Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Basket O' Flip-flops (and other summer stuff)


One thing I love about summer - my Basket O' Flip-flops. My feet are free!! It's all I wear from April through October (if at all possible). I also love going barefoot. When I was a teen I would walk on the steamy asphalt to toughen up my feet for the season. Even though I have a whole basket of flip-flops I have a favorite pair every year - I've been wearing the black Reebok pair all winter as slippers (sometimes with socks if it's really cold.) I bought a pair of black "Born" flippies this spring - they were $95! But at DSW with 80% off they were a steal (and very impressive). Of course they aren't as comfie as my foot-molded Reeboks, so I'll have to break them in.


One thing I hate about summer - that weightless, wispy, lifeless, yellowish stuff on top of my head. Today was the first day that seemed a little humid and when I looked in the mirror I was reminded of how ridiculous my hair looks all summer. How horrible it looks in every vacation photo. Hate, loathe, detest, abhore, despise - these are not nearly strong enough verbs to describe how I feel about my hair. It does absolutely nothing that normal hair does. In the winter I can hold it in a satisfactory human-looking place with hairspray - but summer is hopeless, no matter the products or cut.


Is this why I cannot bring myself to enter a salon? I hate the whole experience, no matter how nice the stylists are. This week I decided that a cut would help. Making an appointment was on my list of things to do all week - but I cannot bring myself to do it - it's like torture to me - having someone focus on my hair, telling me about all the products and styles that work on everyone (but me). I am only capable of cutting my hair on the spur of the moment - so I do it myself. (I know - I see all of you shuddering out there.) I've actually gotten quite good at it. In analyzing myself I think I just don't want to be let down as I have so many times - if it sucks it's my own fault.


So I just cut about an inch and a half off and put in a couple weak layers - and it looks pretty much the same as it's looked since my first grade school picture - a little blond bob - BORING! It's my cross to bear. Maybe in heaven I'll have thick hair.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Salad Days

College street
on the first warm April day,

half-naked young men and women
prancing in the grass like elves,

smoking in plastic chairs,
frisbees slicing the air.

Will they remember
their proud bare bellies

melanoma-free
youth sprouting all around them?

Will they remember afternoons
with nothing to do

but throw beanbags
into wooden boxes,

the sexual tension,
the temptation of beach towels?

Will they remember
these days of bookless learning,
these salad days?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

SKYWATCH FRIDAY


In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other, nothing is hidden from its heat. Psalm 19:5-6
For more beautiful sky pictures visit Tom at Wigger's World.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Laughing Babies

Please don't give up on some well thought out, well written posts - hopefully coming when these crazy two weeks are over ! In the meanwhile click on this link and if you don't laugh and/or cry check your pulse to see if you're alive.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwriOyQf1EA

Monday, May 26, 2008

Coexist VII - Imagine


Imagine no Memorial Day.
Imagine all children growing up in loving nurturing
homes, children never growing up to become Hitlers
or Husseins or Bin Ladens. Imagine God wiping
every tear from every eye - that will be Heaven,
and we must wait for heaven.

In the last days -they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Isaiah 2:4

Imagine there's no countries. It's easy if you try. Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one. John Lennon
John wasn't the only one. If you go to Strawberry Fields in Central Park now you will see other dreamers - every day of every week - just sitting there - imagining.

g

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day


This is a photo I took on Friday of a cemetery that I go by every day on the way to work. Every year they place thousands of flags throughout the cemetery grounds for as far as the eye can see. It's quite moving. I don't know if the number of flags has any significance, but it makes me remember to be grateful to all who have served or given their lives for our country. I wish the photo could show just how far the flags go.
PS - My Skywatch Friday photo was NOT a tornado as several people wondered - but it sure looked like one!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SKYWATCH FRIDAY


Just out on Saturday errands earlier this month when a storm was ROLLING in! I got scared and headed for home. I think this scripture describes it:

All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll. Isaiah 34:4.

To view more Skywatch photos go to Wigger's World.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Phonics? Fonixs?

