Looking at Jeers

College football season has returned. Having had season tickets for many years (over 20) I have noticed a gradual change in the attitudes of the fans. In case you weren’t aware, way back in the day we were instructed on proper fan etiquette. You stood for the National Anthem (and you did NOT applaud). It was expected that you cheered for your team and acknowledged a good play by the opponents with polite applause. You participated in the cheers led by the cheerleaders. You parked your behind in your seat and only in your ticketed spot. You were encouraged to stand when something exciting happened and THEN YOU SAT DOWN!

Sadly times have changed. Now it seems that standing for the entire game is seen as a personal choice that results in forcing everyone behind you to stand if they want to see the game. The cheerleaders are no longer leading cheers but providing entertainment (dance and feats of strength and acrobatics) for those in the stands. Some even use the game as an excuse to drink in excess and behave badly. But the worst is the poor sportsmanship. Booing your opponent is seen as normal. Making comments about players appearance, ethnicity, intelligence, ability (and that extends to the coaches, referees, band, and cheer squad as well) is not only accepted but encouraged!

In my opinion, and possibly I’m not alone, the jeers tossed at the opposing team are not only poor sportsmanship but inviting bad karma. I’ve seen it in action. The fans screaming names at the other team’s quarterback gasp when their quarterback is sidelined with a back spasm. The fan spewing vitriol at the Heisman contender on the other team has the fan behind them vomit down their back. You never know how your behavior will impact others and how the cosmos will respond…

Okay. My rant is over and we can resume the regularly scheduled programming. Just remember when you put negativity out into the world it will often come back and roost in your hair.

Looking Challenged

I was considering a poem for my next post. I flipped through my index card file and found a form I’d never attempted. It is an Awdl Gywydd, a Welsh form written in quatrains (4 line stanzas) with 7 syllables per line. Easy-peasy you say. BUT it also must have a rhyme scheme of a/b/c/b. Well, that’s not so bad. BUT NO, it must also have an internal rhyme on the 3rd or 4th syllable of the 2nd and 4th lines with the end word on the 1st and 3rd lines!! I really don’t like internal rhyme. But I thought I should give it a try – you know supple the brain muscles a little.

Then I read CalmKate’s post and she was challenging her followers to write a verse or two using either Homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings) or Homographs ( which are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings). To muddy the waters we can just lump them together and call them Homonyms (which can be homophones, homographs, or both). Being a glutton for punishment (and having some free time with my injured foot propped up) I figured I might as well give it a try.

The Prodigal Son

From the sky the rain does pour
And my poor heart like a deer
Pines for warmth from summer sun
And my son who I hold dear

The world is fierce and I pray
He’s not prey to wicked souls
Who kill as a hungry bear
Leaves him bare with bloody soles

No word from him so I wait
Hold the weight and count the hours
Just a call his voice to hear
Frozen here the hurt is ours

At the window’s rainy pane
I feel pain; my mind a knot
Into the dark I will stare
A creaky stair! He’s home – not

The rain clean air holds a scent
Of hope sent on a day fair
A pleasant sky this morning
No mourning, he needs air fare!

Place a flower in my hair
Like a hare quick run the course
For him a feast we will buy
Lay it by fine bread not coarse

And so my heart’s missing piece
Rests at peace its very plain
Over mountains, land, and sea
I can see him leave the plane

And because my mother reads this blog I must add this disclaimer – No sons have gone missing, neither are they spendthrifts. No one has squandered their money or resources nor has anyone needed to phone home for money to be able to return to the familial fold. This is COMPLETE fiction!!

Looking Mousey

I finally got a piece back from the kiln! With the kiln tech in and out and the restrictions on class size due to the pandemic, it was taking a lot longer to get things fired. You see they won’t do a firing unless the kiln is full (for monetary reasons as it costs a lot of time and money to complete a cycle in the gas kiln). I had made this concept orb several times. It was so very popular with coworkers, vet techs, graduate students, and researchers that every time I completed one I felt compelled to give it away. I will likely make this one again, as a gift, but this one is mine!
The clay body is white stoneware. The mice are glazed with a red iron oxide stain applied thickly to give a metallic sheen to the surface. I am very happy with this one. Amazingly all the tails and ears are intact and it came through the firing perfectly!

Looking at First Loves

Puppy love was not real just a
Small thing
But a girl’s heart has no tether
Takes wing
Envisions the joy and hope that
Loves bring
As that young man plays tunes on her
Heart’s string
Even when that new love fades
I sing

I was looking at an old elementary year book of my sons’ that has never been claimed to be relocated to their house. It brought back some very funny memories and a few poignant ones. There were 3 young ladies in son#2’s class who had a crush on him in 2nd grade. He considered them friends. They considered him their “boyfriend”. I went to eat lunch with him one day and discovered the little drama going on. He was thrilled to see me and introduced me to his friends. One of the young ladies in question corrected him, “girlfriend” she muttered under her breath. I have very keen hearing. I was amused. After lunch I had a meeting with his teacher and asked her if she was aware of this romantic development. We had a good laugh because the 3 girls hung out together and each one considered him the “boyfriend”. Since the seating only allowed for one on each side there had been some serious vying for position in community circle, reading groups and anytime they lined up. The girls remained friends and when son#2 remained clueless they all three dropped him. And that is the essence of “puppy love” (not to be confused by the 1960 teen version).

