Dec 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

The grandbaby asked Santa for snow, and he delivered big time. It’s been snowing off and on for the last few days and it’s looking very Christmasy out there. Just perfect for snuggling under a blanket and watching some Christmas music videos.

I Believe In Father Christmas - Emerson, Lake, and Palmer



Drummer boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby



TSO – Christmas Cannon



TSO – Wizards of Winter



TSO – Christmas Eve in Sarajevo

Dec 22, 2017

Happy Ho Ho Ho

I don’t know about you, but with all the Christmas madness going on I could use a little comic relief. And what better way to get a laugh than a parody. . . or two.

The poems I have for you today don’t really need an explanation, but I’ll give you one anyway. The first one I wrote yesterday morning (and posted on my author’s Facebook page). Let’s just say I was inspired. The second one I wrote about ten years ago, and is my version of A Visit From St. Nicholas.


O Furnace Guy
(to be sung to the tune of O Christmas Tree)

O furnace guy, O furnace guy
I really must apologize
O furnace guy, O furnace guy
I really must apologize
My basement it’s so messy
and maybe smells like kitty pee
O furnace guy, O furnace guy
I really must apologize

O furnace guy, O furnace guy
was that sneezing I just heard
O furnace guy, O furnace guy
was that sneezing I just heard
Did I not mention dry wall dust
or that my furnace is full of rust?
O furnace guy, O furnace guy
here’s some Kleenex, help yourself

O furnace guy, O furnace guy
you sure are taking your sweet time
O furnace guy, O furnace guy
you sure are taking your sweet time
I’ve got so much Christmas stuff to do
Like wrapping presents, baking too
O furnace guy, O furnace guy
At last you’re done, I wave bye-bye.


A Visit From the Computer Tech

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, just the optical mouse;
The cords were all strung to the PC with care
In hopes the technician soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of interwebs danced in their heads;
The wife couldn’t take any more of this crap
So she went to bed while I took a nap.
When there on the screen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the keyboard I flew like a flash,
Grabbed up the mouse and gave it a bash.
The monitor gleamed with a brilliant blue glow
Seeming to mock me as I loudly moaned, “No!”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a security warning that made my eyes tear.
With an attack on my drivers, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment my computer was sick.
More rapid than eagles the popups they came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now Trojan, now Wormy, now BankerFox vixen!
A technician’s coming, my computer he’s fixin’
By installing protection, a router, a wall!
And then he’ll delete you, delete one and all!”
And then, in a twinkling, as I thought to despair,
A van entered my driveway and parked with a flair.
I opened the door with a feeling profound,
And into the house came the tech with a bound.
He was dressed all in blue from his head to his toe
And his jacket was covered with a sprinkling of snow.
A box full of tools was grasped in his hand
And he looked like an angel, come down to land.
His eyes, they were bloodshot, his face was unshaven
From his pocket he pulled a business card graven.
He was balding and old, and he started to sneeze,
Then, spotting the cat said, “I’ve got allergies.”
The stump of a cigar he held tight in his teeth
And he caught his hat on the door, in the wreath.
A squint of his eye and a shake of his head
Soon gave me to know the bill I would dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,
And in a few moments pulled the plug with a jerk.
“The mother board’s fried,” he said, shaking his head.
“And the rest of your hard drive looks like it’s dead.”
Then he packed up the tower and picked up his tools
“Gotta watch these old ‘puters, they’re stubborn as mules.”
He walked to his van, my computer in hand
I had to admit, this did not go as planned.
And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, but no more surfing to-night.”

Dec 18, 2017

Magadis Monday

magadis ~ ancient bridged stringed instrument

Woot! We have snow! Not really enough to build a snowman yet, much to the grandbaby’s dismay, but enough that she could help shovel her driveway.



And just so you know, those are my earmuffs the little monkey is wearing. :-D

It’s been a long time since I’ve played in the snow, and I have to admit to a certain reluctance to getting out there with her, but we had fun chasing the dog around the back yard and shoveling off the deck (which pretty much amounted to me shoveling and her sitting on the bottom step so I could shovel the snow on top of her). She even got me to make a snow angel with her. And no, there’s no pictures of that because I didn’t want to risk taking my phone out into the snow. LOL

And then, of course, the temperature took a nose dive and it was far too cold to play outside. Despite the sun shining brightly, it was too cold to do much of anything outside. During the two days of arctic chill I happened to go to the post office ... um ... three times, and the first time I couldn’t help but notice the steam coming off the lake in the rising sun and cursed the fact I didn’t have my phone with me to take a picture of it.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I worked in an office that overlooked Lake Ontario. Needless to say, the view was amazing, but no more so than at sunrise on a cold winter’s morning. With the chunks of ice floating in the water and the steam rising, it looked like an alien landscape. And I always told myself I was going to take a picture of it. But I never did.

Fast forward to the present where during my second trip to the post office I took a moment and went down to the beach with my phone. Between the brightness of the sun, the darkness of my glasses (I have transition lenses), and the bitter cold, I had no clue whether I was focused or not. My hands were so cold (couldn’t operate the phone with my gloves on) that I had to soak them in hot water when I got home to get them to work again. But I think it was worth it.



This weekend was only slightly warmer, but I found it very hard to resist accompanying the daughter, her hubby, and the grandbaby to the Primrose Donkey Sanctuary to visit the donkeys and sing Christmas carols.

While it was a nice idea in theory, in reality it was really crowded, people were pushy and rude, and did I mention it was freaking cold?



We managed to get pretty much all of our shopping done this weekend, and my spare time this week will be used for Christmas baking. I might have a recycled poem for you on Friday, but Monday being Christmas you’ll be lucky if I remember to post some videos, let alone write a post. LOL

So I'll take the opportunity now to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Dec 15, 2017

Ho Ho Ha Ha

I missed the Wednesday poetry post, so I’ve got nothing to repeat here today. However, I also made some mention (on one of my blogs) of switching from poetry to Christmas videos seeing as we’re so close to Christmas and all, so that’s what I’m doing today.

