Looking Frustrated

I thought that I was all done with the paper work related to the moneys my mother left me. I was so very wrong. This last investment has driven me nearly to the point of an ulcer. I wanted to write a poem with the stock phrase all of the “estate experts” would toss out when ever they didn’t know an answer to a question (like what is the account balance?): “I’m not a lawyer, I’m not an accountant, I’m not familiar with that form!” Of course they have the account balance because they generate the statements and sold the stocks. Of course they should be familiar with a form that they insisted we send them but can’t fill out until we have the information they won’t give us! As for not being accountants or lawyers, we asked them to transfer us to an accountant or lawyer but they claimed not to be able to do that!! This is the kind of thing that sorely tries my patience and makes me have to go to confession.
Below is a Stornello. This is an Italian poetic form consisting of tercets written in monorhyme with 11 syllables per line. I usually don’t title my poems but this one is called “Frustration” because that is what it has become.

Four days with hold muzak makes my spirits sag
As a beneficiary I play phone tag
Talking to five different reps, wave a white flag

I’m so sick and tired of this red tape fuss
The negativity soon outweighs the plus
Dealing with this mess has driven me to cuss

J.P. Morgan wants a waiver form for tax
An original embossed form not a FAX
They are fortunate I don’t own an axe!

P.S. Just before we left for vacation a letter arrived. From J.P. Morgan. It was a check. We quickly deposited it. Sadly my youngest sister is still dealing with this agent of evil. She swears that it is Satan’s invention and the company is intent on corrupting souls… My sister does not have the same aversion to strong language that I do. She has given the “estate agents” an earful daily. I’m hoping she can get her check by the time we return from Alaska!

Looking at Tears

I don’t like to cry in public. I don’t much like to cry in front of even Sparky. Usually I do any crying alone. There are a few things that will make me weep. I was home alone a couple weeks ago, while Sparky picked up a shift at the library, and I decided to turn on the TV and see what I’d been missing for the last few months. We get an “oldies” station that plays movies from the 1930s thru 1970s with an emphasis on the earlier Black & White movies. I caught the tail end of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie “The Gay Divorcee” and before I knew it I was watching “The Little Princess” and sobbing and wiping away tears! Shirley Temple movies usually wring the tears from me. Of course it isn’t often that I see one any more. I started thinking about why this particular movie affects me so strongly. I’ve decided that the major reason is the sense of abandonment coupled with the helplessness of the character, Sara, played by Shirley Temple. There is a constant back and forth of having and losing – having a father and then him leaving, the party and then the cancellation of the party in the midst of the celebration, the luxury replaced by poverty, friends who become enemies, warmth withdrawn and left in the cold (and this is both physical and emotional), never wanting for food to being given barely enough to prevent outright starvation, being believed and then called a liar, from served to servant, and finally child to criminal! I suppose I always identified with the underdog and felt empathy for those who were tossed in fate’s storms. So I sat there and wasted 2 hours of my day and bawled like I’d just lost my best friend.
Are there any movies or books that tug on your heart and make you weep or am I alone in this??

Looking at Summer Vacation

Black ball bouncing
But Buick brakes
Before ball bursts

Call kids inside
Catch errant ball
Coolly chide child

Go get Granny
Go gentle girl
Gather green beans

Hold the hamper
Don’t hurry her
Helping her pick

Just jump higher
snap jutting pod
Lighting gas jets

I remember the summers my parents went in with a group of friends from church to plant a communal garden. It was a garden of such proportions that everyone was overwhelmed with the prospect of caring for it. Our whole summer vacation was punctuated by the garden. We’d be called in from play and off to the farm we’d go. As children, we were conscripted to assist in weeding, watering, and eventually harvesting. I didn’t mind watering. I could do it from afar. What I really didn’t want to do was weed, though I did my fair share. The most heinous activity was the harvest. I would volunteer to harvest the green beans because they would only have Japanese beetles on them (unlike the tomatoes with the big worms and the rotten ones that exploded in goo in your hand). Now there were 2 different kinds of beans – the pole beans and the bush beans. I was short and those pole beans were magnificently tall. My mother joked that we ended up with Jack’s beans and no doubt a giant was going to be climbing down into the garden any time. Nevertheless I would diligently harvest beans, which included me jumping up and down to snag the beans that were up high. At the time my grandmother wasn’t yet living with us but she’d come to the farm and help as best she could. That meant mostly supervising but she liked to pick beans too. So we were a team. I’d hold the wicker basket and she’d toss in the ones I couldn’t reach. After they were all picked, I’d haul them inside where they would be washed, the ends snapped off and snapped in half in preparation for blanching. Once the big pot of water was boiling I’d scoop handfuls into a wire basket that was lowered into the boiling water before being removed and dumped into the sink with ice water.