Today I sat through yet ANOTHER training session on yet ANOTHER reading program - a new way to teach reading - another new way! I have no idea how many reading programs I have been trained on - have used - have gone by the wayside because something new came along. It is true that many children are not learning to read as they should and I admire those who are trying to unlock the mysteries of their difficulties. But after so many years of teaching it's hard to keep buying into new things. Sometimes it's just a company trying to make money. They hire really convincing spokespeople that amaze you with their ideas and results - but alas, the same children have the same problems. In honor of this day I thought I'd share a very clever poem that was written by the late Dorothy Griswold - a friend of my parents. This poem explains a lot about why English speaking children have it rough.
Phun with Fonix
When I was youngue, my mother toung
seamed eezy as a brease.
In grammer schules they taut us rools
along with a-b-c's.
With eech gnu wird I wred or herd,
my vocabulary grough.
The rools and stough did know seam tuff
two me. Did thay tue yew?
Bigh and bigh I went to hye-
skule whair thay tought me moar
on hough to spell and sheau and tell,
witch I cood knot ignoor.
I set my hart on lurning eart,
lyke hau to peint and draugh.
But tewday I greave to seigh
my talent has a flaugh.
Sew back I'll gow tew what I no,
Inglish and its youse.
We knead gould turse and huyclass virce
and that's what I'll produse.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Faith


She, a little lower than the angels
was sure of what she hoped for
and certain of what could not be seen,
and when she was weak she was strong.
Being an alien, she brought nothing
into this world, and will take nothing away,
even after being polluted by it,
even after it tried dividing her soul and spirit
down to her joints and marrow.
The flowers fade and the grass withers
yet prophetic messages and words
of exhortation are still written on her heart.

Who builds her house?
Can both fresh water and salt water
flow from the same spring?
She does not believe every spirit, but
only the one that makes her stumble,
the scandalous rock that makes her fall.
An idol not of bronze or gold, but the
cornerstone, a living stone
with the power to shut the sky,
to throw a mountain into the sea,
to give or take breath.

Although perseverence must finish its work
she now rests from her labors,
and does not neglect her gift.
What she sees is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal
and it does not change like shifting shadows.
(a plagiarist poem))

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Musings


First of all I've had some kind of annoying stomach virus since last week and it might be affecting my mind - so I'm going to ramble today. At the moment I'm watching Oprah and it is a Mary Tyler Moore reunion show and I'm getting teary-eyed! It brings back so many memories of Saturday nights at home in the living room - with Mary - and the Carol Burnett show - shows the whole family enjoyed and laughed at together. I really loved Mary as Laura Petrie in the Dick Van Dyke Show too (reruns of course). Anyway it's amazing how TV shows can become part of your life. I think more so in the past because there were so many less of them. TV shows were special and I believe the characters were generally written with much more thought and humanity. Now maybe we are too overwhelmed with so many choices - and with shows like Desperate Housewives which make you wonder whether to laugh or be horrified. Nothing seems special anymore. Oh well, I'm sounding like an old fart now.

My book club read For One More Day by Mitch Albom. I bring this up because the book asks you to think about someone you would spend one more day with if you could. In the book, the main character gets to spend one more day with his deceased mother. During that ordinary day he finds out all kinds of things about her that he never knew - including things she sacrificed for him. He, of course, is full of regrets. So it makes you think. The book club ladies had a wide variety of thoughts on the afterlife, reincarnation, ghosts and all sorts of beliefs that kind of took me by surprise.

Anyway, who would you spend one more day with if you could? I first thought of my friend Jacquie who passed on in March - or my friend Maryanne who left before I could say goodbye, or my Aunt Lydia who was warm and bright and special to me. But then I realized that I was fortunate to have many great times with them. So the person I wish I could spend a day with is my maternal grandfather. A man I never spent a day with, but have heard about all my life. I'm pretty sure he was someone special and fun to spend time with. My mom was the last of six children and all I've ever heard all my life was how my grandfather took the time to spend with her when no one else would. Her stories are always humorous too, as he seemed like a man who tried to make everyone around him happy. I was fortunate to know my three other grandparents until my teens. My own children still have three grandparents and I am so grateful for that.

