How Rude

Three and half-year-old granddaughter Kayla is an avid fan of reruns of the old TV series “Full House.” It was a favorite of her grandfather’s and mine when it originated. Kayla is a lover of words and expressions that appeal to her, so it comes as no surprise that she’s adopted Stephanie’s frequent saying of “how rude” into her ever-increasing vocabulary. Kayla knows how and when to apply the expressions she picks up.

Recently when we went up Mount Lemon for a brief vacation in a cabin in Summerhaven, we stopped at one of the popular points that looks out over Tucson. When we got out of the truck, and started to walk to the point, we had to make sure we didn’t step on dog droppings.

I said, “It’s good that people bring their dogs to enjoy nature, but it’s unfortunate that they neglect to pick up their poop.”

“How rude!” Kayla said.

We continued walking out to the point and found huge rock formations defaced with graffiti. I commented on how people couldn’t enjoy nature without messing it up for other people.

“How rude!” Kayla said.

The next day, we went for a walk in one of the Coronado National Forest picnic areas. It was the day after Labor Day and the picnic areas looked like disaster areas littered with the disposable debris of people’s picnics. One table not even twenty feet from a trash can still held used paper plates, balled up paper napkins, bunched up aluminum cans, and plastic forks. There were even lemon rinds and dried up strawberries.

“The people couldn’t even bother to pick up their trash and throw it away.” I said.

“How rude!” Kayla said.

It made me think about how inconsiderate people have become, how rude, how uncaring about other people. What happened to the values I grew up with, the values I taught my children, my students? The code of behavior that made us ensure that whenever we were using or enjoying something, whether it was a borrowed item or a picnic in a park, we returned it or left it in the condition in which we found it. We had expectations that others felt the same way that we did and that we would find things like picnic areas in a usable condition.

It’s annoying and sad that this is no longer true. It seems that many in our country have become people who look out only for their own needs and comforts and don’t think about others, whether it’s the people who come after them to enjoy the park or the people who have to clean up their mess.


Elena Díaz Bjorkquist ©September 2, 2014





Easter Picnic Memories

Easter Picnic Memories


Easter was one of my favorite holidays, right up there with Christmas because we celebrated with the entire Díaz clan. The only thing that kept me going through the excruciatingly long Mass and having to sit through it in an uncomfortable new dress and shoes with a new hat that would be my church hat for the rest of the year, was the thought of the family picnic that waited for us afterward.


After Mass, my family headed for home to change into shorts, T-shirts, and tennis shoes and pack the pickup with ice chest full of soda, beer, and food. My aunts’ and uncles’ families did the same and soon we’d caravan out to predetermined picnic site. My favorite place was Big Lake even though it took us a long time to get there and we had to do it in stages with a stop at Cherry Lodge for a quick brunch.


Even if we didn’t make it to Big Lake, there were other places that were just as much fun, up the Frisco River past the pumping station where the father-in-law of one of my uncles worked, the hanging bridge on the Frisco, Mule Creek, Cherry Lodge, and Guthrie. My favorites were the ones that had a water source, whether it was a creek, a river, or a lake.


The moms and dads settled down on blankets and picnic benches after they unpacked the cars and trucks and us kids set out to explore. With twenty-six cousins, there was always someone to play with. We learned to fish for catfish with our hands, taught by Uncle Chelado who was an expert. We caught guppies in paper cups and built dams in the river to house them.


When it was time for lunch we lined up at whoever’s mom we thought had the best chile verde or chicken mole or frijolitos de olla. It was usually not our own mom because we were used to her cooking. Mama Teresita’s tortillas were prized by everybody so I always first headed to where she was to make sure I got my share.


Sometimes the family got the traveling bug and off we’d go on a road trip after eating lunch to the next place where we’d eat dinner. One memorable Easter we started off at Cherry Lodge, went to Big Lake, drifted off to New Mexico and wound up at Mule Creek. More often we stayed in one place and enjoyed both lunch and dinner there. A weinie and marshmellow roast over a bonfire was the perfect ending to an Easter family picnic. After packing up, we headed back home to Morenci, tired, but happy.

National Poetry Month

I’ve participated in National Poetry Month for the past four years. Not formally on any other website except my own. I’ve always set my own goals but haven’t ever gone for a poem a day for the whole month. This is the goal I’ve set for myself this year. So far, so good, I’ve been able to keep my goal. Eleven days into April and I’ve written eleven new poems! I haven’t had to go into my files yet to start working on revising other poems I wrote last year after poetry month was over.


