Monday, 14 August 2017

Mod Cons

It's Poetry Monday! I want to thank Diane from On the Alberta/Montana Border for the BEST THEME EVER: modern conveniences, also known as "mod cons" if you are British.

Diane, who started Poetry Monday, and Delores from Mumblings, and I are the three musketeers of this poetry challenge. But you can join us! You can post on your blog; if you do, please leave a link in the comments at any of our three blogs to allow readers to find you.

Or you can post a poem in the comments section of any of our blogs. It doesn't have to be original, and it doesn't have to follow the theme.

I like using the theme as a starting point because it narrows my focus enough to let ideas surface. Otherwise, there are just so many possible topics that I am overwhelmed.

Readers who have consumed much of Ogden Nash's poetry may recognize his style in this poem. I've been re-reading his works and they definitely influenced my writing this week. Sincere and abject apologies to Mr. Nash.

*****

I Heart My Toilet, Even If The Cat DID Fall In It Last Week*


There is one mod con in our house I cannot do without.
I have been places where there was none but those were dreadful times beyond any doubt.
The item in question is a flush toilet and it is the greatest invention ever --
Much better than a toaster or a furnace or a TV or even a coffee maker.
For when we need to "go" there is nothing better than "going"
In comfort, and even at times in style, with a lack of breeze blowing.
On occasion I have had to make do with an old-fashioned outhouse
With an indescribable ambience and the exciting possibility of a stray mouse.
There have also been a time or two when I have visited a Porta-Potty
But only out of sheer necessity, and I dearly hope that does not sound too snotty.
This modern convenience is so extremely important to me that
My nightmares involve looking and looking for one and not ever finding it.

You may wonder why I am so consumed with all things toilet and flushable.
Well, it is my "storage capacity" that is in fact both the culprit and culpable.
Whereas other people drink a glass of water and produce less than a glass of wee,
I drink a glass of water and inevitably produce three.
And if by chance I know there will be no flush toilet for me to access,
Then my one glass of water will somehow magically be transformed into six.
It has always been thus, and thus I think will ever be,
And that is why the flush toilet is the mod con dearest to me.

*****

(*If you missed that post, you can read it HERE. Check my replies to the comments to get some of the missing story.)

*****

The sign I most like to see when I am away from home.


Okay folks, time to spill the beans: what's the fanciest/strangest/most memorable toilet you've ever used? Don't be shy! Procrastinating Donkey would be fascinated to hear about it.



Friday, 11 August 2017

Frazzled On Friday, Part 2 Of Probably Many Parts

A short post today, because I'm frazzled, just like last Friday.

Yesterday started off on a different kind of note, with a cat falling in the toilet.

Then the smoke detectors started beeping and there was no fire.

Then I drove two hours to see my son and my ex-cat, another half an hour to see my daughter and her family (including two little grandsons!), and two hours home.

I'm pooped.

So icanhascheezburger.com is rescuing me AGAIN. Enjoy :)


Some of the best pictures happen by accident. Or course, some OTHER best pictures happen because the photographer has skills and talent ... but this is in the first category.




Maybe this is the photographer in the first photo.








Darn cats.




Yes. Sigh.




Husky has sarcasm down pat.




This little guy is "splooting" - right, Steve? (Steve introduced us to this word on his blog Shadows & Light, not long ago. It's what you call it when a dog lies with its back legs stretched out and belly on the ground. I couldn't wait to use this word!)




Better not let Mike near a credit card, either, or Poof!! goes the magnetic strip. Ask me how I know ...




This is me with my husband. I finish the page well before he does. But guess who remembers stuff better? That's right - HE DOES.




This joke never gets old for me. Or maybe I just keep forgetting it ...




These look suspiciously like the "two left cats" in the box from last week's Frazzled On Friday" post!


I hope everyone has a restful weekend, even if you have to sploot to really enjoy it.

And I REALLY SUPER EXTRA HOPE YOUR CAT (IF YOU HAVE ONE) DOESN'T FALL IN THE TOILET. Because it's very traumatic. And it's no fun for the cat either.





Monday, 7 August 2017

Irony Is Funny Too, Right?

Poetry Monday comes around faster than any other day of the week, did you know that? It's true! Especially when the urge to write poetry is elusive, as it was this week for me. As it seems to be a lot of weeks for me, come to think of it.

This week's theme, as suggested by Diane of On the Alberta/Montana Border, is HUMOUR. Or if you're American, the theme is HUMOR.

A little humour/humor there.

Diane was responsible for starting Poetry Monday to begin with; then Delores of Mumblings joined in, and so did I. You can, too! If you post your poem on your blog, leave us a link to it in the comments. Or you can leave a poem right in the comments at Diane's, Delores' or my blog.

Humour as a theme, eh? Piece of cake, I thought.

As my mother is prone to say, "She had another think coming ..."

If you're not familiar with that phrase, here is the definition from the online Cambridge Dictionary:

     have another think coming

      to need to consider something again, because you are wrong
 
     Example: If you think I'm going to pay for everything, you've got another think coming.

In other words, this was not a piece of cake after all. It was not even a piece of bread. It was not a piece of anything, except maybe a piece of hand-wringing and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I thought about it all week. I Googled "funny poems." I racked my brain.

Finally, with my posting deadline past (horrors!), I pinned my brain to the mat, put it in a chokehold, and forced it to write this:


Oh, The Irony Of Not Being Able To Write A Funny Poem About Humour/Humor


A little shot of humo(u)r
Is a lovely useful thing
It can make a bad day better
It can make a good day sing

Less fattening than chocolate
Less costly than a shrink
A little bit of funny
Can cure most things, I think

A cartoon or a silly rhyme
A limerick or a pun
A meme or gif or clever quote
So many kinds of fun

This poem doesn't have those.
Bothered? No, not me
Because my poem's filled with
Perfect irony

*****

My brain is exhausted from that wrestling match. It's okay, brain. You can go have some warm milk and some light reading now.

