Mowing, a Tanka Poem

I hate to mow grass.
It’s hot and bugs are biting.
I hate mowing grass.
Have I made my point clearly?
Mowing is not my favorite chore.

©2021 Tracy Swartz

And, I’d like to present today’s haute couture mowing fashion: This is a must-have when the temperatures are 90 degrees & above with equator-like humidity.

Long sleeve denim shirt. Too-large blue jeans (the sort that you have to continuously hitch up while mowing. This look does not require a flash of the neon blue grannie undies.) Dirty blue baseball cap. Matching light blue surgical mask (because your allergies are acting up & this is the first year in forever they have made their presence known). Pulling the look together, one must add stolen socks from the Hub’s sock drawer (the sporty white no-show type). Old smelly discolored sneakers with nary a tread left so you can slip & slide on the grass clippings.

In addition to this ensemble being THE fashion statement of mowers, it will protect you from the blood-sucking mosquito cloud of doom. (because the Black Swamp still haunts these parts & she likes us to remember that).

The claim above has not been evaluated by any reputable fashion house nor anyone with a lick of common fashion sense.

Posted in blog | Comments Off on Mowing, a Tanka Poem

E’s Hope Dragon

E is the granddaughter of The Sandwich Queen, my friend & sister in Lunch. Earlier this year, E (age 5) was diagnosed with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy. It’s a rare hereditary brain disease. There is no known cure. Currently, E is in the hospital recovering from a bone marrow transplant. The hope is that this will stop or slow the progression of the disease. She has to be there for a total of four months.

The Sandwich Queen asked me to draw a dragon (E loves dragons!) that the family could use on t-shirts & such to support E. Of course, I said yes. That’s still a work in progress. That led to me asking if I could make a dragon doll for E.

Ever get those intuitive nudges to do something even though you had never done it before? That’s what it was. A strong pull to make a dragon for E. I wanted it to be along the same lines as a Guatemalan Worry Doll. A doll that would be helpful to E as she travels the difficult road ahead. What I came up with (I didn’t know what to call it until a few days ago) is a Hope Dragon. Here is the letter I wrote to E:

Dearest E,

Hello from the land of The Great Black Swamp! I found your dragon. Yes, Dear E, you have a dragon!

A few days ago, I was out checking my gnome traps. I looked inside and, lo and behold, there was a dragon trapped inside of it. Dear E, I trap gnomes because they are naughty things and cause all sorts of trouble. I don’t hurt them. I move them deeper into the swamp where the gnomes can run amok freely and not hurt themselves or anyone else with their gnomish antics.

As you may know, one must be careful when approaching dragons, no matter their size. Oh no, it’s not because all of them are fierce, terrible, and frightening. Dragons have this odd thing that happens when they are cooped up too long. They become a bit gassy and, that makes their burps mighty and full of fire. I have a theory that volcanoes are mountains with a gassy dragon trapped inside. That’s a story for another time.

Luckily, the dragon wasn’t inside the trap for too long. Guess what? It could talk! It’s rare to find a dragon that can talk to just any old human it meets. It’s rare to find a dragon in a gnome trap in a swamp too!

Once freed from the trap and after a good wing stretch, it told me that it’s looking for a girl named E. Well, I knew YOU had to be the E it was looking for! Can you imagine why it was looking for you?

Well, Dear E, this is a rare Hope Dragon. They show up when humans are doing hard things. And, when the dragon heard all the tough stuff you are dealing with, it knew it had to help. The dragon was so worried that it would not find you because it had gotten lost. Funny things happen in the Great Black Swamp and often make magical directional sensibilities go wonky.

Anyway, the dragon told me that there are only a handful (or a paw full if you’re a dragon) of humans who ever receive help from a Hope Dragon and its heart.

The Hope Dragon is here to talk to whenever you feel scared, lonely, or terribly sad. It likes to take those feelings and gobble them up. Sometimes you might feel that way when your dragon isn’t nearby. That’s why the dragon wants to give you its heart so that you can always talk to it, no matter how far away you may be. Isn’t that cool? It’s a big heart for such a small dragon but not so big that it can’t fit in your pocket or under your pillow as you sleep or held in the palm of your hand.

