Looking Odd, Odder, Oddest

I am a little odd. I’ve known this for a long time and I’m good with it. Recently I’ve gotten odder. So here’s my story with some back story first.

Medically I’ve always been a little out of the ordinary. The first indication was when I was born. I was very small and remained so until HS which resulted in a multitude of dietary interventions (can you say Tiger’s Milk?). Seemed I was also so sensitive to sun that I’d burn badly just being in my crib inside with a little sun coming in the window – in January. I’ve had cysts, orthognathic surgery, and a molar pregnancy. I ended up as patient #6 in a medical journal for xanthogranulomatous oophoritis because it is kind of sort of really rare. My surgeon was so excited that he practically begged me to allow him to publish.

Which brings me to the most recent oddity. I thought I had ringworm. First, I work with animals and sometimes animals have ringworm. I’ve had ringworm before (granted it has been a very long time ago), but mostly because Sparky is a fungal magnet and keeps getting fungus at the gym (yet another reason not to join). I immediately started treatment with the prescription antifungal cream that Sparky hadn’t used up. I treated from September to January. I started to worry when the areas began to increase in size. So I finally went to the doctor. He looked at it and scratched his head. “It doesn’t appear like ringworm to me.” he intoned. Then after poking and squeezing it and then making some odd noises associated with indecision, he sent me to the expert.

I was able to get in to see the dermatologist in February. He was nearly gleeful as he examined my arm lesions. I suspect he gets really bored with acne, seborrhea and psoriasis. He was absolutely giddy as he measured and took photos of my lesions. He kneaded the skin and got very excited as he explained that he wanted to take a biopsy to confirm his suspicions, just a little outpatient surgery. The results indicated a rare condition which has no cure. The treatments don’t often work, no one really knows what triggers it. It sounds like Morticia Addams’ sister – Morphea (aka localized scleroderma). It is a rare, 3 in 100,000 disease in the autoimmune family. On the bright side it isn’t contagious and will probably, (maybe) resolve itself in 6 months with treatment or a couple of years without. On the downside it will likely leave a nasty ugly scar. I couldn’t just have something curable. Treatment has begun with some pretty high powered steroid cream. My dermatologist is very excited with the whole thing. I’m less enthusiastic.

So I’m starting early to come up with some sort of heroic or exciting story to explain my scars (sorry no photos). I’m toying with “they are scars from when I ran into the neighbor’s burning house to rescue their cat.” Or perhaps, “Oh that? I got that when I was kidnapped and the maniac who abducted me burned me because he thought that would make my alien force field go down and reveal my real identity. I don’t want to talk about it.” Do any of you have a better story I can use?

Looking Mothered

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Sparky and I are currently among the few in our age group who haven’t lost our mothers. That makes Mother’s Day hard for many of our friends. While many were being inundated with cards and flowers, I was not. I specifically requested no flowers or candy. Its not a big deal if I get a card or if I don’t. What is a big deal is the feeling of being appreciated. To that end it was a day of appreciation with my sons in the morning. I was able to go geocaching with my BFF, saintvi and Sparky too in the afternoon. *edit* Sparky planned to grill out but served us a yummy meal from the local Chinese take-out instead. We wanted to end the day with ice cream with the whole clan but he was not feeling up to it after a full day. We will celebrate with my MIL for Mother’s Day but also her birthday when we take her out later this week!

In celebration of my mother I wrote this little acrostic sonnet – yeah, I am a little bit of an overachiever… I blame it on my mother! hehe!

Many times in darkness I cried for you
Overcome by sickness, terror and fright
That your one loving gentle touch would do
Heal my hurt and my heart and set things right
Every risk or barrier I broke through
Reflected on the strength you gifted me
Learned to stand up tall and straight as I grew
Opened my mind to all that I could be
Versed in manners, science, cooking, and art
Every trick of frugality you taught
Then good judgement you planted in my heart
Respect, assist, treat others as you ought
Until the end of time I will confess
Each moment with you Mother I’ve been blessed

My mother is going to have a fairly serious procedure performed. One that she had almost 10 years ago. It is a necessity to repair again. At the age of 89 there are risks that she didn’t face before. Although I am confident in the skills of the surgeon and the hospital team, and I know my mother is pretty darned tough, I’d still appreciate any prayers and positive thoughts sent her way.

