Nov 20, 2017

Mogilalia Monday

mogilalia ~ speaking only with difficulty

It’s the American Thanksgiving this Thursday, so Happy Turkey Day to all my American friends!



Okay, now all you Americans go stuff your turkeys for a minute, I want to talk to everyone else.

Are they gone? Okay. You ever notice how weird the American Thanksgiving is? I mean really. It’s supposed to celebrate the pilgrims and the Indians sharing the fruits of harvest time. Did they really wait until the fourth week of November to harvest their crops? I don’t think so. Their crops would have been buried under a foot of snow by that time.

And what’s with the Thursday holiday anyway? Work three days, one day off, work a day, and then it’s the weekend. Unless it’s just an excuse to hold Black Friday sales, which to me are akin to Boxing Day sales - something to be avoided at all costs. Americans are just so weird!

Okay Americans, you can come back now. We’re done.

When I started this post Sunday night I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Obviously I didn’t get very far. LOL

Anyone else out there with SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? I seem to recall last November was unseasonably warm and maybe even a little sunny. This year it’s very Novembery - cold and dark and dismal. I’m okay with the cold (especially when there’s snow on the ground) but not so much with the dark and dismal.

I think if you added up the amount of time we’ve seen the sun so far this month, you might get a whole day’s worth. And of course as soon as I typed that the sun started trying to make an appearance. But that is one determined wind out there - it keeps blowing the clouds back in front of it.

Interesting.... When I checked my blog archive to see if I made any comments on the weather this time last year (I hadn’t, but then I only did four posts for the entire month) I couldn’t help but notice on this same day I was the same number of words behind in my NaNo novel.

I find this rather fascinating because normally I play a game of falling behind and catching up throughout the entire month, but this year I started out strong and kept up my wordage until about Day 13. Then I started falling behind, although I still got at least a few hundred words a day in. But now, of course, I'm a good 6,000 words behind, same as last year.

I had big plans to get caught up this weekend, but yeah, that didn’t happen. Saturday was unrelentingly grey and wet and not conducive to writing, although I managed to get almost 2,000 words in (funny, I thought it was more). Then Sunday I had a lot of other stuff going on as well, but managed to beat the daily goal by a few words. So while I didn’t do the catching up I’d hoped to, at least I didn’t fall further behind.

One of the other pitfalls of the grey weather is comfort eating. Feeling down? Have a cookie. Or a cup cake. Or a bag of chips. Lately my weight has been up and down like my NaNo, only it’s more like lose a little, gain it back. I want to keep on the losing side, but the last couple of weeks I’ve been gaining, so I’m going to have to do a better job of monitoring what I eat. Maybe even up the exercise a bit.

Or maybe I should stop baking stuff. Sunday I started out wanting to use up the overripe bananas in my fruit bowl. This turned into making not only a banana nut bread, but an oatmeal apple bread, a dozen apple tarts, and two dozen mini oatmeal apple muffins. How did that happen? Well, the apples needed to get used up too.

So the apple bread went into the freezer and I split the tarts and muffins with the daughter. Now I just need to stop buying fruit and letting it get overripe. LOL

Don’t mind me. ‘Tis the season for depressing weather and all that comes with it, including maudlin blog posts. The trick to it, as I’ve found over the years, is to embrace the darkness and allow yourself to wallow, but put a time limit on it. When your time is up, suck it up and move on.

So raise your coffee cup to toast a better week ahead!

Nov 13, 2017

Microphyllous Monday

microphyllous ~ having small leaves

Speaking of small leaves...the English ivy I have in the wide planter with the trellis on my kitchen window ledge is going great guns. But the strawberry begonia I have above it is just exploding with little shoots. I’m going to have to find someplace else to hang it because it’s growing into the ivy and if I’m not careful it might take over the whole window.



I have a couple of hooks in my new office that would work...once the office is finished. Right now I keep closing the door to keep the cats out which makes it kind of cool in there. The Wandering Jew I already have in there doesn’t seem to mind, but I have to wonder if that’s why the sweet potato vine is dying.

Last week was...challenging, to say the least. Especially Thursday.

Thursday I had a string of bad luck the likes of which I hope to never see again. It began with the debit machine at Tim Horton’s destroying the chip in my debit card, and ended with a cloud of smoke from the oven at supper time. You really don’t want to hear what went on in between.

And it didn’t stop there, either. Saturday the TiVo box went on the fritz (right in the middle of the three hour movie I was really getting into) and it looks like it’ll have to be replaced. On Thursday. Meanwhile, if we want to watch any network cable TV, we’ll have to go down to the basement to the TV with the regular cable box on it. *sigh*

Ironically, the TiVo part of the box is still working. So anything we’ve already recorded we’re able to watch, and we can still access On Demand and Netflix. But anything we saved to “watch later” will be gone. Things like the last season of Killjoys, the final concert of The Tragically Hip, all the hard to find old movies...

And I don’t know if the two things are related, but Sunday I was having problems with my phone. Any time I tried to text or check my email it kept telling me “Network unvailable”.