How my brain feels today.

An update on our cat situation: I probably should have given more details on Friday about where our cat was going to live. But I was trying to keep it short and simple. Here's the story: Kitty has been delivered to our son, who lives about two hours away. We got one fellow (the cat) when the other fellow (our son) was still living at home, and they are good with and for each other. Son was ready for a cat; cat needed more time and attention than we could give. The transfer went much more smoothly than I ever expected, and according to our son's emailed reports, kitty is settling in okay so far. I'm so relieved. I was so worried that being in a strange environment would stress our furry guy beyond his capacity to adapt, but it appears I might be wrong. (Imagine that!)

Maybe all that worrying had something to do with my brain not cooperating in the humour/humor department.

That, and procrastinating until I hit full-blown panic mode. That, too.

I hope you all have plenty of humour/humor in your lives this week, even if you have to wrestle your brain to the ground to create it!







Friday, 4 August 2017

Frazzled on Friday

The week has been a blur, with heavier than usual work commitments, summer visitors, and the fact that I am writing an owner's manual for one of our cats.

Yes, an owner's manual. One of our furry babies is going to live with someone else. It was not a hard decision to make, back when it was all just a concept, but as the time approaches for him to leave, it is becoming a hard decision to carry out. I think he will get more attention and have more fun at his new home, and I'll be able to visit him regularly, but ... he is ten years old, easily frightened, and I worry about his ability to adjust.

That will be happening this weekend. Wah.

But we will go forward, one foot after the other.

*****

To celebrate Frazzled Friday and keep my mind off cats, here are a few funnies, courtesy of icanhascheezburger.com, in random order to match my disorderly mind:







This actually works, doesn't it?


































I will get through this weekend. I will get through this weekend. I will, I will, I WILL ...

Hope you have a good one, folks.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Kindness



It's Poetry Monday, and this week's suggested theme is "kindness."

Don't forget to check out Diane's and Delores' blogs for their poems; and feel free to leave a poem of any kind on any topic in the comments section at their blogs or at mine, or on your own (in which case, please leave us a link to your blog in the comments).

Kindness is a wonderful theme, dear to my heart, and I thought I would have no problem coming up with an original piece of writing on the topic.

Hoo boy. I was so very, very wrong. I just couldn't seem to do justice to what I feel is the most important quality - bar none - in a person. My words felt inadequate and weak for such an important concept.

I felt like I had the vocabulary of a five-year-old, when I need the vocabulary of an ancient, wizened, wise person. I admit to being wizened, but one out of three wasn't enough.

I felt like anything I could say was inadequate and repetitious and shallow.

So I did what I generally do when I can't write my own poem; I go looking for what other people have written, using Google search.

I struck it lucky with the following poem. The author is the daughter of an American mother and a Palestinian father. You can read more about her HERE. In the video below the poem, the author explains how she came to write it, which helps to put the piece in context. Even before I heard her story, though, the rich imagery she used appealed to me.
  

Kindness
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.



*****
Thanks for reading, my kind friends.

*****
Notes on the video, added August 1, 2017:
The author explains that she wrote the poem after she and her husband - one week into their honeymoon, travelling by bus in South America - were robbed of everything, and one person on that bus was murdered. She was understandably upset, but in the midst of those feelings, the poem came to her "from a female voice" and she wrote it down in pencil in a small notebook, one of the few things she had left. By the time she was finished, she had gathered herself enough to plan how to proceed with no money, passport or belongings. She also says that sometimes a person can write something they believe to be true, and grow into it - that we can write things that we may not understand fully but they can guide us in the future when we go back and read them again. Several times she stresses that she was only a conduit - "a secretary" for the poem - she felt it came to her from somewhere outside of herself.






Friday, 28 July 2017

Q & A With P. Donkey


Let the fireworks begin!


I have a new award to add to my collection. It joins my prize from the Red Cross for a picture I drew in Grade 3, and the lapel pin I received as yearbook editor in Grade 12. I thought I had accomplished more than that so far in life, and I'm giving myself frown lines trying to remember anything else I've received as recognition, but that's all I can come up with.

Until now, that is. I have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger award by baili, a lovely lady from Pakistan who writes at her thoughtful and interesting spot in the blogospere called Baili And I, which you can find HERE. Thank you, baili! I enjoyed reading your answers to the award questions, and I'm happy to take part, albeit in my donkey-ish, stubbornly different way.

 

The Mystery Blogger award was created by Okoto Enigma (found HERE), a young fashion blogger. She wanted a way to introduce lots of people to lots of other people in blogland, because she felt there were so many good blogs out there that were not being discovered. I think it is a worthy goal, but I also think that many bloggers have already found that they discover new blogs through the comments on the blogs they currently read, and then discover more blogs through the comments on those blogs, and so on, branching out and out and out ... until they get to a maximum of blogs they can comfortably read and respond to on a regular basis.

Therefore, I am going to take the liberty of not following all of the rules, although I will post them here for the record:
1. Put the award/image on your blog.
2. List the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4. Also mention the creator of the award and provide a link.
5. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
6. Nominate 10-20 other bloggers for the award.
7. Let them know with a comment on their blog.
8. Ask your nominees 5 questions, with one being weird or funny.
9. Share a link to your best post.

Whew! That's a lot of things to do.

But I've already done 1 through 4.

Onward to number 5 - three things about myself.
 
It was a challenge to come up with three things I'm willing to share publicly that I haven't already mentioned at one time or another. For someone who writes under a fake name because I want to stay relatively anonymous, I'm finding myself putting a lot of personal things on my blog. However, one has come to mind that I might not post about in the ordinary course of things.