Today you get the funny ones, next week the more serious ones. Hope you enjoy. :-D


I'm Climbing Up the Christmas Tree




12 Pains of Christmas




Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire




I Am Santa Claus


Dec 11, 2017

Myology Monday

myology ~ study of muscles

This is supposed to be the Great White North, so where’s our snow?

Oh, I know there are other people complaining about the white stuff already, but so far all we’ve had is a trace amount. A few flakes that could be mistaken for dirt on my glasses. An almost dusting that was quickly blown away by the wind.

I WANT MY SNOW!!!

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without snow, and we’ve had way too many green Christmases over the last few years. But at least I have the tree up, and that helps (although I can’t help wishing it was a real one).

The daughter had a work thing Thursday night, so before she dropped the grandbaby off, I pulled out our Christmas tree so she could decorate it. Unfortunately, half the lights weren’t working but she didn’t care, she was thrilled anyway.



Notice the decorations only go halfway up, and the precision with which she would put several ornaments on the same branch.

The main thing is she had fun, and it kept her out of trouble for the evening. The tree stayed like that until I got some replacement lights, and then Saturday night I had to un-decorate it to put the new lights on, then decorate it again.

Being just shy of three, I don’t think she really noticed that the tree was not as she’d left it. When she was here for dinner last night her only comment was, “Where are the presents?” LOL



I remember when I was little we always had a real tree. My father’s job was to put the lights on it, my sisters and I would put the paper thin glass balls on it, and Mom was in charge of the icicles. Anyone remember Christmas tree icicles? Thin strips of foil that would fall apart if you looked at them wrong? Mom put them on one at a time and had such a light touch with them we used the same ones year after year.

The ornaments on my tree are all handmade - mostly by the daughter and I when she was little. It was something of a tradition that each year we’d make a new set of ornaments for the tree. I think it started because we have cats and I didn’t want broken ornaments if they knocked the tree over. And strangely enough, I don’t recall this ever happening.

When I was out for coffee with a friend Saturday morning, I made her take me down to the ecology garden to collect milkweed pods. These will be used in the making of this year’s ornament. Just as soon as I find my glue gun and spray paint. ;-)

Is your tree up yet? And is it a real one, or artificial?


Dec 8, 2017

Blackout Poetry

After a month of sketchy posts, I'm finally back on track. Even if it is just a repeat of the weekly poetry post.

I’ve known about blackout poetry for a few years, but for some reason I never got around to trying it.

When I first considered it for the form of the month I thought it would be really easy, maybe even a little fun. Basically, to do a blackout poem you take a page of prose, pick out a few key words, and then black everything else out.

With the holiday season closing in fast, I decided to use a page from one of my favourite Christmas stories, the Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry. I actually started out with two pages. The first page I used a yellow highlighter to highlight words that caught my eye. Then I reversed it on the second page, blacking out everything but the words I highlighted on the first page. And this is what I came up with:



It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, especially the blacking out part. I went through seven copies before I got it right. LOL

Meanwhile, here’s another couple of examples of what you can do with blackout poetry:

Smore - Blackout Poetry Challenge

Scholastic Blackout Poetry

For more examples and a better explanation, check these links:

Power Poetry  - 5 Tips For Creating Blackout Poetry
Medium - Creative Deconstruction For Writers: How to Write a Blackout Poem

Dec 4, 2017

Mullock Monday

mullock ~ waste earth or rock from a mine

You may have noticed I missed posting last Monday. Sorry, but I was busy writing. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

If you don’t read My Writing Journal and/or my writer’s page on Facebook, then you won’t have heard the news. Much to my utter astonishment, I completed the NaNo challenge, with words to spare.



If you want to learn more about it, you can check out my post on My Writing Journal.

I’d like to add another advantage to working on the Alphasmart Neo - it doesn’t connect to social media. This meant no Facebooking or obsessive checking of the email and definitely no games.

And now, of course, it’s December and Eek! Christmas is only a few weeks away. Time to start decorating and baking and regretting not starting the crafts sooner.

I need to get out to collect some milkweed pods for one of my Christmas crafts. And somewhere online I saw a really cute idea for painting peanuts for tree decorations - although I think I’d make a garland out of them rather than hang them individually because they’re so small.

I’ve got a few Christmas gifts already, mostly for the grandbaby. And yesterday I went up to Fabricland to get the material for her Christmas dress. I actually have the material for two different dresses - one is satin with netting, the other is a more traditional velveteen. At some point this week I’ll spread the material and the three patterns I’m waffling between on the dining room table and stare at them until I decide which one I like best.

I’d like to think life around here is going to be getting back to normal, but that’s kind of impossible with Christmas on the way. I’d like to try and stick to the writing schedule I developed during NaNo when possible - an hour before babysitting, and hour during, and an hour after. I should be good for 1,000 words a day, but I’ll be happy with even 500.

This will free up my evenings for Christmas crafts and miscellaneous stuff, like baking and finishing the clean up of my office. And I kind of need to put the hubby’s electronic stuff back together too. I was quick to move it all but I’ve been kind of slow sorting it out again.

It all sounds really good in theory; we’ll have to see how well I stick to it during the week ahead.

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




Oct 23, 2017

Muscid Monday

muscid ~ of, like or pertaining to house-flies

This is going to sound strange coming from someone who’s in the midst of moving her office across the hall, but I don’t like change. I’m not talking about change in general, like moving furniture around or the changing seasons, I mean changes that serve no purpose like the renovations our local Wal-Mart is currently undergoing where you can’t find anything, or Doctor Who changing the opening sequence (and just lately changing to a female doctor), and the Weather Network changing its website so it’s incomprehensible now.

I check the weather several times a day - I don’t know why, it’s just some kind of mindless obsession. The temperature has been so up and down lately - I find it comforting to know what to expect, and whether or not it’s safe to wear my suede books or if it’s going to be too wet out. I HATE the new layout of the Weather Network so much that if they keep it, I’m switching to Accuweather.