Now, Dearest E, I release this Hope Dragon and its heart into your care. And, you, only you must name your dragon. Please let me know what name you choose because no matter how many treats I gave it, the dragon refused to tell me.

The Black Swamp Gourdess

And without further ado, I’d like you to meet E’s Hope Dragon.

E loves pink, purple, & glitter, so I had to incorporate all that glory into the dragon. What self-respecting swamp dweller would send a found dragon off without a note of some sort? And, not any ordinary letter would do. It had to be on a scroll. Scrolls are super easy to make and a lot of fun! The heart is made of rose quartz. It’s pink perfection for E to hold when she’s away from her dragon.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Martha Boers who inspired the arms and the legs of E’s dragon. I’d like to also acknowledge Mugiwara Cosplay and BubblyLeaf . These tutorials helped me figure out how to make a dragon’s tail and the perfect wings. And, last, but certainly not least, Bunnola (my kiddo). They helped with the photography and editing.

Shhhh. E’s sister M is getting a unicorn doll. M was the bone marrow donor and a super rock-star about the whole thing. I’ll keep you up to date on that!

Before that adventure, though, I’m going to dive back into a daily Haiku or Tanka poem and get back to work on The Story of Daemons. Plus, there are Gnords to introduce and, I’d like to make my very own Daemon. She’s long overdue.

Either sleep is overrated or, I need to become a vampire to get all this done. And yes, I’d prefer to be a vampire that sparkles in the sunlight, thank you very much.

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Cicada’s a Haiku

Mid-summer they sing
nature’s lovely vibrato
is cicada’s song

©2021 Tracy Swartz

Posted in blog | Comments Off on Cicada’s a Haiku

Sophia Stallone Sparkle Pants

Hello! How have you been? The weather within the Flatlands of NW Ohio has been gourdgeous! 

So what’s been happening over here in The Lair? Now, I can introduce Sophia Stallone Sparkle Pants! This doll is filed under A Gourd Trouble Creation and is a Daemon Gourd. I made it for my second spawn, Bunnola.



Sophia is more than a custom-designed doll with colors and elements that reflect Bunnola. Sophia can help with the overwhelm and angst. Bunnola is navigating full college class loads, internship workload, and pandemic hootenanny. Inspiration for Sophia came via  Guatemalan Worry dolls and things I’ve found helpful when dealing with angst within my life. Wala, Sophia was born!

So, this is how it works: Whenever angst or worry sets in, Bunnola can write that down on the paper, ask Sophia to help transmute or clear it, then burn it in the cauldron. I made a pendant as an additional talisman to wear when they are out & about. Something they can hold on to and send those feelings into to transmute/discharge if needed. 

And in other news:

Freshly bathed gourd volunteer with pineapple for size comparison & tax

I’m bringing the first Gnord to life. *insert quasi-evil hand rub here* This one goes into the Gourd Trouble Creation file. I love gnomes. You know me, the muses, and the creative beastie have thrown out normal and cute for a mix of wyrd, peculiar, and odd. That’s what a Gnord is, a hooey-ish combo of gnome and gourd.

There is fiddling to do on The Unabridged Story of Daemons. This story has it all; danger, daemons, flies, and an appearance of Captain Lord Dampnut. Lord Dampnut is similar to the 45th president of the U.S. of A. Of course, I had to go there.

Back to Gnords, this will give me a chance to try out the printable I’m making for creations. It’s a way to keep better track of materials and how-to’s for dolls for future reference. I’m of the mind that if I’m going to offer something for sale, it should be something I use vs. some of the blah blah blah copy and tweak what someone else has done baloney advice I’ve heard. Nah. That feels icky.

Of course, there’s the stint at The Land of Lunch in a bit. Would you believe there are STILL naked nostrils flashing at me? There was even *gasp & swoon* a bare face. I’m not sure my heart can take much more of all this nakedness. Yes, I correct the offending nostril owners and ask them to cover up. I guess we can add nostril police to my list of job duties. That’s something I didn’t think I’d EVER write in a sentence.

Now, you are all caught up! I hope your day is full of fantabulous awesomeness.


Posted in blog | 1 Comment