I have a "thing" for clothing. That sounds the same as "I like fashion" but that's not exactly it. I just like fabric and colours and pretty things. I can clearly remember as a young child looking through the mail-order catalogue and being captivated by the clothing, especially those mix-and-match spreads where you could buy three bottoms and three tops and two jackets and have, I don't know, I'm not great in math, something like 900 different outfits?? And I recall my diary entries as a slightly older child; I had no social life to speak of, so my diary entries were all the same, a description of what I wore, including the colour of my socks. I always wore coordinating clothing, although I can assure you I was no fashion plate. Ah, yes, good times, and really, truly cringe-worthy.

There's more. Not only do I like to look at clothing, I like to look at thrift store clothing in particular. I like to sort through things in bins, never knowing what the next item will be, what it will look like, if it will magically be my size and shape. It's soothing to me to do this. When my dad was in the hospital during his final illness, I spent every afternoon during his rest hour at the thrift store sorting ... sorting ... sorting. I also bought a lot of things with the thought that I would probably soon have time to alter them. The alterations still haven't happened, two years later. Many of those things have been donated to charity. In hindsight, I think of it as my therapy for my impending grief. It wasn't free, but in total it cost only about the same as an hour or two of actual therapy.

In real life (as opposed to my fantasy life where I am slim, beautiful and well-dressed), I usually wear the same few things over and over, because (a) I don't live a lifestyle that requires a big variety of clothing (b) I am a dumpy little thing with wrong proportions and it's hard to find clothing to fit (c) I value comfort highly, and many clothes aren't comfortable, at least for me (see HERE for the reason).

Eek. They say confession is good for the soul, but I'm not sure if I feel all that good right now.

However.

Carrying on.

Bravely, I might add.

Because I'm about to break more of the rules of the award. I am not going to nominate ANY bloggers. But if anyone reading this would like to carry on with the intent of this award, please leave a link to your blog in the comments, or you can just tell us about yourself directly in the comments. Please do consider telling us something quirky so we (me) can feel less alone.

The last thing I'm going to do is answer one of baili's five questions she posed to the bloggers she nominated. I chose the one that made me think hard; I also liked it because there is a bit of the control freak in me that loves this fantasy.

Baili's question was : If you were president of a whole, united world for one week, what changes would you like to make?

My mother and I play this game quite often, to be honest. We'll get talking about the health care system, or the educational system (she was a teacher from the age of 18 until retirement), or the political parties, or some other topic, and discuss it and dissect it for an hour or so, and conclude by saying, "if we could just run the world for ONE DAY!" and laugh together. So I feel uniquely and totally qualified to put in writing what I'd actually do if I ran the world. (Would someone please invent a sarcasm emoticon? I need it right there at the end of that sentence.)

Anyway, here's the Donkey plan.

I'd put most - if not all - of the current leaders of the world in time out. I know, I know - that would take a gigantic naughty step to squeeze them all on, but it would be so worth it. And no desserts for them for the next year, plus extra chores to help put right what they've messed up so far.

Then I'd take all the good and compassionate and smart ordinary people working as scientists, health care workers, teachers of all kinds, religious leaders who have shown good judgement, open minds and critical thinking, people in all different jobs, or none, as long as they had good minds and kind spirits, and all the older folks who have learned life's lessons the hard way, and all the youth who have energy to spare, and all the dreamers and artists and writers who sustain us with beauty and imagination, and I'd put them all in a big room (I know, I know, it would be a gigantic room) and ask them to work together to solve the problems of world overpopulation, hunger, poverty, strife, environmental degradation, and general evil in the world.

Personally, I can make a strong case for the first one of those issues - overpopulation - being the underpinning for most or all of the ones following it, but that's a post for another day.

I really think that without the dual stresses of a rapidly increasing world population plus the jockeying for power that consumes so many people in this world we could solve every problem we've created so far, and a few problems we haven't thought of yet. I do. I have faith in the goodness and intelligence of regular people. And I have faith in removing the bad ones from the discussion. NO INPUT AND NO DESSERTS FOR A YEAR, GUYS.

Have a good weekend, folks.

And, by the way, YOU are the kind of people I'd want in that gigantic room. Together, we could do it


But who's going to listen to a donkey? And why, oh why, is this donkey clean-shaven on the bottom half of his muzzle??

P. S. I'm not going to share a link to my best post because I don't know what constitutes "best" ... is it the most reads? the one I like best? the one with the most comments? So confusing!! Also, this post is already too long :)

Photos courtesy of Pixabay.



Monday, 24 July 2017

Summer Vacation Blues

It's Monday, so it's time to get our fingers into some poetry again! Poetry Monday was started by Diane, then Delores jumped in, and I did too. There are a few other people contributing poems here, some regularly, some occasionally, some original, some not -- and you can, too. Leave yours in the comments or on your blog (and leave your address in the comments so we can find you).

The theme this week, as suggested by Diane, is VACATION.

What can I write about vacations? I haven't had what most people would call a vacation in years. Don't feel sorry for me, though. I work only part-time, there are quieter times at work when I can take a week or more to myself, and we no longer have children at home. So my life isn't hard by any means.

Still, sometimes all I want to do is have someone else look after the cats and be on call in case any of my elderly (or young) relatives need me, order takeout food for a whole week, and read all day except when I take a leisurely walk along our local trail, camera in hand. That is my idea of vacation. Not for me the trips to warmer places, the cruise ships, the cottage on a beach, or the city shopping. I'd be happy just to be free of responsibility for a whole week. Or two weeks, since this is my fantasy vacation ...

Even though I don't have a regular full-time job and therefore a regular vacation time, my husband does, and I understand how he -- and most working folks -- feel about their precious weeks off. They wait all year, and then vacation flies past, and before they know it, they're facing going back to work, with another entire year looming ahead of them. And for those, like my husband, who have had to change jobs from time to time, leaving them with no vacation at all in the annual cycle -- it's even harder.

That's what prompted this poem. (The title is courtesy of my dad, who would often wind up a discussion of something less than satisfactory with these words: "Oh well, it's better than a kick in the seat of the pants."