Progress on the Great Office Shuffle kind of ground to the halt last week. I didn’t really have time to deal with the futon, and I couldn’t really move forward until it was out of there. The hubby and I tossed around a few ideas about the inserts I wanted for the top two desk drawers - they’re not deep enough for files, but they’re too deep to just hold random stuff.

We toyed with the idea of putting a removable piece in that could hold some kind of basket, but I didn’t like the idea of a basket. I saw a wooden cutlery insert that would have been kind of cool with all its little compartments, but it was way too big. And I found a wooden crate-like container that turned out to be just a tad too big. So the hubby made what are basically removable wooden boxes to fit in there which doubles the usefulness of the two drawers.

It’s so nice to have a hubby that can make stuff like that. :-D

Getting rid of the futon took a lot more effort that I was counting on, starting with cleaning the cat hair off.



The cheap “white” blanket that was covering it went straight into the garbage. There was really no point in trying to clean it - not that it would have ever come totally clean. Our vacuum cleaner wasn’t really up to the job so I literally pulled wads of cat hair off the mattress first, then used a lint brush - stopping every couple of strokes to clean it off. What a pain in the butt!

Once I got as much cat hair off as I could I manhandled it from one end of the house, down the hall, and up the stairs, cursing and swearing all the way. It wasn’t that it was heavy, it was just bulky and floppy. Then I discovered that it wouldn’t fit under our bed, where I’d planned to store it. It’s not that there wasn’t room, it was because there’s a leg right smack in the middle of the bed frame. And the guest bed is a super single while the futon is a double, so it couldn’t go under there.

By this time I’m hot, and sweaty, and really, really frustrated, and I’m sitting on the doubled up mattress (I tried folding it over to go under the bed and it was too thick for that) eyeing the closet. The guest room was formerly the daughter’s bedroom and has a closet that is pretty much the width of the room. Inside there’s a few boxes of toys up on shelves, some clothes hanging up for storage, and a chest of drawers. And now, there’s the futon mattress between the chest of drawers and the back wall. Later on the hubby took the frame apart and the pieces are stashed safely under the bed.

That was Saturday. Sunday I should have been able to get things moved around and a start on setting things up, only I took a friend out for a birthday lunch and was gone a LOT longer than I’d intended. Isn’t that always the way?

There’s an area rug in the room that I didn’t want to get rid of but I didn’t want under the desk, and this is where I finally caught a break. I was able to turn the carpet and it fits almost perfectly wall to wall at one end, giving me bare floor in my desk area, and carpet at the other end where Romi’s chair is going to go. Nice!

This week ... setting up the desk and getting organized. God help me.

Oct 20, 2017

Squirrel

The is a fun little poem I came up with from a prompt offered by  Brazen Snake Books. If you’re looking for inspiration, you really should check them out. There are new prompts, both poetry and prose, each Monday. And if you don’t see one you like off the bat, scroll down for heaven’s sake! There’s sure to be one in an earlier post.

This one was from October 9 and said: Write a poem from the perspective of a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. How cute is that? I just couldn’t resist. :-D

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Squirrel

Here’s a nut, there’s a nut,
what’s under this big leaf?
Watch out it might be a trap -
it’s not, to my relief.

I’ll put it here, I’ll put it there
then look around for more.
Winter’s coming - hurry, hurry
build up the winter store.

Run and pause, run and pause,
nose twitching in the breeze -
chitter at the cat below -
he’s such fun to tease.

Careful, careful, have a care
upon the wire high -
a better way to cross the street
if you’re brave enough to try.

A trap, a trap, look out a trap!
In that garden there -
that human’s out to get you
though there’s plenty there to share.

Scurry, hurry, careful now
to the feeder just in reach
I see it’s filled with seeds today
oh, won’t those blue jays screech!

Jump and climb, climb and jump
move from tree to tree -
race through leaves and branches,
chirp out loud in glee.

Home again, home again
my nuts are safe inside
the hollow tree I call my home -
this stash a source of pride.

Oct 16, 2017

Morphometry Monday

morphometry ~ measurement of form or shape

Today I am suffering the turkey hangover that I should have had last weekend. I really like turkey leftovers - there’s so much you can do with them - so despite having had the big family Thanksgiving dinner last weekend yesterday I made my own turkey for dinner.

At first glance I thought the turkey I bought was a little small, but it only needed to feed four and a half people, so it turned out it was plenty big enough. As in I have leftovers without even cutting into the second half of it. And the best part is, I didn’t go too crazy with the sides, so I don’t have a whole lot of other leftovers, just turkey. Although I do have an entire pumpkin pie in the freezer. What can I say? The recipe made two. ;-)

Our weather has been...well, you just don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. Hot one minute, so cold the next you need the furnace on - mostly gloomy, sometimes rainy, sometimes windy, sometimes both. Yesterday started out a little cool but a strong wind came up along with torrential rain, and then by late afternoon it was so warm I had the deck door open. Then last night the temperature dropped to 7C (45F). I was wearing a tank top yesterday and a sweater today.

Nevertheless, the grandbaby and I still got to spend some quality time playing outside. One day we walked down to the park where we had a great view of passing trains from on top of the picnic table. Please note the "flowers" she picked for mommy.



And of course the wet weather doesn't bother her one bit - rain means puddles and puddles mean splashing!



The Great Office Shuffle is progressing nicely. Still slowly, but any progress is good progress. Hubby’s electronics have been moved across the hall and his work area has been dismantled. I fixed the drawer on the wooden filing cabinet that held up one end of his “desk” so that I could take both of my metal filing cabinets across the hall with me with a clear conscience.

Which means I’ve also got my metal filing cabinets emptied as well as the two drawers in my old desk. And wow, is that ever a lot of STUFF! At this point everything is in cardboard boxes or plastic storage boxes, stuffed on the shelves in the closet or stacked up in the corners. Even once the futon is gone and the desk is in place it’s going to be a job and a half - there’s no point in just slapping things together again, I want to be organized about it, and hopefully find more stuff to get rid of along the way.

