Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Autumn to Winter

by Dawn Pisturino

The old year is fading

and Autumn blows

the misty clouds

of Winter our way.

(A runaway grizzly bear meets Jack Frost and Old Man Winter in this vintage cartoon from 1934. My father loved these old cartoons.)
(My favorite Thanksgiving hymn – “We Gather Together”)
(George Winston playing his beautiful and inspiring piece, “Thanksgiving.” My mother adored George Winston.)

My parents always came for Thanksgiving. Now that they are gone, I always think of them at this time of year.

PSALM 95:1-5 (NKJV)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.

PLEASE NOTE: I WILL NOT BE POSTING ANYTHING UNTIL SOME TIME NEXT WEEK.

Have a joyful and blessed Thanksgiving!

~

Dawn Pisturino

November 23, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

55 Comments »

October Sunrise

(Photo by Dawn Pisturino. Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.)

October Sunrise

by Dawn Pisturino

Orange cotton candy balls

Burst across the sky,

Playing peek-a-boo with Mr. Sun,

Slowly rising from his slumber,

A comical clown dressed in lemon yellow.

~

Dawn Pisturino

October 26, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

49 Comments »

School Lunches from the 1950s Housewife

(Illustration by Arthur Sarnoff)

Providing a hearty, healthy, nutritious lunch in a clean, sanitary lunch box or other container for both hubby and the kids was a housewife’s daily duty in the 1950s. The guidelines included the following:

  1. “It should be abundant in amount for a hungry, healthy individual. A little too much is better than too little.”
  2. “It should be chosen with regard to nutritive needs of the individual, and in relation to the whole day’s food.”
  3. “It should be clean, appetizing, wholesome, and attractive.”

Food Selection

Solids and liquids were both included in the lunch plan. Guidelines urged housewives to choose at least one item from each of the following groups:

Milk — in food, such as pudding, or drink.

Bread — whole grain used in sandwiches.

Meat, Cheese, Eggs, or Fish — used in sandwich fillings, salads, or main dishes. Left over meat loaf, pot roast, and other food items were often used in sandwiches in the 1950s.

Fruit — whole or diced in salads or desserts.

Vegetables — used in sandwich fillings, salads, main dishes, or whole. Crisp, raw vegetables preferred.

Surprise – cookies, nuts, raisins, or other special treat.

What Season is it?

~ In winter, include something hot, such as soup, coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in a thermos.

~ In summer, include cool, refreshing items such as lemonade, fruit juice, iced tea, or iced coffee in a thermos.

Tips

*Remember to include utensils, napkins, and straws.*

*Provide spicier, more flavorful food for hubby and milder but flavorful food for the kids.*

*The goal in the 1950s was to keep packed lunches appetizing, varied, and balanced nutritionally.

Menus

Cream of tomato soup

Ham sandwich with mustard and lettuce

Celery sticks and olives

Fresh pear

Cookies

~

Cheese sandwich with ketchup and lettuce

Tossed vegetable salad and dressing

Pickles

Whole orange

Cake

Hot cocoa

~

(The first lunch box set was produced by the Aladdin Company in 1950 and featured Hopalong Cassidy.)

The National School Lunch Act, signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1946, provides school lunches in public schools for a fee or for free. I don’t know nowadays how many kids still bring their lunches to school. I remember kids getting teased when they reached a certain age who still brought their lunches to school. My favorite part of lunch in school was the chocolate milk that came with the cafeteria lunch. And, in high school, we used to sneak off campus and hit the local Taco Bell. Many adults eat in the company cafeteria, if one is provided, or order fast food. But some adults still bring their lunches to work.

~

Information retrieved from The American Woman’s Cook Book, 1952 and the Internet.

Dawn Pisturino

September 19, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

33 Comments »

September Song/September Morn

(Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash)

My autumn decorations are up, and I’m already planning menus for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. My husband was recently diagnosed with borderline diabetes, so cooking will be a little more challenging this year. But we can enjoy the changing season and all that nature brings us. One of my favorite jazz standards that I always think of at this time of year is “September Song.” Originally introduced on Broadway in the 1938 musical, Knickerbocker Holiday, it has been performed by Frank Sinatra and other acclaimed crooners. Chances are good that you’ve heard it.

