Category Archives: Amazing May

Amazing May 19: Our Place in the Universe

My world can get very small. Sometimes as small as this desk where I sit. Many days, my world is my house and the short walk to my son’s school. Sometimes we humans get consumed with issues that confront our cities, countries, and planet. Though I hope we do stay attentive to those things, every once it a while, it is good to get some perspective…

Our planet’s diameter is about 7,900 miles. Sometimes I picture my 5’3” self standing on a sphere shaped planet so large I can’t see the curve.

That lovely moon we often see is about 240,000 miles away—a distance more that 30 times the diameter of Earth.


 Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC. "This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites."

Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC. “This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites…”

The distances go from there. Think of the models you’ve seen with the huge Sun making Earth look tiny. Remember that our Sun is just one of the many stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. And our galaxy is just one of many galaxies—distances measured in the speed of light. The size of those huge stars is nothing next to the space between them. So much space. So much possibility.

Thank you, planets and stars. Thank you, space. Thank you, Universe.

Amazing May 18: Humor

My son had a friend over this morning. We were playing a game (Cosmic Encounter, for you gamers) where each person draws a role that gives them a special variation on the rules. Mine was guerrilla. Who could help making references to me being a gorilla? None of us. So I made my monkey face—a look crafted in my young adulthood that involves putting my tongue under my upper lip and sliding my lips down (try it in a mirror—scratch your head for extra ape-like goodness). Both boys had a good laugh.

I love hearing people laugh, really laugh. Not only is it delightful to hear and to do ourselves, but laughter is likely good for our health. It is definitely good for our spirits. What I find even more amazing is the way that the right dose of good-natured humor can take the tension out of a situation.

photo by StickyWikis

photo by StickyWikis

If you are in the mood for a laugh, here’s a link to some kid-friendly jokes:

Thank you, joke makers. Thank you, laughter.

Amazing May 17: Rainbows

by Karin Fisher-Golton

Though I may be creating a reputation for myself otherwise, I certainly have my moments of being jaded. So I admit, I had a good laugh when I thought of today’s topic. Rainbows are maybe a touch cliché. But then I paused—and perhaps the only difference between being jaded and being amazed is a pause.

Think about it: when there’s sunshine and a bit of rain, the light does this thing that creates a gigantic, perfect arc of the whole range of colors. If it weren’t true, it would be hard to believe.

photo by Stephen A. Fisher

photo by Stephen A. Fisher

In my experience, when someone spots a rainbow, everybody pauses.

Thank you, rainbows.

Amazing May 16: Children’s Books

I have loved children’s books longer than I remember. My mother, who also loves books, began teaching me to read at fifteen months. I am told that I read a book on my own for the first time at age twenty months. That book was Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins—a book that epitomizes the quality of picture books where both the words and the pictures tell the story.

Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins

Children’s books introduce us to new ideas. They take us to places we haven’t yet been and places that don’t exist. They give us opportunities to empathize. They inspire us.

In honor of Children’s Book Week (May 12-18), Powell’s Books asked their fans what children’s books changed their lives. Here is a link to a compilation of the answers—a great list, which includes many of my cherished books and series, and maybe some of yours too:

I asked myself which children’s book changed my life, and my answer surprised me. There are many children’s books that I have read over and over again. But a book on Powell’s Books’ list that I have only read once decades ago struck me as “the one.” Harriet, the Spy gave me the idea that I could enjoy my own company. That’s something I can always have with me, and often do. (Time to read that one again!)

Which children’s books have changed your lives?

Thank you, books. Thank you, writers. Thank you, illustrators. Thank you, reading teachers.

Amazing May 15: Becoming Friends

Earlier this year those of us in my children’s poets group were experimenting with Fibonacci poems. These short poems have syllable counts in successive lines following the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence, where the next number is the sum of the previous two: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc. We noticed that because of the increasing numbers of syllables per line, Fibonacci poems have a cascading feel. We looked for topics that cascade. I thought of how friendships begin.

That experience of going from being strangers or acquaintances to being buddies can happen so fast. What a sweet ride.

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

No Going Back

sit down,
begin to converse.
Soon a common experience
sparks thoughts, ideas, sharing—a connection begins.
Now, it’s like we never were strangers but two who can’t help seeing each other as friends. 

© Karin Fisher-Golton, 2014

Thank you, old friends. Thank you, new friends.

poetry fridayEnjoy more poems for Poetry Friday at Liz Steinglass’s blog, including her own wonderful speaking bookmark poem, which she’s raffling off on a bookmark:


Amazing May 14: Smell—The Time Traveling Sense

Have you ever walked into a room and realized that someone you know has been there recently because a scent they wear has been left behind? Or walked into a home and had a good idea of what someone recently cooked?

Sight, hearing, taste, and touch all give us information about things that are present, but our sense of smell can also tell us things that are no longer there.

Perhaps, like I have, you have determined what someone in your family just ate by smell. I feel a bit like I have superhero powers when I do these things, but really we humans possess only a fraction of the olfactory ability of dogs and other animals.

