Monday, 27 August 2018

Poetry Monday: Free Time

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's theme is "how we spend our free time."

Diane, Delores and I spend part of our free time writing poetry for Poetry Monday! You can, too, or you can just read along. If you wish, you may post your poem in the comments on any of our blogs, or if you post on your own blog, please leave a comment so we can come along and cheer you on. Use the theme, or don't: it's your choice! Have fun, and here's just one hint, try not to get yourself into a position where you need to rhyme the words "orange" or "silver" . . .

How do I spend my free time? Mostly, I go for the tried and true, the thing I already know I enjoy: reading.

And what do I read?

Read on :)


****

Put It In Front Of My Eyes, I'll Read It

I read . . .

Fiction and non-fiction, books by the score;
Magazines, cash machines, notes on a door;
Greeting cards, paperbacks, life hacks, and then --
After I'm finished I read them again.

Road signs and felines* and cookbooks galore;
Internet websites and fine blogs and more;
Newspapers, wallpaper, paint cans, and then --
After I'm finished I read them again.

Wristwatches,* pill bottles, food labels, jars;
Cereal boxes and handbooks for cars;
Thesauruses, poetry, clothes tags, and then --
After I'm finished I read them again.

Faces* and posture* and clouds in the sky*;
Advertising slogans and trucks driving by;
Instructions for All Of The Things, and then --
After I'm finished I read them again.

Quick tips on cleaning and how to tie knots;
Which plants need little rain, which ones need lots;
Bank statements, love notes, and comics, and then -- 
After I'm finished I read them again.

Have I missed any reading material, do you know?
My fingers type fast but my mind works so slow . . .
And what do YOU read, when your reading you do?
And when you are finished, do YOU re-read stuff too?  



* Those things can be read too, right?


Sometimes all that reading plumb wears me out.

(Photo: Pixabay)


Wishing you a week where you get to do so much of what you like that it plumb wears you out :)



Update:  Next week's theme is "Fall" . . . (eeeep - is it nearly here already?)





Saturday, 25 August 2018

Mea Culpa


Thank you for all your comments on my Friday post, Swimming Lesson. Some of them broke my heart even more than it already was over this incident.

You may have noticed that I have now removed that post, without publishing the comments. While I could not get the incident out of my head, and had written it in part to try to do that, I still felt a bit uncomfortable posting it. And after it was out in the world, I felt very uncomfortable.

Why? That's what I kept asking my conscience, because it was that little whippersnapper that was making me uncomfortable.

The incident on its own was truthfully recorded.

But there is more to the story, as there is to most stories. The following is the context that I should have included, but did not, in an effort to make my point succinctly, and also, to be frank, because I was tired and had no other post prepared.

Although I don't see this neighbour interacting with his children often, due to work schedules and so on, I have seen enough that this incident surprised me. I have never before had any qualms about his, or his wife's, parenting. They seem like good, caring, patient parents.

I think -- and hope -- this was an isolated incident. It bothered me nonetheless. It made me think of all the other children who live this on a more frequent basis in every area of their upbringing.

It also reminded me of the times I was less than the parent I wanted to be. Times that I was tired, overwhelmed with responsibility, and pretty much at the end of my rope.

While I did not agree with my neighbour's actions, I understood them.

Not many of us are perfect. Many of us have spoken in anger, in disappointment, in hurt, in frustration, or due to lack of knowledge about how to handle a situation. Many of us have acted wrongly for the same reasons.

I believe that posting this story without full context, whatever my reasons were, was not the right thing to do. I have hesitated over posts many times, and usually made what I feel was the right choice and withheld them, choosing instead to write something light-hearted and inoffensive. My standard is generally the question, Would I say this directly to the person involved? If not, I should not write about it in a manner that is essentially behind his or her back, no matter what the lesson is.

I believe it's what we do most of the time that makes us who we are. And I believe that when we fail, we have to keep trying to do better.


* * * * *

Because I feel that the pressure to post was one of the factors in posting when I should not have, I've decided to change my posting schedule. I will still post a poem on Poetry Monday, but other posts will be when the spirit moves me. I've been feeling pretty washed out this summer, and am finding it hard to come up with something of interest (hey, what do you mean "you noticed"? ha ha) and am hoping this switch may bring better decisions and better posts.