(Frank Sinatra – September Song)

September Song

When I was a young man courting the girls
I played me a waiting game
If a maid refused me with tossing curls
I’d let the old Earth take a couple of whirls
While I plied her with tears in lieu of pearls
And as time came around she came my way
As time came around, she came

When you meet with the young girls early in the spring
You court them in song and rhyme
They answer with words and a clover ring
But if you could examine the goods they bring
They have little to offer but the songs they sing
And a plentiful waste of time of day
A plentiful waste of time

Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short
When you reach September
When the Autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time for the waiting game

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few
September, November
And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you
These precious days
I’ll spend with you

Songwriters: Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson. For non-commercial use only.

And then, there’s the beautiful “September Morn” performed by the fabulous Neil Diamond:

(For the lyrics, click here: https://genius.com/Neil-diamond-september-morn-lyrics)

This year, the autumn equinox will occur on Thursday, September 22, 2022. I’ve already treated myself to a generous cup of hot chocolate, which sounds crazy in the heat, but the temperature was actually pretty cool this morning.

And right now, we’re enjoying the last of the harvest moon in-between cloud covers.

(Photographer unknown)

Happy September! Autumn will be here soon!

Dawn Pisturino

September 14, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

31 Comments »

Night – A Poem

(Photo by Ryan Hutton on Unsplash)

Night

The night was heavy with honeysuckle,

Warm and still,

Full of mystery and life,

An immense blackness

Stretching to Eternity,

Clustered with stars.

April 17, 1987; August 29, 2022

69 Comments »

Birdie, Birdie – A Poem

(Baltimore Oriole)

Birdie, birdie in the tree,

Are you lonely just like me?

Rise into the morning sky

And fly, birdie, fly!

Tired of the verdant bough,

Hanging low with apples now?

Look, the yellow sun is high.

Fly, birdie, fly!

I wish I could fly like you,

Sing a song or maybe two,

Flutter softly my good-bye,

And fly, birdie, fly!

When the moon began to rise,

I would leave the darkened skies,

Fold my wings where I would lie,

And die, birdie, die.

Up to heaven I would go,

White and pure as new-made snow,

Safe beneath the father’s eye:

Fly, birdie, fly!

All the world would miss my song,

Sweet and pure and not too long,

Partly triumph, partly sigh;

Fly, birdie, fly!

1985

Dawn Pisturino

June 9, 2022

Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

44 Comments »

Reprise: A Butterfly Birthday

(Monarch butterfly)

[Note: I turned this into a children’s story, but this actually happened to me one summer when I was small. It’s an experience I never forgot.]

~

Amy leaned over and smelled the sweet, honey-like fragrance of the tiny white flowers on a leafy green bush. It was spring — her most favorite time of year — and the big backyard was alive with blooming flowers, buzzing bees, and orange-and-black butterflies playing among the wild dandelions growing in the grass.

The butterflies were called monarchs, and Amy looked forward to their arrival every spring.

As she peered deeper into the bush, Amy spied a small green object hanging from a slender brown twig. She reached into the bush and broke off the little twig. She held the object gently in her hand, admiring the delicate green color. Near the top was a hard ridge tinted with yellow that seemed to sparkle like gold in the warm spring sunlight.

Amy had found a butterfly chrysalis. Some people call them cocoons. They are also called pupas.

Amy had learned a lot about butterflies from her teacher at school. She knew that female butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. After a few days small caterpillars, called larvae, eat their way out of the eggs. They finish eating the eggshells — their very first meal! After that, they attach themselves to a leaf and eat and eat and eat until they become too big for their skin. They shed their old skin, a process called molting, and then gobble it up to get important nutrients. Mmm — delicious!

Caterpillars continue to eat and grow and shed their skin until they have done this four times. Now, they are about 2 inches long. But they still have a long way to go before they turn into beautiful butterflies.

The caterpillars take long walks in search of the perfect place to rest. When they find it, they weave a sticky, silky attachment called a silk button. This allows the caterpillars to hang upside down and begin a process called metamorphosis.

For the last time, the caterpillars shed their skin and emerge as a small, oval object called a pupa, chrysalis, or cocoon. This is the third stage in the butterfly life cycle.

Amy realized what a precious treasure she held in her hand. She gathered a handful of grass and leaves and covered the bottom of a large glass jar. She carefully laid the little green cocoon to rest in the soft little nest. Then she punched air holes in the lid with a nail and screwed it on top of the jar.

She placed the jar on a table next to her bed, where the warm spring sunshine would shine through the bedroom window and warm the little green cocoon.

Every day, she looked at the little cocoon in the jar, and waited. Amy knew that the caterpillar’s body inside the chrysalis would dissolve into a liquid and the cells of the adult butterfly begin to grow. The little cocoon became more and more transparent as the immature cells developed into a full-fledged butterfly. Pretty soon, she could see the orange-and-black wings of an adult monarch inside the chrysalis.