So far I’ve got a big box of books to get rid of, another of junk to donate, and a pile of shredding to do. The big decisions will be what stuff goes in/on my new desk, what goes into the filing cabinets for easy access, and what can be put in the plastic storage boxes in the closet. And where the heck did all these notebooks come from???

I think my biggest accomplishment of the weekend was getting the dining room table cleaned off in time for Sunday dinner. I wish I’d taken a picture so you could be all impressed. :-D

So...there’s not much point in dismantling the futon (and traumatizing the cat who likes to sleep on it with its removal) until the desk is finished and ready to be put in place. I plan on making Romi a cat bed out of an old sweater - definitely not the same, but it’ll have to do. The hubby’s working on the top of the desk but he has no control over how quickly the varathane dries. I’m sure it’ll be done by the end of the week.

I wonder if now would be a good time to remind him about the inserts I want in the desk drawers? ;-)

Oct 9, 2017

Metachrosis Monday

metachrosis ~ ability of animals to change colour

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians and Happy Columbus Day to my American friends.



Despite the fact that today is the actual holiday, like most people we had our big, family dinner yesterday. And the thing I’d like to know is, if I was just a contributor and not the host, how come my fridge is stuffed with leftovers? Mostly stuffing and veggies and fruit. The pie I brought that didn’t even get cut into went into the freezer for when my sisters stop in for a visit in a couple of weeks.

I was totally a bad diabetic too - I indulged in a piece of the daughter’s pecan pie for desert. Man can that girl bake a mean pie! And they’re so pretty too! I wish I could take credit for teaching her that skill, but though I’ll make a pie from scratch I don’t put nearly as much effort into it as she does.



So how are you spending your holiday weekend?

I looked at the three days I had coming and thought it would be the perfect time to at least start moving my office across the hall. Man, I don't know what I was thinking!

Oh, come on. Did you really expect it to be as easy as that?

Day one started with a trip to the city of Peterborough, north of us. And not just there, but to the north side of the city where the Fabricland is. The idea was to pick up the stuff I needed to make the grandbaby’s bunny costume for Halloween. To make a long story short, the fake fur was way too expensive, I wasn’t happy with the textured arctic fleece I ended up with, and they didn’t have a pattern in her size. But there was a giant thrift store in the same plaza where I scored an already made tiger costume in her size. The trick will be convincing her she wants to be a tiger instead of a bunny.

Two more stops in Peterborough, four more stops before home. I started out at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t get back until after 3 p.m. It was crazy out there, both the stores and the traffic. I was fried when I got back home and I’m not ashamed to admit that all I managed to do with the office was cleaning up and refurbishing the kitty litter area, and emptying the white bookcase we want out of there (it was already half empty).

Day two was spent re-organizing closets. Yeah, I know it seems kind of counter productive, but it had to be done. I got rid of a bunch of stuff and have a bunch of stuff set aside to donate. Now my arts and crafts are nicely organized in the workroom closet with room to spare for file storage, and the big closet in the hallway has all my sewing and yarn supplies, maybe not as nicely organized, but definitely easier to get at. And as a bonus there was room in a corner of it for my mops and broom so they don’t fall on me every time I open the linen closet.

Today I get to actually start working on the Great Office Shuffle. How far I’m able to get is anyone’s guess.

Oct 6, 2017

Dinggedicht

This is exciting for me. It’s not often I come across a new form these days but during a somewhat fruitless search for a different form I stumbled across this one. The Dinggedicht is a German form that means literally: poem of things. Points if you’re able to pronounce it. LOL

It’s similar to the Ekphrasis, which is a poem based on another work of art, but in this case it’s the mood, or inner being of the object that’s being written about. And it is not restricted to works of art, the poem is formed by observation of images in the world around you, expressed symbolically; the subject can be drawn from everyday life or current events.

You’d think, considering there’s no rhyme or syllable count, this would be any easy poem to craft. It’s not. It can be very difficult to capture the mood or inner essence of something, which made settling on a subject even more difficult. I’m hoping the subject of my poem would have been obvious even without the title.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Global Warming
The wind scatters your denials
flinging them back at you
ripping your objections up by the roots
only to crush them into splinters.

The siren call of the sea
becomes strident, irritated,
hurling epithets as it slams the shore,
not stopping there but crawling inward
to reclaim the already saturated land
while ignoring the parched earth elsewhere.
The land shudders, heaves, rips apart -
reconfigures itself with no rhyme nor reason.

Fueled by the hot, dry wind
the inferno devours everything in its path
scouring the surface
abrading the skin of the land
until all that is left is ash.

Deny it though you may
the truth is out there
staring you in the face.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

If you’d like to learn more about the Dinggedicht I suggest one of the following links:
Ada's Poetry Alcove
The Collagist
All Poetry

Oct 2, 2017

Magpiety Monday

magpiety ~ talkativeness, garrulity, especially on religious or moral topics

Can you hear me yet???

So last week I came down with a cold, and as seems to be the habit with me, it soon morphed into the sinus cold from hell. I quickly switched from the home remedy I was taking (which works really great if you start taking it soon enough but in this case the cold got away from me) to an over the counter sinus medication, and it slowly started to get better. By the weekend I thought I’d pretty much had it licked.

I was wrong.

Sunday night, shortly after dinner, my hearing was suddenly muffled. The thing is, my sinuses didn’t feel all that bad, so it was really weird for my hearing to go like that. I immediately popped a couple of sinus pills which only made my head a little muzzy as well.

At any rate, it was a good thing the hubby had to go out for a bit last night, because I had to have the volume on the TV cranked to hear Star Trek: Discovery. After three episodes I’ve decided to give the show a resounding thumbs up, despite what they did to the Klingons. The only other thing that bugs me about it, and it’s really a minor thing, is the technology.

The show is supposed to take place ten years before the original series but the technology they’re using is far more advanced. The ship is more stylish, they use holograms in their communications, and they’re doing site to site transports. That wasn’t a thing until The Next Generation Star Trek.