Skeptical Cat is skeptical about Donkey's plan. But then, Skeptical Cat is skeptical about everything.


(Photo: Pixabay)







Monday, 20 August 2018

Poetry Monday: Salute To Fellow Poets

It's Poetry Monday, and this week is a different sort of theme - I'm writing about two of my bloggy, poetry-writing partners in crime -- Diane and Delores -- plus how Poetry Monday began. If you'd like to contribute a poem, fire away! Choose any topic you like, and if you want to follow the theme, you could choose any blogger or bloggers you wish. Leave your offering in the comments on any of our blogs, or if you post on your own blog, please leave a note in the comments to let us know where to find you.


*****

Poetry Monday And My Mentors

Throughout my life
There's always been
A place for rhyme and verse
And some of what
I scribbled out
Was good (and some was worse)

But then came blogs
And bloggy friends
Including those who pome *
And suddenly
My poetry
And I felt we were Home

Then came the day
Diane said, Hey!
On Mondays I will rhyme!
And all who wish
Can join me here
We'll have an awesome time!

Delores spoke up
She wanted in
And I - well, I made three
And that is how
Our Mondays came
To be for Poetry

Diane can rhyme
Most anything
Words jump to her command
Delores too
Finds words with ease
The right ones all at hand
 
Both ladies write
So naturally
Their poems rich and true
And I was glad
To join their ranks
And learn a trick or two

Some weeks, I feel
I struggle so
But work's good for the brain!
At least that's what
I tell myself
While circling round the drain

I'd like to thank
Diane, Delores
And all who've shared a verse
If you're inclined
Please join us here
You really could do worse

Remember, there's
No right or wrong
Each poem is a gem
A story plucked
From someone's mind
We welcome all of them!


* sorry, I needed something to set up the rhyme for "home"!

* * * * *

I hear you, puppy.       (photo: icanhas.cheezburger.com)


Wishing you an excellent week, friends :)


Update:  Next week's theme is . . . how you spend "free time" . . . and remember, the theme is just a suggestion; feel free to post any poem  you like, whether it's related to the theme or not! Sometimes I forget to add that in my preamble but it's always the case.





Friday, 17 August 2018

Friday Cheat Post

(Photo: icanhas.cheezburger.com)

How is it Friday already? When I work longer hours (at my official place of employment, not at home), the week seems to vanish into thin air.

On the plus side, the weather is slowly getting less sauna-like, which is a welcome relief.

I'll be back on Monday; until then please have yourself a good weekend :)




Monday, 13 August 2018

Poetry Monday: Favourite Summer Memory

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's theme is "your favourite summer memory."

Join Diane, Delores and me while we sift through our memory storage units and weigh all the thoughts we find there about summers past. Excuse us, please, if we leave in our wake some sand, pressed flowers, and the smell of bug spray.

Hey, you can write a poem, too! Put it in the comment box on any of our blogs, or post it on your own blog if you'd rather. Just leave us a little map (your blog address) in the comments so we can find your blog and cheer you on.

I have a lot of good summer memories from when I was growing up, but the older I got the more the sun and heat seemed to bother me. This poem started out as a record of all my summer memories, but gradually went from happy to horrible as I got older and more bothered, which seems to be in direct opposition to the theme of "favourite" summer memory!

So I pared it back a bit.

When I attended university in the late 1970's, most degrees required three years of study. The school year ran from September to April, and the months of May to August were spent working to help finance the rest of the year. This poem describes snapshots from those two summers, when I was eighteen and nineteen years old, respectively.

* * * * *

Wind and Rain

I recall
With the sort of fondness that more than forty years' distance can bring
The two summers that marked the breaks
In my years of so-called higher learning.

One spent slinging Colonel Sanders' chicken
Making buckets and buckets of Dixie coleslaw
And working frantic overtime one August supper hour
After a hurricane blew through and took out the power
In every part of town and in every restaurant except ours.