The poem above is a Novem. It is a poetic form invented by Robin Skelton. It is an unlimited number of 3 line stanza with 3 words per line with a strict syllable count. Line 1= 1/1/2, Line 2= 1/2/1, and Line 3= 2/1/1. If that weren’t enough each stanza must repeat a consonant sound 4 times.

Looking Before Crossing

It finally looks like it will really happen this year. That specifically is GeoWoodstock XVIII in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada! As you read this we have flown to Vancouver, B.C., passports and vaccination status handy. We have rented a car and arrived in Abbotsford, a hop and a skip from Vancouver. We had planned this trip in 2020 but the pandemic had other plans. Then it was scheduled for 2021 and was likewise scrubbed. There was much trepidation as we were constantly monitoring the ever changing requirements for entry into Canada. The rules for boosters were tightened and then relaxed only to bounce back to more stringent requirements. Doing the best we could we got our boosters on July 28th. We have updated our ArriveCan app on the phones (duly loaded with all the information). We managed to get into Canada without too much problem. GeoWoodstock is lots of fun. Saintvi traveled with MaxB by van cross country because she really, really, doesn’t like to fly. We met up with them in Abbotsford. Tonight is the big meet and greet with a bunch of activities. But most importantly it will be the pathtag swap meet! I have several new pathtags that were made just for Geowoodstock!

So you will all have to forgive me if I’m not making the rounds – I’m going to be very busy for the next couple of weeks as we geocache the heck out of Canada before taking a cruise to Alaska before returning home and collapsing! As usual I’ll attempt to read and comment as time and internet connections permit. I’ll do my best to catch up once I’m back home again in Indiana!

Looking at Kisses

Kisses fly
Strike
Your cheek turns red

The above is a Pi-ku, a poetry form derived from the Haiku in which the number of syllables per line is determined by the first 3 digits of pi. Thus the syllable count is 3/1/4. Like a Haiku, there is no rhyming.

I was at a restaurant with my friend the fashionista. While we waited for our meal I was able to do some people watching. It was very amusing. There was a group of young girls probably in middle school at a table. Maybe it was a birthday gathering? They were being chaperoned by a couple women sitting in a nearby booth. Then a group of boys arrived, perhaps a little older, who were seated in close proximity to the girls. Some flirting ensued. Nothing overt and nothing inappropriate. The girls finished and as they gathered their things to leave, one of the boys caught the eye of one of the girls and he blew her a kiss. She blushed such a red that I had to chuckle. I doubt she will ever see him again but she will likely never forget that kiss – even though his lips never touched her cheek!

Looking for the Aww Factor

We have had Mochi for about 6 weeks. She has integrated into our family seamlessly! She is such a loving and mellow dog that everyone is in love with her. We introduced her to the next door neighbors. After only 5 minutes (when she met all three of their kids), they were offering to take care of her for the 2 weeks we were going to be gone! Her biggest problem is a skittishness around clicking noises – this includes the click as the furnace fan starts, when the toaster pops up, the starting of the window AC unit, the pop of the bathroom door lock…I was thinking hard about it. I think her very first owners were hunters and tried to take her out with their other dogs only to discover she is “gun shy”. Perhaps she was traumatized. They might have repeatedly fired their guns hoping to “get her used to the sound”. Maybe they beat her every time she flinched with the sound. All I know for sure is that clicker training will never work for her! But in all other respects she is a dog owner’s dream! She walks on a leash like a champ. She doesn’t mind a bath and doesn’t put up any fight even with the nail trimming. She is so very house trained. She has never had an accident and lets us know when she needs to go out. She even takes treats ever so daintily!

This is her Dobby the House Elf impression when she is asking for a taste of whatever you are eating…

Mochi asking why you stopped rubbing her tummy.

Mochi asking for yet another tummy rub…

Mochi after a hard day having had more than her 3 daily walks. We are working on increasing her stamina since she has been living the life of a couch potato for far too long! You will note that even in her sleep she has one ear up and one ear down…

This is sleepy Mochi having been awakened for dinner. She always looks rather bleary eyed until she realizes her tummy alarm is going off! She is a 6:00 AM and PM eater. On the dot thank you! I hope this fulfills everyone’s cute dogs of WP fix. I’m sure we will take more pictures and of course now that Mochi is part of the family our Christmas photos will feature her prominently!