So, think about it. Who would you spend one more day with? Several of the book club ladies insisted that our loved ones are looking down from heaven watching out for us. I said - if they have to look down here on Earth and see us messing up every day then I don't think they're in heaven! That's not my idea of heaven anyway!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What Do You Treasure?


Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourself treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring Weekend

Roses are sometimes red
Violets are not blue
I love all my blogging friends
Happy weekend to you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

SKYWATCH FRIDAY - The Suffocating Sky


If it comes any lower
my arms will flail
to get it out of my hair.
De-energized, subdued light,
the earth is suffocating
in the iron gray.
Bird wings weighed down
except for vultures circling
down on the carcass of this day
while God is hiding His eyes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy

If you've never heard this radio broadcast - do yourself a big favor and click on the link below and let Logan bless your day.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCdZwitrNoY

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gratitude

I love this blogging thing and the way it has become such a part of my life. But on some days, like today, I feel pressure to come up with something intelligent to say. The next few weeks are full of celebrations - birthday, communion, goodbyes to co-workers, end of the year, graduation, retirement etc, etc! And I appreciate that all of those people are in my life - but time to write worthy blogs?? Maybe not. So today driving home I'm thinking - I've got to come up with something before we leave for my mother-in-laws birthday party tonight!!! I began to think how blessed my life is be able to participate in so much - so I'm just going to list a Grateful List today.
I am thankful for these:
1. A slow dance Friday night with my husband at our annual union banquet - I always loved the song Sara Smile - but now it's a lovely memory too.
2. My daughter sent me my favorite perfume and my son gave me a bouquet of lilacs for Mother's Day - so thankful that, amidst their busy lives, they take time to know their mom.
3. That I have a mother - and that I am a mother.
4. My fantastic neighborhood book club. I am fond of every one of those 12 ladies and all their diverse opinions. It's like the big group of girlfriends I never had.
5. My poison ivy is gone.
6. The skunk odor that wafted in the house this morning was NOT coming from my little Stella.
7. There are 16 school days left. :) :) :) :)
8. That joining Skywatch Friday has made me look at the sky everyday.
9. That God still loves me even though I am so slow to learn His ways.
10. Our four parents are with us - ages 78-88.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I can't let Mother's Day go by without saying that I have a wonderful, amazing mother. I cherish our closeness and admiration for each other more than I can say. She is beautiful and talented and has taught me to appreciate so many things in life. She is a consummate artist and musician and I got a little bit of each of those too because of her. During all of my teenage years my mom was my accompanist as I sang my little heart out at church and in competitions. We spent many, many hours at the piano together. (Unfortunately, I did not inherit her piano talents though.) She taught me more about art and beauty and faith than any teacher I ever had. She's always been a loving, concerned grandma to my children.
My mom and I have sat next to each other (or very close by) in a church choir loft for over 30 years! Both sopranos. And today, Mother's Day, we attended the Village pancake breakfast. I don't know how many years we've eaten blueberry pancakes together on this day - but probably close to 30 as well. My mother has been a supportive friend to me my entire life, and if I am a good mother I know it is in great part due to having a role model in her. I could, of course, go on and on - but you get the picture. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tagged - Favorite Book