And one spent in a corporate job
Boarding with an elderly woman who became a treasured friend.
I felt so grown-up, trotting off to work in the cool of a small-town morning
Yet so lonely, away from my family and school friends.
One day I dashed home for lunch, barefoot along the sidewalk, new sandals in my hand
So they would not be ruined in the sudden summer rain.

How can these scenes -- so mundane, so unimportant, so unremarkable --
Be so very, very clear
So very, very far in my then-future?


(Photo: Pixabay)

*****

What's YOUR favourite summer memory? Or any summer memory? I'm not picky!

Hope you have a good week ahead. Our temperatures have moderated a wee little bit, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy my week.

Oh dear, I hope I didn't just put a hex on myself . . . !


Update: Next weeks theme will be about my co-conspirators in rhyme crime -- Diane and Delores!! Should be fun, and I hope I can do justice to the topic :)




Friday, 10 August 2018

Stuck At Home, And Visitors

Friday already! That week went by lickety-split. I spent it skulking inside the house because of the heat and humidity. Nova Scotia, like much of Canada, has consistently broken records throughout July for average temperatures, maximum temperatures, and for consecutive days of high temperatures. Those are the kinds of records we all wish had stood for much longer.

This heat-and-humidity wave is apparently the result of a high-pressure system coming from Bermuda, and is expected to last until the end of August.

The excessive humidity here is having one good side-effect -- it's keeping our forests somewhat safer by limiting the number and size of wildfires. So many places around the world are facing terrible fires with the accompanying loss of life, dislocation of residents, and overwhelming stress on firefighters and resources. I feel for those people and I'm thankful we've been spared that so far.

However, being hunkered down inside in the summer is much like being stuck inside in winter. I go to work and to the grocery store and that's about it. I'm wary of driving any distance in case my car should decide to act up, because I worry about being stuck on the highway waiting for assistance in this heat. That may seem like an overabundance of caution to some folks, but considering I came close to fainting at work a couple of weeks ago after walking to the office from the parking lot, I figure I'd rather be safe than sorry. So . . . no trips to see the grandkids. Or any other relatives. No trips to the beach. No gardening.

Since I couldn't get out to take any pictures, I was happy to find these on the camera from a couple of weeks ago. They were taken in mid-afternoon. The deer are quite comfortable strolling around the neighbourhood night or day -- to the benefit of those who like to watch them and take pictures.




Two in the front yard . . .


. . . joined by No. 3 . . .


Aha! What are those things on the front of your head?



Why, hello! And hello to your antlers, too! Aren't you going to be handsome in a year or two or maybe four!


I was about twelve feet from this guy, but I was on the verandah, hiding behind a post (unsuccessfully, judging from the look on his face), with a railing between us, so I wasn't worried about being close. There have been cases of people getting run over by deer. I had no intention of joining them.



Moseying along to the neighbours' yards


Other than that, I've been reading and keeping up with the news and trying not to gain weight from sitting around. I'll be glad when the weather cools off even a little and I can get out to walk again.

How do you cope with weather that keeps you from your usual scheduled activity? Are you an indoor-exercise-equipment kind of person? Are you a the-heck-with-the-weather-I'm-running/walking-anyway kind of person? Or are you a cut-back-on-the-food kind of person? Tell me, please -- I'm all ears.

Just like those deer.

Warm wishes from hot Nova Scotia for a good weekend!




Monday, 6 August 2018

Poetry Monday: Motivation

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's theme is "motivation -- what moves you?"

Join Diane, Delores and me as we marshall our brain cells to explore this topic. If you wish, you may leave your own creation in the comments on any of our blogs, or if you post on your own blog, please leave a note in the comments so we can come along and cheer.

What moves us to get something done? I think most people respond well to both carrots and sticks. The trick is to figure out what those are for each individual and in each situation.

My carrots include reading time, food, a trip to a thrift store, a leisurely walk, and a clear conscience.

My sticks are appointments, deadlines, promises made, and a guilty conscience.

Sometimes my conscience and I get into a tussle over the finer points of what will satisfy it.