However, I choose to look at it in the same light as the newer Star Trek movies. The discrepancies there were explained by them being in a alternate reality, caused by a disturbance in the space/time continuum by a time travelling Romulan ship. So if we believe this is also set in that alternate reality, then the tech upgrades make sense. Although it still doesn’t explain the Klingons.



‘Tis the season though. The new TV season that is. My old favourites are back - Scorpion, NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Bull, Criminal Minds - and I’ve caught a few of the new shows. I watched Young Sheldon, the spin-off of The Big Bang Theory, and it was okay, but if I miss an episode it won’t break my heart. David Boreanaz’s new show SEAL Team was pretty good. And believe it or not, I really like The Orville. It’s kind of a cross between Galaxy Quest and Star Trek.

So far there aren’t any conflicts. Well, except last night hubby offered to watch NCIS: LA on On Demand so I could catch The Disappeared. I’m sure when the rest of our shows kick in later on we’ll be doing a lot of taping, but between Netflix and On Demand we don’t do too badly.

We’ve been binge watching The Travelers on Netflix to catch up on season one before season two starts later this month. And I can’t wait until the end of October when Netflix has the second season of Stranger Things available.

Wow. Just looking at the shows I’ve listed it looks like I watch a lot of TV, but don’t forget that’s spread out over seven days (or maybe that should be nights). And I rarely just sit and watch TV. I’ve usually got my lap top going, or I’m reading, or doing a craft.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! ;-)

Sep 29, 2017

High School High Jinks

You know, just because I haven’t been posting recently written poems in my passion for poetry posts doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing anything new. I’ve been writing a least a poem a week for the Brazen Snake Books prompts and I somehow think it’s cheating to use them here as well. That’s not to say the poetry muse doesn’t strike at other times as well, but these poems are either too personal or too unfinished to use.

Which means once again I dipped into the poetry vault, this time coming up with a couple of poems I wrote in high school. Oh, the memories . . .


Between Classes

I’m sitting alone
on the stairs
basking in the silence.
Sweet
Dreamy
Solitude.
Suddenly, the sharp
ring of a bell
and the thunder begins.
Doors open and
people begin to pour out.
Lockers bang and
feet assault the floors.
Voices chatter and
people jostle on another
on their way
to heaven-knows-where.
Less than ten minutes
have passed.
Then once again,
Sweet
Dreamy
Solitude.
As I sit alone
on the stairs
basking in the silence.


Goodbye Teens

Slips of paper
with parts of poems
tear stained pillows
fights on the phone
pictures of people
whose names have been lost
drawings of summer
or winter’s bright frost
what’s left of the tickets
of movies you seen
sad secret smiles
for the dreams you once dreamed
old faded blue jeans
hung up for good
saddened goodbyes
to your lost teen-hood.

Sep 25, 2017

Multivocal Monday

multivocal ~ having many meanings

Wow, summer didn’t just return, it returned with a vengeance! We’ve had heat warnings in effect for the last several days and we’re not out of the woods yet. But the weather network swears it’ll cool again by the weekend, and you know we can all trust the weather network.

No progress to report on the great office switcheroo. I did go back to Primitive Designs to look at knobs for the desk, but the ones I really liked they only had three of and I need at least six of them. Eight would be better. But they’re supposed to be getting more in this week so I’ll try again on the weekend.

Meanwhile, there’s still a lot of work to be done in the room itself before it can become my office. Specifically, I need to re-home the kitty litter pan. It sits right in front of the closet door, which is unhandy to begin with, and when one of the cats decides to drop a stink bomb in it, it can become lethal.

Smell aside, it would be nice to have easier access to that closet. It’s small, but deep, and although I have a lot of art supplies in there, there’s still lots of room for storage. I’ve got some plastic file boxes with old/little used files in them. And maybe I could even find room for some of the craft closet overflow. My idea is to have the craft closet for fabric and yarn crafts only, and all other crafts could go in the “art” closet. Guess I’ll have to wait and see how much room I have when I can actually get into the art closet.

I made another pass at the bookcase we want to get rid of, and found two more boxes of books to get rid of. Imagine, me getting rid of books! This time I took them to a used bookstore the next town over where I earned $15 in store credit ... which I turned around and spent $12 of on books for the grandbaby. LOL

Saturday night I participated in a somewhat unusual event. I’m sure most people have been invited to a high school or college reunion at one time or another, but how many of you have ever been to a grade school reunion? Here’s the original class picture:



You can click on it to make it bigger. And here are the 15 of us who were able to make it, plus our teacher:



15 out of a class of 36 is not bad, considering how much time has gone by. There were a few others that would have liked to make it, but either had distance issues or other commitments. Maybe next time guys. ;-) The organizers - Anne Reyns, David Cromlish, and Jane Barlow-Carrie - did an amazing job of tracking people down.

It was great to see everyone and catch up. A few people were easy to recognize but a few took some serious guesswork and many hints. And man, did the stories flow fast and furious, everyone had at least one. The more we talked, the more we remembered. I think it’s safe to say a good time was had by all.

I only thought to exchange e-mails with one of my old friends and silly me, I have a whole box of business cards sitting on my desk and do you think I remembered to bring any of them? Of course not!

Now that we’ve all connected, I’m sure it’ll be easier to stay in touch. I’ve already found five of my old friends on Facebook and I’m sure more will follow. Not everyone has Facebook though, so staying in touch might be tricky. But I’m confident we’ll manage somehow.

You know, sometimes the most pleasant walk of all is one down memory lane.

Sep 22, 2017

The Shadow On The Stone
by Thomas Hardy

While I really enjoy Thomas Hardy’s poetry, I have to admit I’ve never read any of his novels and I don’t believe I’ve read any of his shorter fiction either. Maybe one of these days I’ll look him up on Project Gutenberg . That site has everything. ;-)

In the meantime, for today’s passion for poetry I’d like to share my favourite Thomas Hardy poem. It was written shortly after the death of his first wife, Emma. He wrote a whole series of love poems for her, regretting how much they had grown apart in the later years of their marriage.


