaknesses and use this know in a cooperative way.

I know I titled this A New School for Corporate Leaders and I set up the school with members at different levels of an organization. That is because I think management might learn a lot. That they might not have all the answers. This is a practical application for leaders to realize they must pause and know the talents of their team and that they too may need help from time to time.

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Poetry: #7 In My Neighborhood

Image from Salida, not actually my neighborhood, but there is a creek in mine

In my neighborhood
  there is much to observe
if one wants to take the time
  but that would fire my nerve

The teens across the street
  with their pants down to their butts
and thumping cars and music loud 
  makes me a bit nuts

So I'd rather take a walk
  and observe the flutter of leaves
enjoy the sun on my face
  and the brush of a breeze

On down the trail
  past the cows in the field
there's a creek
  that bubbles and yields

It's song is one of serenity
  that gives me a different sense of pace
no matter what else goes on
  helps me navigate with grace

Assignment Day 7: Neighborhood, Ballad, Assonance

Whether it’s your block, a favorite store or coffee shop, or just a general sense of community (or lack thereof), keep today’s poem local, within the radius of a leisurely stroll from your home.

Today’s Form: Ballad

  • Ballads are dramatic, emotionally-charged poems that tell a story, often about bigger-than-life characters and situations.
  • Ballads had their roots in danced songs, and were traditionally composed using ballad meter (ryhme ABCB) and ballad stanzas (four lines).
  • Their history notwithstanding, by now there are no strict rules governing the structure of ballads — they can be long, short, rhymed, or unrhymed — though it’s still common for ballads to have a refrain.

Today’s Device: Assonance

The strategic repetition of vowels in close proximity to each other.

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365 Days of Writing | #19 A Visit from Mr. L

WordPress Writing Prompt: Saved by the Bell
Tell us about a time when you managed to extract yourself from a sticky situation at the very last minute.


How does one write about something for which no inspiration comes. I’m sure there are numerous things I missed just in the nick of time. Car accidents. Bladder accidents. Thinking of taking action on something totally absurd, but sanity strikes first. Death.

Ok, I guess I’m supposed to write about that. Yes, I cheated death, probably several times, but the most significant was when Mr. L came knocking at my door two years ago. I was too tired to answer.

I was experiencing what I thought were tension headaches and tight shoulders. Tylenol didn’t help. Lorazapam didn’t help. I wasn’t sleeping and was always tired. Finally, I thought if I went swimming that would help me release the tension and I’d feel better. Just an aside, I had reason to feel tense. Things were not going well at work. I found my self-esteem plummeting. So I went to the community rec center and swam 28 laps. I felt pretty good about that, but was worn out. I laid in the sun for a bit to recover. This seemed extreme even though I hadn’t done laps in eons. When I got home things were no better. I called my former husband and asked if they still had any Flexeril, a muscle relaxer. Yes. I went to get it, came home, took some, and slept for six hours.

When I wasn’t working I laid on the couch just wanting to feel better. At some point I thought maybe I had mononucleosis although I hadn’t kissed anyone in a good long while. I even looked it up online. Fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes. That sort of seemed to fit.

About 10 days after my swimming expedition I had trouble climbing stairs without my head pounding a soft cottony thwap, thwap, thwap in my ears. The same stairs only a week before I was okay climbing with a backpack containing my computer and other miscellaneous things a woman would carry in a purse. Journal, book, pen, lip balm, Tylenol, and the like. It felt like my head was going to explode. My gums were also inflamed and I was having trouble getting a new night guard fitted.

By that time, I told my boss in tears that if I knew what this was I’d be ok, but I didn’t. Finally, I took my former husband’s advice and saw a doctor. She suggested I get some labs done, but it wasn’t urgent. Otherwise, nothing except an antibiotic for the lymph nodes. I decided to get a second opinion about my mouth guard. My periodontal dentist said the magic words. “I’m going to give you an antibiotic mouth wash, but I’m concerned about the fatigue.” I scheduled the lab work.

I got worse. So I prepared to go for labs a day early at 7am when they first opened. By 1 pm, my doctor called and said words I never anticipated. “Your white blood cell count is 77,000. Normal is 9000-10,000. We’ve called a hematologist. His office will be calling you with an appointment time in the next couple days.” That call came in 2 hours for the next day.

Mr. Leukemia was the one who was knocking. Fortunately, my former husband went to that first diagnosis meeting with me and stood beside me through the long journey. He calmed me when I needed calming. He visited regularly. He coordinated care after my stem cell transplant. He helped cover my unpaid medical bills–a loan I must pay back.

Mr. Leukemia took me by surprise, but he didn’t beat me. I whooped the bejeebers out of him. I’m now disease-free and am able to do anything I was able to do before. I wasn’t saved by a bell, I was saved by a big-ass hammer and some common sense from my former husband! You see, I tend not to see a doctor unless it’s something quite mysterious.

I was very sick. I learned later I was likely three to five weeks from death. Too close for comfort.

Treatment is a whole other story …

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