Like today. I am opting for a short poem yet again. I have convinced my conscience that this will satisfy my commitment to Poetry Monday while preserving what sanity remains to me in the midst of this humid weather. How humid is it? Let's just say my hair's been looking like this for the past month:


My tongue may or may not be hanging out that far also.






So .......... onward.


 
* * * * *

What Makes Donkey Work

Which way is better, carrots or sticks?
One drives you onward with pokes, prods and pricks.
One pulls you forward with promised delights.
Both get the job done when used just right.


* * * * *


What motivates YOU? I hope you have a carrot in your near future. Not an actual carrot, unless of course one of your carrots (i.e., incentives) is an actual carrot (i.e., the orange vegetable). No, I'm talking about a motivational carrot -- a treat!

Have a good week :)


Update:  Next week's theme is "your favourite summer memory" . . .




 

Friday, 3 August 2018

Mind Fog

I've been reading too much and writing too little. Even with my very limited posting schedule -- Mondays and Fridays -- I'm having trouble putting words together because my head is lost in what I've been reading.

Aside from the novels I've been inhaling like spring air, here's the scoop on my other reading . . . and PLEASE don't think I expect anyone to go to every, or even any, link -- the list is only to provide a glimpse of the things that have been on my mind, and if you see anything that catches your interest, the link is there to pursue it.

. . . A long, long, long piece (as in nearly 80 pages if you copy/paste it into a Word document to read at your leisure, which I did, but when you eliminate the pictures, it's only 67 pages) from The New York Times Magazine (Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change) on global warming and how we failed to do anything about it thirty years ago when we had a chance to make it better. Note: Be aware that if you do not have a subscription, you will have five free views of the New York Times sites per month before you are blocked from further access. I've only made it through the first 25% at full power reading and the rest at a skim, and it's pretty depressing, so be aware of that also.)

. . . A very readable and understandable piece on blockchains, also from The New York Times (so it will count in your five free articles per month), here: Confused About Blockchains? Here's What You Need To Know

. . . A rather shocking piece on crows that perhaps you shouldn't read if you like crows and want to keep thinking well of them: Ne'crow'philia: Why crows sometimes fornicate with the dead which pretty much tells you what it's going to address

. . . A piece on Amelia Earhart's final SOS call from Mother Nature Network which is described as "haunting" and I don't think anyone would disagree

. . . Many, many politically tinted pieces, probably too many, and I'm going to not link to any except this one from Brookings Institution, an American research group which is considered to be non-partisan, evidenced by the fact that it is referenced equally by both conservative and liberal politicians (Source: Wikipedia). Don't let the title put you off when you get there. I found it rather comforting.

. . . On the lighter side, this piece from a few weeks ago that still makes me roll my eyes: These 'Extreme Cut Out' Jeans Cost $168, But At Least They Have Pockets (from Huffington Post) and this one as well: So, Now There Are Upside-Down Jeans No One Asked For (from MSN Lifestyle).

. . . Followed by yet another eye-roller, this time about how a good girl has gone bad: Marie Kondo wants you to buy more boxes (from TreeHugger)

. . . And finally, this from ThoughtCo: Calculating How Many People Share Your Birthday which, it turns out, does not have a straight-line mathematical answer


And since we can't have only words, words, and more words on a Donkey post, let me leave you with this:


I have never tested this statement myself, but I completely trust this cat. Wouldn't you? (source: icanhas.cheezburger.com)


 Have a good weekend, my people, and (sneaking this in here for the stalwarts who read the whole entire post, you are the very definition of dogged, aren't you?) the name of the book whose ending so horrified me that I didn't want to mention it last week is Handle With Care, by Jodi Picoult. I felt better about both the book and the author after getting a thoughtful comment from Diane Henders, suggesting that the author didn't set out to disappoint me (or any other reader); believe it or not, that hadn't occurred to me (time for another eye roll, right?). But as an excellent author herself, Diane was able to bring that point of view to the table and temper my reaction to Picoult's book. Thanks, Diane :) (You can find Diane's blog here and home page, including a link to her book information, here. Have a read; she'll lighten and brighten your day.)