The Shadow On The Stone

I went by the Druid stone
That broods in the garden white and lone,
And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows
That at some moments fall thereon
From the tree hard by with a rhythmic swing,
And they shaped in my imagining
To the shade that a well-known head and shoulders
Threw there when she was gardening.

I thought her behind my back,
Yea, her I long had learned to lack,
And I said: ‘I am sure you are standing behind me,
Though how do you get into this old track?’
And there was no sound but the fall of a leaf
As a sad response; and to keep down grief
I would not turn my head to discover
That there was nothing in my belief.

Yet I wanted to look and see
That nobody stood at the back of me;
But I thought once more: ‘Nay, I’ll not unvision
A shape which, somehow, there may be.’
So I went on softly from the glade,
And left her behind me throwing her shade,
As she were indeed an apparition—
My head unturned lest my dream should fade.

Sep 18, 2017

Mockado Monday

mockado ~ inferior quality woollen fabric

So ... the blame for the return to the summer-like weather rests totally on the hubby’s shoulders. He declared summer over last weekend and closed up the pool. So naturally, in typical Canadian fashion, the days started getting warmer and soon the nights were getting warmer too.

The weekend was downright hot, and this week is supposed to be even hotter. The weather is nicer now than it was in June and July. Go figure.

The coyotes have moved on again. How do I know this? The abundance of squirrels at my bird feeder. It’s a big feeder, but the squirrels and starlings can empty it in less than a day. Which is why I’ve taken to leaving seeds out in a dish on the table on our deck, along with the peanuts for the jays. It gives the little birds a fighting chance.

Unfortunately, it looks like my sparrows and chickadees have been frightened off, but I have a pair of cardinals that visit at dusk and dawn. And one afternoon I was sitting on the desk reading and a little chipmunk climbed up on the table to check out the dish. I love chipmunks. So after that I started leaving peanuts on the deck for him when I put peanuts out for the jays.

In other news ... I have my desk.



It’s not exactly the desk I wanted, but it’s the desk I needed. Sometimes our dreams just aren’t practical and we have to let them go.

One of the reasons I want to move across the hall is for the view. My current office has a northern exposure and the other room has a southern one. I’ve often said I’m solar powered and the view from the southern exposure is more energizing than a northern one.

The dream desk is big. Too big for the room I want it for really. And there’s only one place I could put it where my back wouldn’t be to the window and at that I’d only have a partial view.

We drove up to Ajax on Wednesday night to pick up this desk and my first thought was that it wasn’t deep enough for my lap top. But the hubby was positive he could fix that, and he’s actually already done so. He took the very top off, which had some water damage to the finish, and cannibalized it to add to the depth. Now he just needs to fit a new top on it.

I don’t have as many little cubby holes as the dream desk had, but I have more drawers, which is even better. Not as many as it looks like in the picture, there’s actually only two down each side, but the ones on the bottom are deep enough to hold file folders and I’m hoping to talk my ever so handy hubby into making removable trays for the two upper ones.

It needs new drawer pulls, which means I get to go to Primitive Designs and indulge in some fancy ceramic ones. And the amazing part? It’s exactly the same height as the window sill. And the bookcase I have against the desk in my current office will fit exactly in front of the new one.

Now the search is on for a chair to go with it. ;-)

Sep 15, 2017

The Poet Tree



About four years ago I was invited to join a group of poets who were giving eulogies to a tree. Yes, that’s right, a tree. This wasn’t a protest, this was saying goodbye to the last elm tree in Victoria Park before it was cut down. The occasion was even videoed and uploaded to YouTube. Good luck finding it. ;-)

Afterwards we tucked our poems beneath a string wound around the tree so that passersby could read them. I just recently saw in our local news that the first of several benches made from the wood of the tree are ready to be placed in the park. Apparently the wood needed to season before it could be used.

At any rate, this is the poem I came up with for the occasion:


The Poet Tree's Tale

Hear my tale that you may see
The dream I dreamed beneath this tree
Whose rich enchantment captured me;
While I was sitting in its lee.

There was a sweet tranquility
Of visions that were sent to me
By this majestic poet tree
Whose life is filled with history.

Ages of serenity
Years passed by in harmony
Such innocence and purity
It caught me up, then set me free.

"But peace no more," alleged the tree,
"The world has changed, and so have we.
Life is just uncertainty -
A storm is coming, wait and see."

"Earthquakes leave behind debris,
Earth and fire, wind and sea,
The heavens weep unnaturally,
For what is past and still to be."

"The warnings come by two and three
Ignored by those too blind to see.
And you, the guardians, meant to be
Abandoned us, ignore our plea."

And when I woke, beneath the tree
I wept for what would come to be
I wept for all life's frailty
And the dream I dreamed beneath this tree.

Sep 11, 2017

Meditabund Monday

meditabund ~ absorbed in meditation

What do you think? Do you think we’ve seen the last of the summer weather? Not that we saw a whole lot of it during the summer - it was rather wet and cool. But when I woke up yesterday morning and it was only 8 C (about 45 F) I think it’s safe to say we don’t have to worry about a heat wave any time soon.

Now that all the vacations are over - mine, the brother-in-law’s (which necessitated the hubby going in to work an hour earlier), and the hubby’s - I’m slowly easing back into a routine. At least as far as the morning goes.

So naturally my subconscious is trying to throw a wrench into the spanner. I fully intend to reclaim the workroom (across the hall from my office) as my new office. Actually, that room is more a return to my office. It started out as my office pretty much from the day we bought this house.

Back then I had a big old secretary’s desk in there, very similar to what I have in my current office. But I really don’t need all that space, and a smaller desk will allow for a new bookcase under the window (like the one I have in my current office).

Here’s where it gets a little complicated.

There is a grey lounge chair in the rec room that really doesn’t fit - there’s just no room for it. Rather than give it away or throw it out, we’d like to put it in the work room. Of course at the moment there’s no room for it there, either.

What there is is a futon covered in cat hair because one of the cats has claimed it for his own. Other than that it’s in great shape. Certainly it’s in better shape than the one that followed the daughter through her university years, and now resides in her basement. Do you see where this is going?