You’ve probably seen a dog running around what looks like an empty lawn or patch of dirt sniffing like crazy. Because they can pick up on smells of different species and even individual animals, they are putting together whole stories with their noses.

photo © Dr Michel Royon / Wikimedia Commons

photo © Dr Michel Royon / Wikimedia Commons

Pay attention and see what you can notice with a few sniffs.

Thank you, noses.

Amazing May 13: Yogurt

I love creamy, tangy yogurt. That nutritious food is tasty in so many ways—with fruit or granola, in smoothies, on soups. We have a multitude of foods available to us today, but it is amazing to think about people discovering they can eat something like yogurt. Long ago, someone, or probably more likely multiple people in multiple locations, left some milk for hours in a warm place. When they returned the milk had solidified, but it smelled good. So they tasted it and discovered a new food.

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

photo by Karin Fisher-Golton

Thank you, dairy animals. Thank you probiotics. Thank you, food pioneers.

Amazing May 11: Mothers and Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and all who act as mothers.

For this day’s post I’m sharing a few of the memories that came to me when I asked myself what is amazing about mothers and motherhood. I’d love to read some of your stories about mothers and mothering as well. Please share in the “Leave a reply” section below.

I think of one of the first times I saw my friend Debbie as a mother. We were at a friend’s wedding. I was just barely pregnant myself. During the reception, her toddler was napping on her lap while we were talking. The music got loud. Without, a pause in the conversation she put her hands over her son’s ears and held them there while we continued to talk. I was struck by the grace with which she did that and the way caring for her child had so quickly become part of the repertoire of what she does.

I think of my own mother—who is so consistently there for me, long after I’ve grown up. When I was thirty-three, I was driving cross-country. I stopped in a Texas hotel, lay down to rest and found myself feeling increasing panic for no discernible reason. Frightened and not sure what to do, I called my mother in the middle of her work day—something she had instructed me decades ago to do only in an emergency. She quickly made time in her day to get on the phone with me, and calmly and lovingly help me sort through what was going on until we realized I was having an asthmatic reaction to the new carpeting in the hotel.

I think of the photo I have hanging in the kitchen of my great-grandmother cooking in a cast iron pan, much like one I use regularly. The photo, shown below, was taken by her grandson, my father, at about age 11. This image reminds me of the many meals and other tasks that my mother, and mother’s mother, and grandfather’s mother, and all my ancestors have made so that their children and children’s children and I can live.

photo by Stephen A. Fisher

photo by Stephen A. Fisher

I think of something I wrote as I was preparing for the birth of my son. Many aspects of being a mother surprised me, but this thought continues to hold true: “It is such an honor to become someone’s mother—to be part of a spirit coming into the world as a new person and to get to care for and know that person in such a close way.”

Thank you, mothers. Thank you, children who make it possible us to be mothers.

Amazing May 10: Baseball

Last night two American League West rival teams, the Oakland A’s and the Texas Rangers, both played East Coast teams at home. Both American League West teams won with the same score: 8-0. The Rangers starting pitcher was pitching a no hitter until the last out of the ninth inning. The A’s starting pitcher only gave up two hits in eight innings pitched.

Who were these pitchers? On the mound for Texas was their ace, Yu Darvish. Oakland’s pitcher was Tommy Milone, a struggling pitcher who might well have been sent down to the minor leagues yesterday instead of a teammate, if it hadn’t been his turn to pitch last night.

Yu Darvish in 2012 (photo by mjl816 on Flickr, cropped by UCinternational)

Yu Darvish in 2012 (photo by mjl816 on Flickr, cropped by UCinternational)

Tommy Milone in 2012 (photo by Jrchun)

Tommy Milone in 2012 (photo by Jrchun)










I love baseball because it is full of amazing stories and the power of possibility every day.

Thank you, baseball.

Amazing May 9: Avocados

Periodically I pause and marvel about avocados. How amazing that a fatty fruit exists–and such a tasty one, too. I’ve been particularly grateful for them in the last couple years as I’ve been avoiding dairy (to help with a health issue). Avocado slices or guacamole can fill in for cheese beautifully in many situations. Cut one and half and get a spoon for a satisfying treat. Kids love them, too.

poetry fridayLast year I began a poem about avocados. I finished it this week to post here on this day, which is both during my Amazing May project and a Poetry Friday. Links to more Friday poems from children’s poets can be found at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.



Wrapped in
dark green pebbly skin 
covering an unassuming 
oblong shape, 

when cut in half, 
behold, inside 
a perfect spherical pit, 
with a perfect, 
semi-spherical hole, 

both surrounded 
by creamy, bright green 
foodstuff. Oh, that creamy, 
bright green foodstuff! 

A fruit that’s green
and full of fat— 
a monounsaturated fat, 
at that—surely the 
avocado is nature’s 
generous gift. 

© Karin Fisher-Golton, 2014
photograph by JJ Harrison

photograph by JJ Harrison

Thank you, avocados.