I think what happened was this. When I’m at home I use my home wifi for the phone to save on the data usage. In the course of trouble-shooting the TiVo box Saturday night I had to reboot the modem that the TV, phone, and internet run off of. I’m thinking when the phone lost its access to my home wifi it wasn’t able to find it again. At least I’ll know what settings to check if it happens again.

I hate technology!

Nov 10, 2017

Always

With Remembrance Day just around the corner, this week’s poem was an easy choice to make. I wrote this several years ago, and while it doesn’t include every member of my family who’s been in the military, I think it gives a nice cross section.




Always

I remember my grandfather.
He liked to draw
and when I was very small
he taught me the proper way
to draw a pine tree.
He served
with the St. John's Ambulance
as a driver
in World War I and II.
I will never forget.

I remember my uncle.
He like to read
Louis L'Amour
and to work with
anything mechanical.
He served
as a tail gunner
in a British Lancaster, in World War II before
he became a POW.
I will never forget.

I remember my father.
He liked to work with his hands;
he loved power boats
and used to take me fishing
when I was a child.
He served
with the Canadian Armed Forces
as a Peace Keeper
in Egypt and Korea.
I will never forget.

I remember my brother-in-law.
He had a ready smile
and loved to play pranks.
He carved wood and leather;
he was an amazing artist.
He served
with the American Armed Forces
and fought in Korea.
I will never forget.

These men are my family.
I do not need
a single day
to remember them.
I will remember them
each and every day.
Always.

Nov 6, 2017

Megacerine Monday

megacerine ~ extinct giant deer

If I were to describe last week with one word, that word would be eventful.

To begin with, the daughter had her furnace serviced and suddenly it was no longer working. Seems like too much of a coincidence for it to have happened at that precise time of its own volition, but there’s no way of proving it was the service guy’s fault. At any rate, it was a tad chilly over there the rest of the week. They’re getting a new one installed today and in the meantime the grandbaby enjoyed family time in front of the fireplace.

Tuesday night, of course, was Halloween. One of the jobs I usually dread is having to carve the jack o’lantern. Scooping the pumpkin out is messy and my knives are inadequate for any kind of fine work. But this year the daughter bought a pumpkin carving kit and I could not believe the difference it made!



Despite my awesome pumpkin we didn’t have a lot of trick or treaters, but then we never do. Our neighborhood is kind of tucked out of the way and it’s really dark, thanks to the energy saving street lights. Of course my favorite trick or treater was the grandbaby.



Is she not the cutest little bunny ever? And that would be her pirate Grappy she’s hugging. She’s convinced he’s Captain Feathersword from the Wiggles Show, so it was to be expected that she insisted he dress up like a pirate. Actually, she was very firm on what costumes everyone should be wearing: Grappy was a pirate, Grammy was a witch, mommy was a librarian (and yes, she can pronounce the word properly), and daddy was a skeleton.

And of course at the stroke of midnight on Halloween, thousands of writers all over the world began typing madly as National Novel Writing Month began. The idea is to write 50,000 words during the 30 days of November. If you’d like to learn more about it, check it out HERE. So far I’m on track, but you never know what the week ahead will bring.

Friday the daughter took the day off work and we took a road trip with the grandbaby up to Stoney Creek to visit our Aunt Jennie. It’s been too long since we’ve seen her - a good visit but over too soon. Unfortunately even though we left early we still ran into traffic and the two hour drive home turned into more than three hours.



The office still isn’t finished, but it’s getting there, although you wouldn’t know it to look at it, there’s stuff all over the place. But I did manage to empty several boxes and I’m slowly filling the drawers.

This week’s job in the office will be going through the boxes of files and deciding which ones I want to keep in the desk drawers to have them close at hand, which ones will go in the filing cabinet, and which ones will go into storage boxes in the closet. Decisions, decisions.

So... what’s ahead for you this week?

Nov 3, 2017

The Balassi Stanza

It wasn’t enough that I wanted to do a rhyming form for October’s poetry form, but because the original post was scheduled for November 1st, I wanted to do a poem revolving around All Saints’ Day (aka Hallowmas). Jeez I’m not very bright sometimes.

So the form I decided on was the Balassi stanza. I forgot how much I dislike the Balassi stanza. It was created by a Hungarian poet named Balint Balassi who was lauded for his new use of rhymes. This stanza consists of nine lines and it might be easier just to show you the rhyme scheme: AABCCBDDB

But wait! That’s not all! There’s also a strict syllable count. Lines three, six, and nine have seven syllables and all the rest have six. The result is a somewhat choppy rhythm that really bugs the crap out of me. Okay, maybe it’s the syllable count that bugs me. Could be the restrictive syllable count is what makes it choppy.

At any rate, while researching All Saints’ Day I came across the term Allhallowtide. Also known as the Triduum of Death, it spans October 1 through November 2 and consists of All Saints’ Eve (Halloween), All Saints’ Day (Hallowmas), and All Souls’ Day. Awesome - three days, three stanzas.