So this form is called the Waltmarie. It was created by Candace Kubinec. It is a 10 line poem where the even numbered lines are 2 syllables and the odd numbered lines have no restriction on syllable count. The catch is that the even numbered lines when read sequentially form their own mini-poem!

Looking Well Fed

I have to say that food has been on my mind. I’m grateful that I’m able to eat again. We have eaten out most of last weekend in celebration of birthdays, promotions, and anniversaries. We had seafood, Italian cuisine, and Mexican fare. A post by Brizzy May triggered memories of potlucks at the University. Because of the international flavor of the graduate student population, the luncheons were gastronomic adventures. I have eaten foods that resulted in begging for the recipes which in turn have become family favorites. Chicken biryani and Chicken Sabudana Khichdi are two Indian dishes that I make regularly. I also make a Korean dish Ojingeochae muchim made with squid that I first had at a potluck! It is very addicting. Then there are the curries. I have a recipe from a Thai graduate student for a Yellow Curry with Prawns it is very tasty and a little spicy but so very good! A German student shared a recipe for spinach spaetzle. It is a pain to make but worth the effort. I got a recipe for Pad Thai that is a delight. And Nur from Turkey gave me the recipe for her Gozleme (a kind of flatbread pizza thing). I have a Lebanese rice dish called Hashweh that is delicious and easy to make… And I haven’t even considered the desserts!

I’m pretty sure I’d never have tried most of these dishes if they had just been a recipe in a cookbook. Seems that many of the family favorites have come from church picnics, potlucks, work parties, and the like. Currently I’m going to be taking “Frog-eye Salad” to a library function (which was a recipe from a friend at church). And a few days later I’m taking “Thank-you Salad” to another get together which is a recipe from a fellow geocacher that I had at a 3rd of July party. Do you get recipe favorites out of magazines? Or maybe you peruse cookbooks? Perhaps you watch cooking shows or surf the internet? Or are you like me and get recipes after tasting really good dishes at various functions? Do tell!

Looking Fevered

I am fevered
The steam rises as I desiccate
Dry bones bone dry
Sweat flies ashen flakes
The fire rages body burns
Purified I muse
Reality is a charred mind
Brain fried crispy
Don’t breathe on me
Or I will fly apart
Blowing dust from an old book

I sleep feverish
Hover between life and death
Silkworm cocoon burns

The fire extinguished
Soaking wet embers
Waiting to reignite
There is nothing left
The fuel is sodden
Spider web mind remnants
Life less the baggage
Lighter freer unmoored
I can fly but no longer run
This story has no last chapter
Breezes blow me away

I claw at the sky
My thoughts rise up incense prayers
Death holds no fear

So here is a little amalgam of free verse and zappai to commemorate my horrific bout with an evil intestinal virus. It was at first assumed to be food poisoning. But food poisoning goes away after 24 – 48 hours. This nastiness lingered Friday into Saturday, Saturday slid to Monday. I thought that like the unfortunate Officer Kane in the original Alien movie, that I too was going to have something burst from me. I was in misery. A call to the doctor’s office netted me an appointment on Friday – a full 7 days since the beginning of my ordeal. I managed to stay hydrated, kept my appointment, and I didn’t die. Seems it is a virus but not THAT virus. (I can honestly say I loathe viruses.) Nothing that can be done but treat the symptoms. So I had been on the BRAT diet for 3 days prior to the doctor’s appointment. BRAT is Banana, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Dry toast never tasted so good. Anyway, after another week I was able to add in a few bland foods gradually and after another week I’m back to normal (except that eating plain rice will not happen for a long long time)!

Looking at Ceramic Orbs

The summer ceramics class ended a long time ago and we are just about to start the Fall session. There were supposed to be 2 five week long summer semesters but at the last minute they decided to reinstitute the ceramic summer camps for kids. That meant I was able to get in only one session. The instructor was out for 2 weeks but we were able to come in anyway. It was really a bonus – paid for 5 weeks and got 7 weeks of studio time! Still my production was somewhat limited. I just now got all my pieces back (the kiln tech was on a summer sabbatical). Yes, I am still in my orb phase. But I’m slowly shifting from coccoliths to viruses since the pandemic caused me to do a lot of research on viruses…

This first one is a white stoneware clay body with a 50/50 mix of porcelain and white stoneware used for the decorative embellishments. It is glazed in Super T on the little “florets” and Grape on the dividing ribbons. The background is Megan’s Blue. It represents Navilithus BC, a coccolith from the Indian Ocean found Southwest of Java.

The second one is white stoneware glazed in the new formulation of Oribe. This represents the Human Echovirus.