Looking to Roll Around

I’ve had a problem with my computer chair for as long as I can remember. The first chair was an old wheeled office chair. It was what could be characterized as a “secretary’s” chair – no arms and a padded seat with an adjustable back. We had picked it up at a garage sale and though it was in good shape it was not very comfortable. I traded that one in for an antique solid oak office chair. It too lacked arms but was a beautiful wooden chair on small wheels. The problem with that was the seat had zero padding. I bought a chair cushion. Then I bought another chair cushion. Then I noticed that the ancient carpet was wearing from the wheels. When we decided to replace the carpet, we determined that a chair upgrade was in order.

The old chair went to the basement office. Sparky’s dad offered to let us have a chair from his “collection”. It is a high backed executive chair with all sorts of deluxe features. It is adjustable in height and tilt. It has arms and a 5 wheeled base. I used it for several years. Last year I got a cushion for Christmas that is the best thing ever. However the chair was starting to do odd things to the carpet! I did some research and asked for a balance ball to sit on this Christmas. After following the instructions and inflating the ball, I pushed the old chair to the corner and began using the ball.

The first problem is the height of the ball. All is well until I sit on it. Then is squashes and I find myself with my chin nearly on the table. I attempted to correct this by adding a little more air. There is not enough air to fix this problem. The second is that the ball is cold to sit on. My attempt to alleviate this issue involved putting my Cuddle Duds fleece wrap on the top of the ball. I folded it and then sat. It helps some. The real fix involved warming the ball up by sitting on it and having the space heater going nearby. But the biggest problem was that this thing makes my butt sore! I considered more padding, adding my special Purple butt cushion, changing my posture, switching off with a different ball (I had one that I salvaged but it didn’t have the plug to keep the air in and the one I got had a spare plug). No matter what I’ve tried it is still uncomfortable after a couple hours.

So we went shopping for one of those floor mats that allow the chair to glide over the carpet and prevents the wheels from making deep dents.  So far so good. At least the carpet has a reprieve!

Looking at Love of Friends

Inexhaustible they bubble
Thousands upon thousands
Words rising from the heart
Affection a green leaf
Full of love to the root
Snowflakes flutter in the sky
Winter hearts lost
But now found
Remain together in harmony
Warm hearts melt the cold
Condense as fog rises
Happiness a new song

We fail so often to express how much we love people in our lives. Sure I tell my mother that I love her. I sign-off with my sister telling her that I love her too. And I tell Sparky that I love him… But other than that, there is a real paucity of affection expressed to others. Americans seem very squeamish to tell friends that we love them. I suppose we have been inculcated to think that declaring that you love someone is automatically associated with romantic love. On the other hand we are quite free to exclaim that we LOVE chocolate, those shoes, the latest fashion, the selected paint color, a new car – you get the idea. We are more willing to love things than to love people. I ran into a Post Doc at the university. She was one of a cohort of Chinese exchange students that I trained (4 years ago?). After completing the hands on training, she was so happy and thankful that she gushed, “I love you! You are the best teacher!” It isn’t every day that you are told that you are loved. When I retired, she was one of the people who made a point of attending my going away party where she gave me a card that again expressed her gratitude for my assistance with her research – and she told me once more that she loved me! There is a vibration, a harmonious song that is created by goodwill and camaraderie, that many do not hear. I wonder if we put that love out into the world and sing it just a little louder, if we can teach others the tune…
This was written for Calmkate’s Friday Fun. Please go to her site and check out all the other great contributions!

Looking Blocked

It finally happened. Not writer’s block but block editor. While the rest of the world struggled with the “new” block editor, I was happily posting with the classic editor. I had found the convenient toggle that allowed me to choose block or classic. All was right with my world. I posted and wrote and posted… Then a couple of days ago, everything changed. When I opened my blog, my familiar desktop was gone. In its place was this alien layout and no choice. I just about had a stroke. I fussed and fumed for a couple minutes (okay maybe it was about a day) and then figured I might as well get on with life. With a little research I determined that there was a “Classic Editor” plugin that would allow me to go along as I had been. I found it, downloaded, and installed it. On my computer. Sadly to get it downloaded into WordPress I would have to upgrade to a commercial website at the cost of $300 USD per year!!!