Actually, he usually substituted a short, descriptive word for "seat of the pants" that happens to be a synonym for "donkey" ...)

Better Than A Kick In The Seat Of The Pants 

Vacation ...

Is never long enough
Restful enough
Cheap enough
Sunny enough
Memorable enough --
But ...
It will have to do.

Because
No-Vacation
Is too long
Too tiring
Too insanity-inducing
Too depressing
And too frustrating
To bear.

Let us be thankful
For whatever vacation we get
Whenever we get it.

*****

Not exactly a poem filled with joy, I'm realizing. But ya gotta write what moves ya.


However, the word "vacation" also brings to mind this upbeat song from my childhood. Enjoy!



(Ms. Francis doesn't look very happy in that photo, does she? I wonder if she ever had a vacation. I hope so.)

*****

Let me ask you this: What would be your ideal vacation, if you could go right now, and if money, time, health, etc. were not a problem? I'd love to hear your answers to that, as well as any poetry you have up your sleeve for this week's Poetry Monday theme.

Some of the books I bought at the used-book fair last fall ... long since read and enjoyed. Most have gone on to new homes with other book lovers. Now I'm waiting (impatiently) for this year's book fair, which is still three months away ...



And stay tuned for Friday's post, which will be all about the Mystery Blogger Award for which baili nominated me. Thank you, baili! (baili's blog is HERE) There will be questions, there will be answers, there will be speeches made and glitter tossed in the air and cameras flashing! Well, maybe not those last things :)

May you have a restful, peaceful, vacation kind of week, even if you're not actually on vacation, my friends. Or take ten minutes for yourself, if that's all you can spare. Close your eyes and be in your happy place. Mmmmm....



Friday, 21 July 2017

Bits Of Fluff

You could be forgiven for thinking I'm about to lament the cat hair in our house again -- but, no, the bits of fluff are the random things floating around my head.



THE FRIDGE
I have learned that water pooling inside the fridge is better than water pooling under the fridge, and is likely to be caused by a clogged drain. The first trick is to find the drain. Ours is located JUST out of the line of sight of any human being unless that human is down on his or her knees, praying to find the drain, and happens to look up. The next trick is to figure out what is clogging the drain: ice or bits of gunk. We still haven't figured this out yet, although I'm guessing it's ice because I keep the fridge very cold. Now that we've vacuumed five pounds of cat hair (oops! I said cat hair!) off the coils at the back, hopefully all the other problems will solve themselves. (Wishful thinking is the solution most relied upon by procrastinators and un-handypeople. Sometimes it even works. I guess we'll see.)

MUSICAL EARWORMS
Technically, "musical earworms" is redundant -- the term is just "earworms" -- but I didn't want to make you think I was going to talk about earwigs or something equally shuddery. I have had an earworm for over a week now. EVERY SINGLE TIME I find myself humming (which is a lot; humming is my expression of happiness, boredom, anxiety and just about every other emotion) I am humming the SAME TUNE. It's a great tune, by talented singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, with a surprisingly intricate melody, the kind that sticks in my head until I learn it, no matter what the lyrics are, but I need to pass it on to someone else and get myself a fresh tune to hum. Here it is and don't say I didn't warn you:


And if you want the official lyric version instead, here it is:



PLEASE SOMEBODY TAKE THIS EARWORM OFF MY HANDS!

A week is a looooooooooooooong time. Sob.

EARWIGS
I know, I know -- I made you think I wasn't going to talk about those critters, didn't I? I lied. I used to despise earwigs. I've been pinched by them: I've had them crawl out of bed when I was crawling in; I've had them holding a parade in the basement; I've poured them out of a box along with my cereal that year they were really bad. I used to stomp on them, squish them, swat them -- whatever it took to demolish their skeevy little bodies. I'm not a violent person but try telling that to the adrenaline in my veins. But then last year I read that earwigs are good for the garden. They eat garden pests. (What? Aren't THEY THEMSELVES garden pests?) And I decided they can't help what they look like, or how they crawl so creepily, or how they like to hide inside things and jump out when the things are disturbed. I took a deep breath and determined they would get the "cup and card" treatment and be picked up and put outside, just like the spiders and ladybugs and moths are, at our house. That was fine. I remembered my vow this year, and have dutifully been picking up baby earwigs and setting them free outside. The only ones I was finding on the floor were, seriously, babies. Aw! Look at the little baby earwig! Not really cute babies, but still. Then came the day (it was inevitable, really) that I went to the cupboard to get a square of chocolate, picked up the bar and BOO!!! an earwig the size of a small lobster hurried out of the package and waved, once, awkwardly ... because he probably had his mouth full of MY chocolate ... Yeah. I tossed the rest of that bar, which represents a week of chocolate because I ration it out ... Since then I've been on High Earwig Alert. Those grown-up earwigs are frightening.

SUMMER FESTIVALS
I could probably write a half a dozen posts on this topic, but I promise it will be just this one paragraph and then you won't hear about it again. We have a LOT of stuff going on in our area in the summer. It starts on Victoria Day weekend in May and keeps going until the end of August. I'm an introvert who does not like crowds, loud music, running marathons, listening to bagpipe music, or golfing, among other things, so these events do not appeal to me. Nevertheless, I wouldn't mind them taking place except that while they are on it's hard to get around town. Streets are closed off at random times and in random places. And the noise of outdoor events carries down the river to our house, filtering in through our windows (it's summer, the windows need to be open!). I am so happy when September comes and the town becomes quiet again. I feel like I am holding my breath all season and let it out when fall comes. Thank you for indulging my hermit-y rant. You are fine people.

Now that the fluff has been cleaned out, my brain is all nice and tidy :)


And since I would NEVER put a picture of an earwig on my blog, this will have to do instead:



Wishing you a nice and tidy weekend, free of bugs of all kinds. Unless you are a bug-lover, in which case -- can I interest you in a shipment of earwigs??