One morning, Amy woke up and glanced at the big glass jar next to her bed. But something was different. The little cocoon was broken and empty. Sitting next to it was a brand new orange-and-black butterfly with white markings on its wings. It was the most beautiful monarch butterfly she had ever seen.

The butterfly sat on a dry leaf, slowly moving its wings up and down. Amy watched in fascination, amazed by the miracle of nature she had witnessed in the big glass jar.

But the glass jar was no place to keep such a delicate and fragile creature. She took the jar outside, unscrewed the lid, and watched the beautiful butterfly flutter away.

Dawn Pisturino

June 8, 2022

Copyright 2008-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

17 Comments »

Blooming Desert

(Pink blossoms on a beaver tail cactus. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

ALL PHOTOS BY DAWN PISTURINO.

We got enough rain this winter for the cactus to blossom. It truly is a lovely sight when the desert is in bloom.

(Rose-colored blossom on a prickly pear cactus. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

But those cactus needles are nothing to mess with! They hurt!

(Creosote bush in bloom. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Creosote bushes are indigenous desert plants with deep roots and waxy green leaves which help them to retain moisture. They mostly stay green year round. But, in the spring, they burst forth with lovely yellow flowers that brighten up the landscape. On the downside, these yellow flowers mark the start of allergy season. Nothing lasts long in the desert, however, so we enjoy them while we can. Achoo!

Have a lovely day, wherever you are!

Dawn Pisturino

May 3, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

16 Comments »

Spring Poems

(Photo by Michael O’Grady)

Spring Poems by Dawn Pisturino

April Showers

I looked into the heavens

And saw the face of God.

He was a kindly gentleman

And not too very loud.

He wore a watch upon his vest

Which gave the time of day.

He looked at it: “The time has come,”

Was all he had to say.

And soon a gentle rainfall

Came from the April sky.

It kissed my wondering up-turned face

And poked me in the eye.

But then a very curious thing

Did happen at my feet.

A tiny flower sprouted up,

All blooming and complete.

It opened up its tiny leaves,

Embracing fast the rain,

And if I ever doubted God –

I never did again.

November 25, 1985

~

Spring

Spring! The vigor of new life soars in my veins!

I am free and alive and wonderful,

Free as the silly sparrow twittering in the tree-top,

Too gaily alive.

Alive as the new-sprung fountain of youth in the riverbed,

Which knows not that it is bound by grassy banks,

But runs down the waterway in a mad race for the finish.

And, wonderful as the tiny petals of a flower,

First opening up to the Father Sun

Like a virgin bride in the marriage bed.

Sun gives new life to the blood,

And blood gives new life to the body,

And the body gives new life to the soul,

Ad infinitum, ad infinitum, ad infinitum.

But every Spring plays its part as a new beginning,

And we never tire of the encore.

1987

~

Robin Red-Breast

When Robin Red-breast comes to town,

All the children dance around,

Clapping hands and stamping feet,

Happy with their little treat!

February 2, 1987

~

Have a wonderful Spring day!

Dawn Pisturino

April 25, 2022

Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

24 Comments »

The Pagan Origins of Easter

The Spring Equinox marks the festival of Eostre – also known as Ostara – a Germanic goddess worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons. If “Eostre” looks familiar, it’s because the word eventually morphed into “Easter.”


The pagan symbols of Easter include rabbits, hares, and eggs. Rabbits and hares represent fertility, while eggs symbolize fertile purity. Easter egg hunts can be viewed as a re-enactment of rebirth and renewal rituals practiced by ancient people. Lighting a bonfire at dawn on Easter morning hearkens back to the days when Germanic believers lit bonfires at dawn on the morning of the Spring Equinox. Decorating eggs and wearing new clothes symbolize the end of winter, the coming of Spring, and the birth of new life.


We all look forward to the coming of spring and all the beautiful treasures it brings: fresh green grass, colorful and fragrant flowers, birds singing in the trees, blue skies and sunshine, and warm breezes wafting through our open windows. Spring is the time when we feel energetic and renewed. We want to stretch out our muscles and get outdoors in the sunshine. We feel suddenly motivated to clean out our closets and send belongings we no longer need to the local thrift shop. We shop for new clothes, try a new hairstyle, revel in nature and the world at large. After the oppression of winter, Spring sets us FREE.


Happy Easter! Happy Spring!


Dawn Pisturino
April 11, 2020; April 12, 2022
Copyright 2020-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

21 Comments »

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