Looking Grumpy

I woke up grumpy. I had been having unpleasant dreams all night and there was a deep furrow between my eyes from frowning hard. I try not to drag any “dream baggage” into my waking hours but it was really difficult to put it down. I was all kinds of out of sorts. My shoulders and back hurt. I had a nagging headache. But the worst was a smoldering anger that I was harboring toward my husband. Now to be perfectly clear – he hadn’t done anything to deserve my anger or resentment. On the other hand, Dream-Sparky had definitely been at fault. You see in my dream, as I was attempting to get into the front passenger seat (with the door open) he decided to back out of the garage. I was forced to try to extricate myself and run to avoid being smacked by the open door or crushed by the car as it squeezed through the garage door opening! I managed not to die. Instead I was bumped hard by the car and thrown onto the sidewalk. I landed on my shoulder and whacked my head on the cement. When Dream-Sparky realized what he’d done, he slammed on the brakes and then leapt from the car. As he was standing over me asking if I was alright, the car rolled down the drive, across the street and over the opposite curb before coming to rest in the shrubs… I was so very angry with Dream-him. I felt better after a hot shower and a little something to eat (along with some ibuprofen). I did tell him about my dream. And he did remind me that it was Dream-him and not really him-him as an attempt to make sure my anger wasn’t going to be transferred.

My rational self is quite aware that my husband has not committed any vehicular assault. I know that no event has occurred that warrants any anger directed toward sweet and kind Sparky. However the agitation persists. To relieve myself and dispel the aggression, I’m heading to the ceramic studio to pound some clay. I find that to be most therapeutic. And as a by product I’ll perhaps create a ceramic masterpiece!
Below is a form of micropoetry called a monostitch. Some call it poetry and others don’t. I’m not going to take a stand either way.

What happens to life’s mortar in the presence of Ivy?
Tendrils of dreams curl around reality trying to reach consciousness.

Looking at Workers

Today is Labor Day. When I was growing up, Labor Day was a Monday when my father didn’t have to go to work. It meant we spent the day at my grandmother’s house. We sometimes went to the park and watched a parade. But for the most part I had no idea that the day was to celebrate the American worker. As I got older I understood that it was a day off work and that was as a nod to the workers who made commerce happen. It really didn’t mean much to me until I truly joined the work force.

As a professional without a union, I didn’t have health insurance. The mantra was “no work, no pay” when asking for time off. Basically I could take a vacation but it was unpaid. Same for holidays – I’d have the day off but I wasn’t earning any money. The idea of Labor Day kind of stuck in my craw since it meant I was going to have to tighten my belt because the pay check was going to be short. I was “promoted” to a supervisory position so that they didn’t have to pay me over-time. I supervised no one. (This caught up with them 10 years later when I was sent a check from the Labor Board for overtime not paid. It wasn’t a huge windfall but it was a tidy sum.)

Times changed and I went to work in academia. I had health insurance, paid holidays and vacation time, paid sick days and an extra thing called personal time. All of it paid! Of course there was something I’d never experienced – holiday pay! It meant that if I did work an official holiday or a weekend I would be compensated with my regular pay times two. In the parlance of the payroll department I would get paid “double time”! This was a new world. This was done for only one reason – to keep labor unions off campus. Still I benefitted!

I’ve seen the good and the bad of Labor Unions. I’ve seen the good and the bad of corporations. I’ve experienced the positives and negatives from Human Resource departments. But through it all I’ve seen the everyday worker doing their best to provide for their families and in turn they have built this country. And that is why we celebrate today.

I’m celebrating with BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, and some ice cold watermelon. Son#2 is in town to join us. Although son#1 has to work (essential worker that he is), he will be cooking fried chicken that will fill the picnic baskets of the multitude of workers who do have today off. We will of course save some of the eats for him to enjoy later…

Looking Calm

The closing of the community pool takes place this coming Monday (Labor Day) and is the official event marking the end of summer. All the life guards are returning to school. The tables and chairs will be stacked and covered and the pool will be drained. I’m not part of the pool crowd but as we take our after dinner stroll, we get to see all the overly browned women lounging by the pool. They will now have to get back into their winter routines. There will no longer be pizza deliveries to the pool. They will not have to sneak their adult beverages in disguised as a “Big Gulp” in 32 oz. plastic cups. And while they are frantic to enjoy the last weekend before the pool closes, I’m calm. There is a family that has strung up a hammock between 2 trees in their back yard. We can see it from the walking path. At the beginning of the summer the kids monopolized it. They took turns swinging each other to the point they were twisted up like starlight mints in cellophane wrappers. They became bored with it and now the parents are enjoying it. We never saw them sharing the hammock until this last week. They discovered that they can both fit. It made me smile to see them enjoying the evening as the hammock swayed and the lightening bugs flickered in the dusk. I have been relaxing and enjoying the hammock vicarious…

In the Shade of the Sycamore
You Sing
Dream of
Summer nights
Rocked in arms
Safe from dangers
When you sing
All is
All is
Right and just
All is
One with

This is a new to me form called a Waltz Wave. It was developed by Leo Waltz. It is a syllabic form with a title and 19 lines. The subject should be calming. The syllabic pattern is: 1/2/1/2/3/2/1/2/3/4/3/2/1/2/3/2/1/2/1. Words may be split to fit the pattern. There is no rhyme (thank goodness)!