 

Monday, 17 July 2017

My English Teachers Would Be Wincing Right About Now

It's Poetry Monday ... with a twist! We have the option of using a suggested theme now, and this week's theme is NONSENSE. Don't forget to head over to Diane's and Delores' blogs to see what they've come up with, and feel free to leave a poem of any kind, using the theme or not, in the comments at any of our blogs, or on your own blog (just leave us a link so we can find you).

*****

When my mother used to tell my brother and I to "Stop that nonsense!" she meant that we were being naughty, misbehaving, or otherwise getting on her nerves and we'd better settle down.

But when I looked up the definition of the word "nonsense" I found that there is another meaning directly related to poetry: verse or other writing intended to be amusing by virtue of its absurd or whimsical language ("nonsense poetry").

Because I spent the weekend (1) recovering from last week's work and travel and (2) cleaning out the fridge and attached freezer, a job that has apparently not been completely done since 2008, because, yes, I found a couple of things in there with that date on them, and to be completely and embarrassingly honest the only reason I was now emptying it was because great quantities of water have been pooling in the bottom and we needed to move it out of its snug little hole in the wall in order to clean the coils at the back in the vague hope that it would do some good, and it's also been freezing food in the refrigerator section which is very inconvenient if you've got, say, raw carrots for snacking on since you're trying to lose weight and have you ever tried to eat a frozen raw carrot? well it's not all that delicious and when you have sensitive teeth it's not all that comfortable either.

I see that sentence fragment has gotten away from me in a way that entire paragraphs have not gotten away from me in a long time.

So, to make a long story shorter (because it can't be made "short" now, no matter what), I was tied up this weekend and although I kept thinking about our Poetry Monday theme (thinking consisting of putting the word up in front of my mind's eye and letting random thoughts float past), I didn't get any flashes of inspiration, and when I sat down to try to make inspiration behave with hard work instead, I came up dry as well.

The only reasonable thing to do at that point was to Google "nonsense poetry" and ...

BINGO.

There I found a poem that I can dimly recall my brother reciting to me when we were young. He was four years my senior, so perhaps I should say *I* was young, while he was old enough to teach me a few things, both good and bad, that I probably wouldn't have stumbled into on my own. But that's a story (or a bunch of them) for another time.

Anyway, I now bring you this nonsense poem, not from my fertile mind or the sweat of my brow, but from the mists of history, of verses passed down from generation to generation, with many variants (which you can read HERE if you wish). I chose the following version, because it encompasses the best of the variants, in my opinion, and also because the authors of the website where it came from (HERE) explained their reasoning for editing it as they did.

I expect that many or maybe all of you have heard some version of this while growing up.

One Fine Day

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight, 
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralyzed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don’t believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man - he saw it too!

*****
Footnote 1: After I wrote all of those words up there ^^^ I read the introduction on the BC Folklore website cited above, and discovered that the authors don't consider this poem to be true nonsense poetry ... but you can read more about that at the link.

Footnote 2: I think there are some words in this poem that are not politically correct.

Footnote 3: I feel like I've just written a very badly done term paper for English class because I've spent the weekend doing the wrong things (leisure and home chores), but the time has come to pass it in and this is it, folks ...

Footnote 4: I did manage to remember the elusive post topic mentioned in Friday's post, and have come up with another as well. If I write them on a piece of paper, the paper will probably get lost in the flotsam from the freezer that is sitting thawing on the kitchen counter, so instead, I'll write them here! (1) earworm (music), and (2) summer festivals. There. I'm so proud of myself.

If only I can remember where I wrote the ideas down when I need them.



There's nothing else to add, really.


Have a good week, folks!





 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Facebook Is Not Entirely Useless

As readers know (or can find out from my profile), I post on Mondays and Fridays, which are Tuesdays and Saturdays for some of you, depending on which side of the globe you call home.

This week, after Monday's post was published, my mind turned toward Friday's post. I immediately thought of something to write about. I'll remember that, I thought. How could I forget it?

On Tuesday, I reminded myself of the thing I was going to write about for Friday. AHA! I thought; I had NO trouble remembering that! I'll do the post later in the week when I'm not so busy.

On Wednesday, I didn't think about it at all because I already knew I could remember it at will when I finally got time to write my Friday post.

On Thursday, I drove two hours to the city to have lunch with a friend and then drove two hours back home, with another visit to a relative and some shopping along the way. All the way there and all the way home I tried to remember what I was going to write about.

You know where this is going, do you not?

Yeah.

So, instead of my excellent yet somehow absent post, here are a few funnies that were delivered to my Facebook account. Most of the things that show up on Facebook are, in my opinion, not worth reading (although you no doubt see the irony that I must have read quite a few of them in order to establish that fact), but I had to admit that I enjoyed these, so I stole rescued them for "recycling."

They are actual notes written by apartment dwellers and home owners.

In one of my apartments, my upstairs neighbours never clomped around, but there were a lot of squeaky springs almost every night. Sheesh, people, get a room ... Er, yes, I guess you did. I just wish it wasn't right over MY room.


I bet Bob is SUPER HAPPY about that, especially with the smiley face :)



You'll need to click on this to make it big enough to read (or use "Control +"), but it's worth the effort. I'm especially impressed by Max's drawings.



I hope they plan to get a nicotine patch for the cat's withdrawal symptoms.


Now, some of you already know my thoughts on Facebook (i.e., that it doesn't interest me) so why, then, you ask, do I have a Facebook account?

Here's why: so I can keep in touch with my niece and nephew, whom I see only once every year or five. And to see adorable pictures of my little grand-nieces posted by said niece and nephew.

One final comment on the value of Facebook (hmmm ... could apply to Twitter also):



An isolated incident, I am sure!


If you have cats I hope they are not smokers. If you are painting your fence, have fun with it. If you are wearing cement flip-flops, you're probably pretty tired by now. If you have to share laundry facilities with other, unrelated people, good luck. (I remember those days well.)