She’s going to get rid of her futon and take ours, which gives us enough room in the workroom for the grey lounge chair and a new desk. Now despite the fact The daughter has not gotten rid of her futon yet, putting events in motion, I’ve been looking for a desk. But not just any desk, my dream desk.



On a whim I checked out Kijiji, an online buy and sell classifieds site, and I almost wish I hadn’t. Kijiji had my desk. Actually, it had several versions of my desk and they were all affordable. And some of them were within doable driving distance. So I emailed several of the most promising ones and ... I still do not have a desk, just a large dose of frustration.

A couple of the desks were already gone, a couple of emails went unanswered, and the two emails that sent me replies did not reply again when I asked for a few more details about their desk, like measurements to make sure it would fit in the back of our SUV.

The nice thing about Kijiji is that new items are always being added and you can narrow your search by item and price. I have a folder on my desktop for the desks I’ve bookmarked and sent emails to show my interest. Now that the weekend is over I’m going to delete what’s in this folder and start fresh Thursday night.

The search continues.

Sep 8, 2017

Dreaming

I was actually going to try to write something new for a change, only, well, it was late when I started this original post and my brain was not fully in gear. In fact, it took several tries before I rooted out even an old poem to use.

I’m pretty sure I was around thirty when I wrote this poem, which is kind of funny when you consider the subject matter. But just to give you a little perspective on the way my mind works ... I have a sister who’s ten years older than me, so when she turned thirty I was only twenty and I thought thirty was positively ancient. She has never forgiven me for the hard time I gave her. LOL


Dreaming

If I could live another’s life, my world their point of view
Oh, how happy I could be to do the things they do.
Instead of drab existence, a life more richly led
A wish fulfillment fantasy - another’s path to tred.

If I could have the romance that others seem to find,
The passion everlasting, the closeness so divine
The happiness I would derive from such a life as this
Seems to me the best that I could ever hope to wish.

If I could find adventure, the kind others seem to find
How exciting life would be - a mystery to unwind
Flights of fancy lead me to far exotic lands
Filled with wondrous peoples and vistas ever grand.

If I could see the dreams I dream come to life at last
The way that others seem to do then when the dreaming’s passed
I could look back upon a life and see what others see
And feel the satisfaction, that dreaming caused to be.

If I could live my life once more now that I’m at the end
I’d live a life that’s real this time instead of one pretend.
I’d do the things I dream about and when my life is gone
There’d be no regrets, as there is now, for things I’ve never done.

Sep 4, 2017

Malacoid Monday

malacoid ~ made of a soft or fleshy substance

Wow, hard to believe it’s September already. Just last week it still seemed so far away, but here we are, Labour Day weekend. The last long weekend of summer.

Not that we really had much summer this year. It was mostly wet. Sometimes it was cool and wet, sometimes it was hot and wet - and there were only a handful of days that it was hot enough to complain about. While I could have lived without the excessive rain over the summer, the cooler temperatures were quite nice.

As has been my tradition for most of my adult life, the end of summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Canadian National Exhibition. Or as most people call it, The Ex. When the daughter was little it was our mommy/daughter thing - the highlight of the summer.

I tried to take a few pictures on the way there of traffic volume and the drive along Lakeshore Blvd which is like driving through a tunnel with all the roads criss-crossing above it, but my phone updated the day before we went and my settings got all messed up. By the time I got it working again we were already at the Princess Gates.



Actually, considering it was the Friday of the holiday weekend, traffic wasn’t too bad at all. And going home the traffic was even lighter - almost unheard of when driving in Toronto. After wandering around the main building for a bit, we decided to get something to eat, and as we made our way across the top edge of the midway, who should we run into but my sister and her family. They’d already eaten so we made plans to hook up for supper (although they tired out quicker than us so by that time they'd packed it in to head for home).

Some of the sights we enjoyed were an amazing sand sculpture exhibit:



If you’re on my Facebook page there are more pictures of the sand sculptures. And there was Rock Valley:



It’s amazing watching the artist stack those rocks with such precision. Unfortunately this was his last year for it. And we got to see the impressive Quilt of Belonging:



This quilt was so big I couldn’t quite fit it all in one picture. It’s 10 ½ feet high and 120 feet long, made up of 263 quilt blocks. It was designed to portray the cultural legacy of Canada’s First Peoples, and it does so in an amazing way. If you’d like to learn more about it, go HERE .

And my personal tradition when going to the CNE is to buy one completely frivolous item. Past purchases include embroidered kimonos, a silk skirt, a witch ball, a didgeridoo, a carved wooden chest, and a large rain stick. This year’s purchase just might top them all, a plasma light dragon:



By the time supper time rolled around we’d pretty much seen everything there was to see. Sadly, the CNE just isn’t what it used to be. The International Marketplace has shrunk down so that it fits into the same building as the domestic market, along with the outlet shopping. You used to be able to walk across the avenue in the grounds to the Automotive building to see the cars on display and A Taste of Country, but that’s no longer there. And they no longer have the horse show in the indoor arena - the daughter and I loved to get our food and sit to watch the horses.

Being a week day the crowds weren’t bad, but they were bad enough, and people were rude! And the noise was pretty bad too - it was almost impossible to carry on a conversation outside of the buildings. To be honest, I don’t know how eager I am to go again, unless it’s with the grandbaby.

Maybe I’m just getting old. :-D

Sep 1, 2017

Terzanelle

Well, would you look at that, I actually remembered to repeat my poetry post this week. :-D

This form is a little ... shall we say ... challenging. It was invented by Lewis Turco in 1965, and for those of somewhat familiar with poetry forms, it combines the villanelle’s refrain with the terza rima’s end line patterning. What truly makes it challenging is the number rules for it:

1. It is a fixed form of 19 lines - five triplets and a quatrain.
2. The body is comprised of tercets that each refrain the second line of the preceding tercet for its third line.
3. The first line of each of these tercets is rhymed with its refrained line.
4. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are refrained as the second and fourth lines of the closing quatrain.
5. The closing quatrain refrains the second line of the last tercet as its third line and rhymes its first line with that refrain.
6. Lines may be in any length or meter within reason.
7. Terzanelles may be written on any subject.