Looking Watery

Over on David’s Skeptic’s Kaddish the We’ave Written Weekly Poet of the week Sylvia Cognac has issued a challenge to use the prompt “water” in a poem. In her poem “Cold Feet” she writes of wedding jitters. Which turned my mind to honeymoons. Sparky and I were always frugal so our big honeymoon consisted of going to the zoo (we had a really good time). But he has always wanted to do something BIG. With so many of our nieces and nephews marrying with “destination” weddings that incorporated cruises, he decided a cruise was just the thing. So here I am getting ready to embark on a cruise and this prompt generated a little retrospection… A quatern for your enjoyment:
See Sea Water

Sea water castaway day dream
Globe-trotting adventure begun
Surrounded olive waters teem
Geese fly past obscuring the sun

Follow ribbon river onward
Sea water castaway day dream
Tidal currents push me forward
Kelp evergreen salt ocean stream

My blood grows hot and turns to steam
Lips go dry as parchment paper
Sea water castaway day dream
Sweat becomes a rising vapor

Weary from impending sun stroke
Mind conjures visions of ice cream
I head for shore and shade of oak
Sea water castaway day dream

Looking for Bones

I purchased a salmon filet and upon unwrapping it discovered it didn’t really meet my standards of a filet. I spent about 15 minutes pulling bones from it. I know that fish have bones. I also thought that a filet would be boneless. If I didn’t mind the bones I’d buy the whole fish! Anyway, I removed the bones. A few days later I unwrapped some boneless pork chops only to find small shards of sharp bone. I rinsed them off and made sure the bone fragments had been removed. We went out to eat at one of our usual spots. I ordered the Polynesian Chicken (chicken breast cooked with pineapple slices) on a bed of rice. As I was cutting into the chicken I encountered a hard thing. Upon closer examination, part of the wish bone had been left in.

There have been instances when I was a kid, where I’ve had encounters with fish bones that have made me wary. I almost broke a tooth on a bone that I hadn’t been expecting in ground beef when I was eating in the dorm cafeteria in college. I’m beginning to think that I’m jinxed. Is this coincidence or is there a sinister plot to choke me on a bone? Has the safety been compromised in the USDA meat inspection? Are people just getting lazier or has Quality Control tanked??

No bones about it, it is starting to worry me! Have you had a run in with some bones – ones that snuck up on you, lurked in your food, or maybe it was an unexpected bonus – do tell.

Looking Out for Tornadoes

I wrote this post because this was my new recipe for July but it was bumped to August (just barely) so that I could post a poem for the W3 prompt on last Friday. I know you are all understanding folks so forgive me for doing this late. If you are from the Midwest, you know that tornado season is upon us! So far we have only heard the sirens twice and only for severe thunderstorms. However in light of the possibility of a twister, I decided to try out a new recipe.
Tornado Cake
cake ingredients:
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 can fruit cocktail (juice and all)
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. flour
topping:
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. chopped walnuts
directions:
Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ glass baking pan. Mix sugar, eggs, baking soda, cinnamon, and flour together then dump in the whole can of fruit cocktail and stir it around like a tornado. Pour batter into the baking pan. Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake in a pre-heated 325F oven for 40 – 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before serving.

Because this makes a pretty big cake, I split the batter into 2 8″x8″ pans so that I could gift one to Sparky’s parents. The cake isn’t too sweet and the lack of a frosting makes it perfect for Sparky (who tends to scrape off any and all frosting). The texture is very light and fluffy. Unlike a tornado, this cake leaves you wanting more!!

Looking for the Wait to End

Today is Friday and my schedule is jam packed. It is a hurry up and wait kind of day. We are doing a food run to stock the church food pantry (have to go to a warehouse and dig through bins to select canned goods etc.). Then to church to unload the food. That will be followed by a trip to retrieve my art from the Student Faculty Show. Then it is a call to my sister followed by a call to the other sister. At some point we will eat lunch, get our COVID boosters, and walk the dog at least twice. Then for dinner we are off to a restaurant for the High School Classes of 1970 – 1979 Reunions. Since Sparky and almost all of his siblings graduated in that time frame, as well as my cousins (3 which live in town), and our very good friends, there will be lots of familiar faces.

Since I’m participating in David’s We’ave Written Weekly poetry cooperative, I have to wait until my entry posts so I can add it to Mr. Linky. So the timing is important – I’ll have been poised at the keyboard for several minutes to ensure my entry is in time. A.J. Wilson proposed the prompt of a poem of no more than 12 lines and incorporating the word waiting:

My DNA coils and divides in its own time
As a woman, waiting is in my genes
Waiting for what day brings, for a phone to ring
For a man to sing to my heart, to reach my prime
Waiting for the time of birth, quickening of earth
All the while holding my breath in anticipation
Of becoming full and whole and then night falls
And the waiting resumes, eyes searching the gloom
Looking for myself buried in the waiting
With dawn I’m drawn to the horizon, the sun, the fun
Waiting patiently for me to discover the wait is over
As I burst into tears dancing and prancing free