I was tagged by Happyone to write about my favorite book. (You'll have to get her link from my blogger list because I still haven't figured out how to link it on the post - someone help me!!)
Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced, if not impossible to replace if lost in many if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one, it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet, you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one book to take with you other than the Bible, what would it be and why?
Simple rules: answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!
* And it cannot be an entire series of something, that's cheating.
That's a tough question. I've always thought of favorite books as ones that have the biggest impact on you. I've loved so many novels, but I rarely re-read them. The Bible is excluded so I am going to say The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. The sub-title of this book is A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. I don't remember how I found this book but it made a tremendous impact on me at a time when I was searching and trying to make sense out of all of those things.
The first sentence in the book is "Life is difficult." Okay, you've got my attention. It goes on - "This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."
This book has messages of human truths and spiritual truths. It is common sense, the real world and how we must live in it. Peck writes about how much effort it takes to truly love, why falling in love is a passing feeling, the healthiness of depression, the value of psychotherapy, miracles, marriage, grace and consciousness. His writing helped me understand what it means to be human. It helped me accept my weaknesses and believe in myself at a time when I was hating myself.
He writes, "Our lifetime offers us unlimited opportunities for spiritual growth until the end."
I could share about 200 more quotes that I love but I won't.
My technological weakness prevents me from linking some blogging friends (for now - I'll get it eventually) but I tag - Crustybeef, Erin, Lovely Disturbance, Daughter of Eve and Moohaa! Go to my list and check them out!
The Road Less Traveled is on my Shelfari shelf too.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Skywatch Friday - the sun/Son


Maybe it is no coincidence
that sun and Son sound the same.
Life-giving warmth, energy,
both eternal and ever rising
to our need.
Each new morning
I bend my head
towards the Son
as a flower bends its head
towards the sun.
Listening, reaching
for all I cannot exist without.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bittersweet

It's sort of a strange experience to call your daughter from Ohio and when she answers the phone you hear a cacophony in the background and she is yelling, "I have to call you back, Mom - we're going to our seats at Yankee Stadium! Look for me on TV!" The game was on in Cleveland because the Yankees were playing the Indians (the Tribe won!) I stared at the television thinking - she's there - right now - in that crowd - under that sky - 400+ miles away.
Another time I had that same sense of weirdness was our first Thanksgiving apart. I was tearfully stuffing the turkey and the phone rang. "Mom!" (in more of an eight-year-old voice out of the past) "I just saw Scooby-Doo!" She was at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. After hanging up the phone I watched the TV, gazing at the New York streets trying to imagine her in that crowd.
I love that she's out in the world experiencing things that I never did - soaking up New York City - living her own unique life - but at the same time it doesn't seem right that she's there and I'm here.
So I think the word BITTERSWEET must have been invented to describe a mother's torn feelings about her children in situations like this.
You bitterly miss them - but feel the sweet pride as they find their place in this world.
You ache for the days when you were needed 24/7 - but their independence and growth bring you joy.
You want them to stay - but you rejoice at their singular flight.
Bitter and sweet.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spontaneous head-crap

standing on a house of cards
in the mercy seat again
due to a brain malfunction -
i never get easier

when lightning strikes
the same spot
hundreds of times
you think i'd move

but i will climb
up on my cross
and sacrifice my dignity
in futile mind-heart
mismanagement


(the only thing worthwhile here is the painting by my Uncle Glen Heberling - but not a good photo either.)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Black Squirrels


The first time I saw a black squirrel I was attending Kent State University. At that time (many moons ago) they were pretty much contained to that area of Ohio. Ten rare black squirrels had been imported from London, Ontario in February of 1961, but I don't know why. The Black Squirrel Festival began in 1981. Now I live about 30 minutes away from Kent but see black squirrels all the time in my neighborhood. Have you seen them around your neck of the woods?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

All New Dishes


After thirty years of looking at white Corelle dishes I just couldn't take it anymore. All new dishes! They are purple, orange-gold, aqua and new-leaf green. Kind of unique combination of colors. Now we just have to remember that nothing is as indestructible as Corelle dishes! They were a real bargain at Kohl's - the best store ever.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

SKYWATCH FRIDAY


Celestial
Innocent resurrection, blue
radiance in your morning window.
The only blue but for
a robin's egg,
a parakeet feather,
a reflection in the Caribbean Sea.
Bird arrows, hawk's wings,
slashing contrails intersect
the tendons between Earth and forever.
The disconnect of clouds,
opacity blocks our view
of a pure and singular blue.
From this terrestrial ball
sunset meets moonrise
in a sizzle on the horizon.
Then the colorless glow,
the kiss of moonbeams
shining in your night window.