I have to admit, I’m not happy with the way this poem turned out. Like I said, the form makes it choppy and I found the syllable counts very limiting. However, it is what it is. Maybe some day I’ll re-do the poem and forget about the form.


Allhallowtide

Fires of bone light the night -
year’s dark half now in sight -
end of harvest, feast with kin;
watch mummers in the streets
in disguise - give them treats.
Fortunes are told, fate to win.
Deter the spirits ill,
draw the good and we will
survive Samhain with our skin.

Hallowmas is when we
honor saints faithfully,
their lives and deaths, famed or not -
and give God solemn due
for all He’s done for you.
Honor too those who have brought
the light to other souls
sharing the Christian goals -
give thanks for all you have got.

All Soul’s Day is the last
for honoring the vast
list of purgatory souls.
You dress in black and roam,
peal out a mournful tone
and hope to fill up your bowl.
For each soul cake you eat
a soul’s released to seek
its way - heaven is its goal.

Oct 30, 2017

Malloseismic Monday

malloseismic ~ suffering from frequent and severe earthquakes

Like the new blog header? I figured it was time. I keep saying that this blog is for regular stuff and the other one is for writing, so the header proclaiming myself author here didn’t really make sense.

Any other Stranger Things fans out there? Netflix finally made season 2 available on Friday and I lasted all the way until Sunday before starting to binge watch it. And as it was, I only watched the first four episodes, and justified it by doing laundry, and painstakingly cleaning my antique typewriter so I could take some writerly pictures of it posed on my new desk.

Then I watched another couple in the evening while I was writing my blog posts. No easy task, that. Which is why I stopped at just those two - I really needed to get those posts done.

I really wish I’d started earlier in the weekend. The first season only had six episodes, but I think this season has nine. We had to wait a whole year for it, and I heard an ugly rumour that we have to wait until 2019 for season three.

Not a lot of progress was made on the new office last week. One of the bottom drawers of the desk has an insert so I can put hanging file folders in it, which I did, and I discovered the plastic file holder I had on top of one of my filing cabinets fit nicely into the other drawer with room to spare.

So Monday and Tuesday I started on the bottom drawers of the desk, but Wednesday I got nothing done in there. I had the day off from babysitting, but ended up spending the entire day (and night) working on a bunny costume for the grandbaby - I thought she needed it for Saturday (turned out she didn’t).

The daughter had to be in Toronto Thursday and Friday, which meant I was babysitting full time those days and the last thing I wanted to do when I got home at night was work in my office. Which pretty much left the weekend, during which I also managed to get some writing in among other things.

I may not have everything in its place, but at least the office is put together enough that I can work at my desk during NaNo. Just picture a lap top in place of the typewriter. ;-)


Oct 27, 2017

Jack O'Lantern

I thought considering we're so close to the end of the month that a Halloween poem would be fitting. Once upon a time I was a member of a poetry group and as a fun exercise we'd write from prompts. I don't know what the exact prompt was for this poem, but it's one I wrote about five years ago.

And for those of you interested in such things... I did a lot of research before writing this poem and the story about Stingy Jack and his deal with the devil is true, as is the fact that early jack 'o lanterns were carved from turnips.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Jack O'Lantern

Beware ye fool the devil, for the devil has his due
Beware ye lest the devil, should turn the tale on you
Stingy Jack was one who thought the devil he could best
For him his fate was worse than death, he wanders without rest


Now Jack was not a well-liked man, a mean and wretched soul,
He liked his drink, and that's a fact, be it bottle, keg, or bowl.
'Twas on a night that's such as this Jack bade the devil drink,
A guileless smile upon his face, his cheeks a ruddy pink.

They drank a toast to Samhain Eve and all the souls in hell.
Another, then another, till they heard the church bells' knell.
But Stingy Jack had not the coin 'twas needed then to pay,
He had a plan instead and this is what I heard him say:

"Old Scratch, into a coin ye must turn into straight away.
I'll pay our tab and ye'll change back without a long delay"
The fiend agreed not knowing that old Jack had tricked him well,
In a wallet with a cross beside, Jack put the coin to dwell.

The devil seethed, the devil raged, but all to no avail,
He tried to use his power, even knowing he would fail.
They struck a deal, that should Jack die, he'd not go straight to hell,
Instead he had a year of grace in which to say farewell.

Before his year of grace was up, Jack took the plague and died
But Heaven didn't want him, and the devil had his pride.
Because the year was not complete, he would not claim Jack's soul,
But sent him off into the night with just a burning coal.

A coal is just too hot to hold in nothing but your hand,
So Jack, he carved a turnip face to hold the burning brand.
On Samhain Eve he wanders now throughout the chilly night
A sad and lonely figure in the Jack O'Lantern's light.

Beware ye fool the devil, for the devil has his due
Beware ye lest the devil, should turn the tale on you
Stingy Jack was one who thought the devil he could best
For him his fate was worse than death, he wanders without rest