Got that now? There’ll be a test later. ;-)


Dragonflight

The wind is sighing through the trees,
The warmth of summer shimmers ‘round;
Magic‘s found in days like these.

A forest pool, a wild playground,
Where water lilies are abloom,
The warmth of summer shimmers ‘round.

A wafting scent of rare perfume;
The air is soft with ambient light
Where water lilies are abloom.

Who directs your soaring flight,
Free spirit wandering where it will.
The air is soft with ambient light.

You dip and weave and fly with skill -
I’d follow if I only could,
Free spirit wandering where it will

I watch you flitter through the wood;
The wind is sighing through the trees.
I’d follow if I only could -
Magic is found in days like these.


If you’d like to learn more about the Terzanelle, try one of the following links:
Shadow Poetry 
Writer's Digest 
The Poet's Garret  
Popular Poetry Forms 

If you give it a try, I’d love to see what you come up with. If you email it to me at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com, I’ll post it on my writing blog next Wednesday and here on Friday. And if you don’t, then you’re going to be stuck reading a couple of poems that survived junior high school.

How’s that for incentive? :-D

Aug 28, 2017

Murage Monday

murage ~ tax for the upkeep of walls

If you’re not one of my Facebook friends, then you missed my big news from last week: I finally got my tattoo.



That picture was taken by my tattoo artist just after he was done, which is why it looks a little red and swollen. I’d have taken a new one for this post but I’ve just entered the flaking and peeling stage. It’s not itchy, but I’m finding it really hard to resist peeling it like I would a healing sunburn. ;-)

Other than that it was a fairly quiet week. I spent a lot of time going through the kitchen cupboards ferreting out glassware to add to my growing pile of stuff to be donated. Despite the fact that a lot of it hadn’t been used in more than ten years, some of it even longer than that, if ever, it was surprisingly hard to part with some of it. But I put on my big girl underpants and sucked it up.

After the daughter added some clothes and toys, I had a full load for the car. Including, I might add, five boxes of books! Then my friend and I drove up to Peterborough to a thrift store that raises money for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

And you know that after unloading all that we naturally had to check the store out. They were having a half price sale on toys, so it’s safe to say the grandbaby made out like a bandit. I found her a large set of plastic dishes and a whole fleet of cars and trucks.

I also found a couple of pair of shoes for her (that weren’t on sale), a pair for me, a bisque dragon to paint, and - don’t judge me - a Slap Chop. I confess, I’ve wanted one for ages. My mother had a similar device she used for chopping nuts. I hate having to mince onions or garlic or whatever, so it’s going to come in handy. If nothing else, my fried egg breakfast sandwiches are going to be more interesting.

Friday the son-in-law had an emergency so he dropped the grandbaby off early. She discovered the bag of peanuts I keep for the blue jays in the kitchen and insisted on putting some out for the birds. Then she stood on the deck yelling: “Blue jays, come get peanuts!”

I tried to interest her in helping me pick up sticks in the back yard but she was more interested in moving the peanuts from the table on the deck to the table on the patio. At least I thought that’s what she was doing. The hubby later fished 16 of them out of the pool when he was cleaning it. :-D

She was having so much fun she didn’t want to go back to her house for lunch, so I bribed her with a trip to the park. We went to one of the smaller parks that had a big slide structure, two dinosaurs to sit on, and most importantly, no swings. It’s almost impossible to get her off a swing once she’s on one.



As it was, I had to bribe her with a trip to see Grappy at the office to get her away from the park. It may have been a round about route to get her home, but we did get there.

Eventually.

Aug 21, 2017

Mortiferous Monday

mortiferous ~ death-bringing; fatal

So ... when we last met over the soap opera that is my life, my vacation was a bust but my bookcases were pretty much finished. Life was beginning to return to normal. More or less.

Over the course of the week I began weeding out books and knick knacks we don’t need/use/are tired of to donate to charity, further de-cluttering the house. I gotta admit, it was nice coming home after babysitting to a tidy house.

This lasted for a week.

Late Saturday afternoon, the hubby decided to sand the kitchen ceiling in a prelude to painting it. I might not have been quite so willing to go along with this had I realized he was going to be using the electric sander. Don’t ask me why, but I had the impression there were only a couple of spots he needed to sand and he was going to do it by hand.

Anyway, he moved most of the stuff we had on the counters onto the dining room table, and then I helped him tape up plastic over the doorway, over the fridge and stove, over the shelves above the pantry, and over the passthru and doorway into the dining room.

Doesn’t matter whether you’re sanding filler, drywall, or painted walls, when you’re using an electric sander the dust is super fine and super insidious. While most of the house was spared, thanks to a six inch gap in the bottom of the plastic over the dining room opening, everything in the dining room had a fine coating of white. Inside the kitchen the plastic over everything helped somewhat, but the dust still got into the cupboards.

I might mention at this point how much I hate dusting. I would rather scrub the public toilets at a chili cook-off than dust. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. And he’s not done yet.

I’d been working in my office when this started, and at one point I was going down to the basement for something and I noticed the living room looked a little foggy. I quickly blocked the gap in the dining room with some boxes, which helped, and the living room wasn’t too badly covered.

My office came out of this the best, mainly because I worked with the door closed (which the cats really hated) and when I had to have it open I had the fan on the bookcase in front of my desk pointed towards the door. It’s still going.

Sunday morning I had to dust off the coffee maker and the stove to make breakfast, and then I discovered the dust had made its way inside the cupboards when I had to dust off my plate and coffee cup.

Going forward, I’ll dust what I have to in order to use it but I’m not going to worry about the cleanup until after the dust has settled. Again.

And if the hubby ever feels the urge to sand walls or ceilings again, he’s going to find himself wearing that electric sander where the sun don’t shine.

Fair warning.