Wishing you all a happy weekend!






Monday, 10 July 2017

The Smiling Goat

Welcome back to Poetry Monday!

Read a poem, write a poem, leave a poem, have fun! Check out Diane's and Delores' blogs for more poetic goodness.

Last week seemed awfully busy for a four-day work week (we had Monday off in lieu of Saturday, July 1st, our country's birthday). I'm not sure how a day off makes life more busy instead of less busy, but it seems to do that.

As a result, my poem-making brain cells are dry as a bone. Therefore, I offer this verse I learned from my mother, who learned it from her father. On doing some internet checking, I discovered that it has been around for a long time, in a number of variations, and has been attributed to a number of sources. You can read more at the Wikiquote entry, HERE, for the author Stephen Grellet, who seems to be the most favoured source. 

I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good, therefore, that I can do
Or any kindness I can show to any human being,
Let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
For I shall not pass this way again.

The only change I'd make to this would be to substitute "living thing" in place of "human being," because critters of all kinds, not just people, need to be treated with respect and thoughtfulness.

This might be my shortest post ever.

Now, we can't have that, can we???

We need some padding to give this post some self-respect.

A picture and a question should do it.

Here's the picture:

Kindness can be as easy as showing a little smile.

And here is my question for anyone who'd like to weigh in. Random acts of kindness seem to be popular right now, and a very common one is to buy coffee or a fast food order for the next person in line. I keep wondering why. I doubt it's because people in the lineup are impoverished. And if it's to make a stranger feel good, can we do the same thing with a kind word, a smile, or a bit of conversation? Would the money we spend on coffee or fast food do more good at the food bank, the homeless shelter, or elsewhere? This is such a universally accepted form of random act of kindness that I feel I must be missing something here. Any ideas? Thank you for your time and thoughts.

Have a good week, all :)

The smiling goat picture is from our friends at Pixabay.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Random Pictures ... And Hair

I thought this would be a short post today, using a few pictures that have been hanging around in my files since May.

As my mother always used to tell us, You know what THOUGHT did ...

First I found that half of the pictures I wanted to use didn't show up very well in the small format I need to use here. So I was inserting pictures, and deleting pictures, over and over.

Then I thought something was wrong with Blogger because suddenly none of the pictures, good OR bad, could be inserted into the body of the post.

Then I thought the internet connection was dropping, which is a common thing here because we have a wireless router and the signal is a bit sketchy.

Then I did the only other thing I know how to do, which is click on "Troubleshooting" for the internet connection. And it told me our modem was having problems connecting. I was advised to turn it off, wait for all the lights on it to go out, and then turn it back on.

At this point I should just tell you all upfront that my husband always does this stuff when it's necessary. But he wasn't available to do it just then. He is an early riser, and also an early retirer. I wasn't about to waken him to fix the modem so I could write a post.

So down I went to the basement where the modem is located, and tried to turn it off. There was no on/off switch. So I turned off the first of two power bars that looked like it might be the right one. I know I should have followed the cords to see if it was really the right one, but there were an awful lot of cords and I'm not really that patient. Nothing happened. So then I turned off the furthest power bar. Nothing happened. Then I unplugged everything I could see from the wall outlet. Nothing bloody happened! It was like a zombie modem; it wouldn't die.

So I got the broom and started sweeping the cat hair up because at least that was something I knew how to do. I was getting a little rattled at this point, and physical work helps me calm down.

After I finished sweeping, I plugged everything back in, and turned off the furthest power bar again. Suddenly all the lights went out on the modem and the router, and something started beeping. What??!! How can anything be beeping when the lights are out??

Cripes. I counted eight beeps, and then ... nothing.

So then I turned the power bar back on AND VOILA ALL THE LIGHTS CAME BACK ON AND EVERYTHING WORKED.

Who says I'm bad with technology, eh? *preens*


An evening sky in mid-May, caught on my way home from work. My camera couldn't capture the full glory of the whole sky overhead, but the colours in this little rectangle are true to what I saw.


Mary and Joseph in the garden in early June. The blossoms start out pink and turn blue, and the leaves are dappled with white spots. They multiply dependably and flourish in shade. This plant is a good choice for a lazy gardener like me. Its other name is lungwort. What the ...? Whoever thought that was a good name for such a lovely, reliable plant?


Flowering trees by the river, with the church steeple in the background. I have no idea what this tree is called. Any ideas? In the meantime, being a better namer of things than whoever named the lungwort, I shall call this a Frothy Fluffy tree.

A towering cloud formation in early evening of late June, captured on my way home from work ...


... and the same clouds a few minutes later, from a vantage point near the river, facing the same direction. I didn't realize until I looked back at the pictures how much the formation had changed in such a short time. There were no other clouds in the sky at all. My husband said it reminded him of a mushroom cloud after a nuclear explosion.

Speaking of mushrooms ... time to update you on my latest haircut. Fun, right? Here's me when I saw the back of my head in the mirror at the end of yesterday's appointment:



My poor hairdresser. She had worked from a picture I brought with me. I kept telling her the picture was just for the silhouette (i.e., flat, not mushroom-shaped!!) but ... it ended up quite short in the back. Not as short as I had it once about ten years ago (that one was next thing to a buzz cut) but too short for my liking. And the front was long; so long I felt like this:

Sad doggie has long ears. Sad Donkey had long hair-ears. Not ear hairs; HAIR-EARS.


Anyway, she took me back for a second try today (at the end of her long day, bless her), and at least the front of it matches the back now. Oh yes that's right people, more hair is on the floor at the salon and less is on my head.

It will be easier to take care of, though. So there's that.

I'm not sure what the next move is in this chess game, but I have five weeks to think about it. I really appreciate her ability to give me a precision cut, something that's difficult to do with my fine, heavy hair. So I want to keep trying to work this out. Heavens to Betsy; it's almost like marriage. Stay tuned! There will likely be more instalments in this harrowing saga. Harrowing. Get it? Hair-owing? ... Never mind.