My calendar when I started in April, was pretty much clear, but now it’s filling up and only a few days are free from doctor appointments, lunches and dinners (to celebrate my birthday), concerts, poetry readings, etc. I like to celebrate my birthday for the whole month, sometimes even in to May when Kurt has his birthday! Getting busier means it’s getting harder to fulfill my goal of writing a poem a day. My back up plan is to bring out those older poems that need revision and work on them.


The new poems will need revising also, but I usually wait a week or two or maybe even three before I look at them again with a new eye. In the meantime, I feel a sense of accomplishment to have written these new ones. It seems like once I start writing, I get in the groove, and poems bubble up out of my subconscious. Most mornings I wake up with a phrase that gets me going or sometimes, better yet, a whole poem is waiting for me to write it down.


Break In!

We came back from my brother’s house after two days of packing it up and having a yard sale. Unfortunately, someone broke into the house a couple of days before and took  a lot of the yard sale items including a TV and monitor. The rascals even stole the freezer food! We’re just happy they didn’t destroy anything.

They locked the  front door from the inside and left the French doors leading to the patio wide open. Apparently they pried a window open and then helped themselves. They packed the goods in suitcases and bags that were handy. The only damage they did was to slash trash bags open and spill the contents all over the back yard. Looking for drugs probably. It’s sad there are people like that in the world. If we’d driven around to another yard sale, we’d probably have found the little culprits.

At first we just walked around the house shaking our heads in disbelief, taking stock of what was missing, but then we rallied and moved on. No sense in even calling the cops. I believe in karma, the culprits will eventually get theirs. I hope they enjoy whatever pleasure they got from stealing, but I’m not going to dwell on it or wish them ill.

The funny thing is that my son and I both had premonitions that this would happen. On the way up to Phoenix, I saw the condition the house would be in. My son woke up thinking the same thing. My brother was a pastor in his church, let’s hope that some of his goodness rubs off on these young thieves through contact with his belongings.

Spring Gardening

Spring is the perfect time for catching up on gardening before it gets too hot in the desert. The only problem is that as a supposedly “reformed” workaholic, I tend to stay out longer than I should and tire myself out. This morning I re-potted a huge crown of thorns (and let me tell you, it does have thorns!) into a larger pot, I weeded the path near the pool, I watered the roses after I fertilized them, cleaned the outdoor shower area, watered the pool portal plants and set out the geranium pots after retrieving them from under the frost protection. It seems once I get into doing something, I lose all track of time. Before I knew it, it was lunch time.

I had a late start, however. Little Lalo woke me up at 3:00 with his howling like the coyotes. I rolled over and fell back to sleep with a new poem in my head. Fortunately it was still there when I woke up later than I usually do at 6:00. It seems that Spring is a good time for me to write. Once I tell myself that I’ll be writing this month, the words flow unbidden. Maybe it’s like they’ve been germinating all winter and now they can spring forth.

I’m Back!

I can’t believe how much the cost of hosting a website has increased. I got my website  and one for Sowing the Seeds, my writing group, two years ago and paid $72 per each for two years. Now they want $135 for one year. I realize the first price was a come-on, just to get people started but I have a choice not to continue. So. . .I’m back on WordPress for both sites.

I’ve been spending more time on Facebook than on my website but now I will keep this site updated and upload the link to FB. This new year is already into April and soon it will be half gone. So many good and bad things have happened in my life the past three months, mostly ones I wish hadn’t happened.

It started in early January with a mini-stroke that led to a round of expensive testing that showed I’d had one but that no damage was done. The docs increased my meds in hopes I won’t have another more serious one. My youngest brother died in late January, alone in his home. No one had heard from him in a couple of days so his church friends went to his house and found his car in the driveway. I’m still grieving his loss and the wound is opened each time we go to his house to clear out his belongings.

At the end of February, our little clan of Bj’s joined us to help celebrate our 50th anniversary! The years went by so fast, it still doesn’t feel like 50 years but the faces around our redwood slab table told me it was true. We even have a great-granddaughter!

April is here and it brings Spring to the desert! We have a hummingbird nesting in the garage. She’s a harbinger of good fortune. We’re waiting for the eggs to hatch so we’ll have three hummers blessing us!


New Website

Blog entries are now on my new website: http://elenadiazbjorkquist.com/.