Wishing you all a week-end without hairy situations :) And hopefully with a minimum of long-winded people ...



Monday, 3 July 2017

They Should Be Bald By Now

Here it is, Poetry Monday once again! Every Monday, you can find new poems--delicious, freshly grown, organic, and pesticide-free--here, and at Diane's and Delores' blogs. Leave a poem in the comments if the spirit moves you, or tell us where to find your blog if you've posted one there. Have fun!

Here in Donkeyland, it's been a very short weekend. I know there are supposedly twenty-four hours in every day, sixty minutes in every hour, blah blah blah, but I can tell you for a fact that some days are shorter then others and some are longer ... when you are measuring not in real time but in feel-time.

We've all experienced feel-time, right? Feel-time is what makes a dental appointment last forever, and it's what makes a vacation fly by uncommonly fast. Feel-time stretches out to the horizon when we are sad or lonely, and snaps back like an elastic band to less than nothing when we want a magic moment to last longer.

The effects of feel-time also kick in when we desperately need to get more done than we have time in which to do it.

That was the case this weekend when we had family scheduled to visit for supper on Saturday. The previous three weeks were busy at work for both my husband and I, and many household chores were put off during that time. So when Saturday came, we had to cram a whole lot of cleaning into a few measly hours. In feel-time, those few hours seemed awfully short.

There are only two people in our household now, but there are three cats, and despite daily brushing they are somehow still able to stroll through a room and shed hair with every step. We gave up years ago trying to keep them off the soft, cushy furniture, so there is a constant battle with cat hair on the upholstery. And I have even found cat hair stuck to the walls at times. It's a good thing they are cute and lovable, because no one would put up with their hairy mess otherwise.

And that's the inspiration for today's poem.



I'd Really Rather Sit And Eat A Chocolate Eclair

Cat hair
Everywhere.
Didn't I just
Sweep there?
It's not fair!
They don't care!
Makes me swear
And despair.
They stare
Past my glare,
Quite aware
That they share.

Still, they dare.

Cats have flair.
And so much freakin' HAIR. 

*****

Have a chocolate-elair kind of week, people :)



This is why we can't have nice things.

Well, except for the cats. THEY are nice things.

Disclaimer #1: this cat does not live at our house.

Disclaimer #2: we do not have a polka-dot couch.

But thank you, Pixabay, for this awesome picture.







Friday, 30 June 2017

My Father's Stroke

Some readers who have been with me from the time I started my blog may remember my posts about my father. He had a crippling stroke at the age of seventy-six, and lived for another eight years, confined to a wheelchair with his left side paralyzed. He passed away in late June of 2015, so he has been on my mind more than usual as that date approached and passed.

I wrote one post about his upbeat attitude; that one is HERE.

I wrote another about the last few months of his life; that one is HERE.

He went through many things that I have yet to write about, probably because it makes me very sad to revisit those memories. It's probably not all that much fun to read about it, either.

But I've been thinking that maybe his story can help others--either a person who has had a stroke or someone who knows a person who has had a stroke. I want to thank Terry of Treey's blog for providing the motivation I needed to do this. If you want to learn what it's like to have a stroke directly from someone who's had one, go on over and have a read.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a stroke happens when blood stops flowing to any part of the brain, damaging brain cells. The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that was damaged and the amount of damage done. Damage to the right side of the brain affects the left side of the body, and vice versa.

 My father's stroke was a severe one and his life changed completely in a matter of hours. He left home to get help, and never returned. He walked into the hospital under his own power and was unable to walk or move the left side of his body shortly after. He was an active, independent person right up to the day of his stroke, spending his days gardening and doing yard work, fixing up second-hand cars, and taking long walks. After the stroke, he couldn't walk at all--not for pleasure, not for the activities of daily life, not if his very life had depended on it. He was dependent on caregivers for most of what he needed, from bathing to toileting to dressing to getting in and out of bed and his wheelchair. He even needed help to change position in bed or in his chair, which led to an increase in pain from pre-existing back issues.

He was very despondent in the first few weeks after his stroke. He kept going mentally only because the doctors told him he might regain the function in his left side. He couldn't imagine not being able to garden or walk. There were tears from both of us as he begged for reassurance that if he worked hard enough he would be able to do those things again. He was sent to the first available bed at rehab, but sadly he did not regain any ability to use his arm or leg.

Because Dad's stroke occurred in the right side of his brain, his speech was not affected. (Conversely, a left brain stroke can destroy or impair the speech function.) We were grateful that he had not lost his ability to talk. He would have had no other way to communicate well with us, as he was not familiar with typing or computers. The day that Dad had his stroke, there was another man admitted to the same hospital who had a left brain stroke. This man's hospital stay, rehab, and eventual placement in a nursing home paralleled my father's, so we had many opportunities to see the frustration and isolation caused by his inability to speak. He refused to use the picture board provided to him (to point at things like meals, toilet, bed, and so on) so he was left with only hand gestures to try to get his needs met. He was a very impatient and easily-angered person, and while I suspected from observation that part of that was his original personality coming to the fore, it could only have been made worse by not being able to communicate his needs, wants, and feelings.

There is more to tell, but I've gone on long enough for today. Some of the things that happened to Dad were even humourous, although all of them are tinged to some extent with the pain of his losses.

Thank you for reading. I'll leave you with a list I hope you never have to use.

Signs of stroke (also taken from the Heart and Stroke Foundation's website, linked above):

Face - is it drooping?
Arms - can you raise both?
Speech - is it slurred or jumbled?
Time - to call 911 right away

Notice the FAST acronym formed above: getting help fast is critical to save a person's life and reduce disability.


*****

Until Monday, please have a healthy and safe weekend, my friends.


I would love to have sat with my father on that bench in that forest. In real life, Dad wouldn't have sat--he'd be too busy scraping spruce gum off a tree trunk to chew or checking out which tree he'd be taking home for Christmas or telling me which mushrooms were good eating or digging up wildflowers to transplant into his garden ...

Thanks, Pixabay, for bringing back those memories with this picture.





Monday, 26 June 2017

Hanging Out The Closed Sign

It's Poetry Monday again (sheesh, where did THAT week go?) and I think it's also time for another bird-y update.

I hope my poem cover both bases.

Some background to help it make sense:

- I started putting a small bird feeder out in April, following a late snowstorm.
- I bought a second feeder in May, which I filled with the caviar of bird seed--Favourite Finch seed, at a scary price per bag, because I wanted to attract the tiny, cute birdies.
- Within two weeks I was filling that feeder every day, and by noon it was empty. For a few days, I filled it twice a day. Please note that a bag of Favourite Finch seed contains enough seed for only three and a half refills.
- Finally, I sat down and added up the cost of the seed, the fact that several pushy blackbirds/grackles were getting the lion's share of it, the finches were nowhere to be seen, a couple of pigeons had joined the eight (yes, eight) doves in the back yard to eat up the seed that spilled out when the blackbirds/grackles ate in their very messy way, plus the fact that we are not made of money, nor do we have a money tree in our back yard ...and came up with an indisputable fact: I had to stop. Either stop feeding them altogether, stop putting increasing amounts of seed out, or stop using the expensive seed.
- I bought a large bag of mixed seed which was much cheaper, and started cutting back the amount I put out each day. I am now down to one-third cup of mixed seed daily, sprinkled on the back yard because the only birds that still hang around are the doves and pigeons. And the occasional sparrow.
- Within another week, the free buffet will have gradually been pared back to zero. The remaining birds probably will, too. 

And now my poem, drawn from the crucible of hard, hard experience in the bird-feeding department ...


It's A Slippery Slope, All Right, And I Have Hit Bottom

It starts with: Aw, birdies!! So cute and so sweet!
So hungry, you poor things! Here's something to eat!

And then it's: My, my, little birds, so voracious!
I'll buy a new feeder that's much more capacious!

Progresses to: Dang it, we need more bird feed ...
Didn't we just buy some? And yet we still need ...

And now it's: Okay, birds, the free ride is over!
The living's been great; you've all been "in clover";

But birdies, my wallet--it's flat as a pancake;
This restaurant is closed, though it makes my poor heart ache.

It's summer, dear birdies; there's food everywhere.
You'll get along fine if the feeder's not there.

I'll miss your sweet faces and quick little feets,
Your beady black eyes and your stabbity beaks.

Have a good summer, and raise up your young,
And come back to visit when autumn has sprung.

*****

Whew! Rhyming is hard work!

Have a good week, folks. Or at least don't hit bottom :)

On behalf of my feathered brethren, I would just like to say that we are not amused. 

NOT. AMUSED.

Do visit Diane and Delores to see what they've posted for Poetry Monday, if you are so inclined, and feel free to leave a poem in the comments or link to your blog!


(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)




Friday, 23 June 2017

Pep Talk For The Donkey

I may have said a time or two that I'm trying to get to a lower and healthier weight. So far I have lost and re-gained the same pounds several times, but have managed not to put on any additional weight in the last two years. Consider that the scale used to go in only one direction--up--for the previous twenty years, and you will understand why I am counting that as a partial win. I'm still learning and still trying, and I hope that recording the things that have worked for me in the past will help me get going again.

You can skip the blah blah blah and go straight to the lolcat at the bottom of the post if you wish!

1.  Exercise doesn't just burn off calories, it also works for me as an appetite-reducer. It's quite astonishing how moving around makes me less hungry, not more so.

2.  Distraction works wonders. If I'm reading a good book, I don't eat. If I'm talking, I don't eat. If I'm sorting things to donate or brushing the cats or typing on the computer or sewing or doing a craft, I don't eat. Etc., etc., etc.

3.  Writing down everything I eat and keeping a running total of the calories has been critical for me. I use the labels on prepackaged food, an inexpensive calorie counter book, and the internet to figure out the calories. I also use the internet to find the calories in chain restaurant meals, the few times we eat out. The numbers make my hair stand on end, but better that than making my backside too big for my slacks. Knowledge is power.

4.  I eat my food as plain as possible most of the time. Because I have excess stomach acidity (controlled by medication if I avoid trigger foods) and sensitive teeth, I have to forego acidic foods (most fruits), fat, fried food, sauces, gravy, and most salad dressings. This seems rigid at times, and can be boring if I'm not careful to eat a variety of vegetables (vegetables are low-calorie stars!) but it works well for weight loss, which makes me happy.

5.  Eating something very sweet or very high in carbohydrates sets up a vicious cycle of craving for me. Recently I caved in and bought two bags of a snack product because it was cheaper per bag than buying one. The little voice in my head told me I could set one aside for later in the summer. The little voice lied. And I somehow went from not planning to buy any, to buying two and eating them in three days, constantly hungry the whole time despite overall higher calorie counts for those days. That was 1750 calories' worth of bad decision and I didn't even actually save any money because I paid for two bags, not one ... my brain is such a sucker sometimes.

7.  The hardest part of going for a walk is just getting out the door.

8.  Taking the long view is very important. I want instant results, and it's hard to do something that I have to keep up ... well, forever. But I keep reminding myself it took me years to put on the weight, and it's going to take awhile to take it off, too. I slip now and then, but I get back up and keep going.



Now I'm off to read a book, to keep my mind busy and my cats happy (they like to join me on the couch).

Have a good weekend, all! And if you have a favourite weight loss or weight control tip, feel free to leave it in the comments :)



Me, in the grocery store the next time the snacks call my name ... okay, other people may look at me funny, but I have to drown out the little voice ... the little LYING voice ...

Photo courtesy of icanhascheezburger.com