I was not to be deterred. I tried to familiarize myself with the functions and features. Then I decided to write this post. All was going well – I managed a block, then another. The big problem was in inserting a poem. First, I write my poetry in word and copy and paste into the posts. That resulted in 14 new blocks as each line was a new block. Grrrrr! I deleted. Then I tried to do it in code editor instead of visual editor. Well, I have Sparky the computer programmer available to assist. He was no help! His advice? Google it! Yep. He decided that my best bet was to ask the internet for assistance. Fast forward 3 hours. I finally figured out the HTML code that I needed to use (and how to use it). With extreme effort I managed to get a poem inserted into this post as a single block with line breaks like a poem should look! I was mentally exhausted. and then I realized I’d copied the poem from last week! Because it took me so long and took so much work, I jotted some notes, deleted the poem and then rolled into bed.

Here we are but there isn’t a poem. I figured out the Tags and the scheduled post feature. I didn’t figure out how to insert a photo. I was grinding my teeth considering the learning curve for Block Editor photo insertion. Then like a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning I remembered Pensitivity101‘s post about retrieving the classic editor which was a link to this post. Eureka! And just like that I’m back to the Classic Editor and my world is beautiful once more!

Looking Loopy

Take my heart most raw
Raw emotions untamed
Untamed but not errant
Errant never but loved

Love for you overflow
Overflow and truth verify
Verify the heart’s love everlasting
Everlasting ring signifies you I take

I have now completed the NPM21 scavenger hunt with this effort. It is the last prompt #14 – Write a Loop poem or an acrostic verse. Well, I’m an over achiever so I wrote an acrostic loop poem! And I think I managed to write love (sort of) poems for NPM21 all month. I have to give kudos to all the participants of National Poetry Month. I had some new participants as well as my stalwart scavenger hunters. As always their takes on the prompts thrilled and impressed me! A special thanks to Michelle Navajas for inspiring me to attempt the love poems. She makes it look so much easier than it really is!! Should we do an end of summer scavenger hunt? I’ll take suggestions for a repeat in, maybe August?? Vote now!

Looking Mythical

There are quite a few people who do not believe that true love exists. They are very vocal in saying that a faithful man is a mythological creature akin to a dragon, griffin, mermaid or a phoenix. Perhaps they have lost the capacity to dream into existence those things that the heart aches for. Yet they pursue the equally unobtainable in the form of a recording contract, making it in professional sports, Olympic dreams, finding the cure for cancer, winning a Nobel Prize, or learning 5 languages. True these dreams can become reality but there is more involved than talent, more effort than a casual afternoon once a month, and more luck than we want to acknowledge. I’m willing to believe that there is such a thing as true love, a true heart, a true man.

All my friends mock me
You believe in fairy tales
Smiling I agree
I have seen him in my dreams
Love awaits a single kiss

Prince Charming exists
The man more real than a myth
They chase unicorns
While they grasp for fame and wealth
I bait my trap for true love

This fulfills the NPM21 prompt #13 – Write a poem about a mythical creature. In addition the form I used was a pair of Tanka. The Tanka is a 5 line Japanese poem with a syllable count as follows: 5/7/5/7/7. As in most Japanese poems there is no rhyme.

Looking at the Letter D

Delicate daughter
Dream daily
Don’t delay
Drip dawn’s details
Drink death’s dew
Dance drunk
Delirious daffodils
Drive demons down
Defeated

A note about this poem. I was eating chocolate and nodded off in front of the computer. Sometimes the subconscious is a strange place and other times it seems like a very normal environment. And that’s all I’m going to say.

NPM scavenger hunt prompt #12 – Use the following words in a poem: delicate, daughter, detail, defeated, daily, and dip. The above poem is a Tautogram. A tautogram requires that ALL the words in the poem start with the same letter. So I have to confess that when I selected these words for the prompt I was thinking that there were 6 words that would lend themselves to a sestina and that I could combine them and the sestina prompt and kill two birds with one stone. But that just didn’t happen.

Looking Unbound

What are all these lies we tell ourselves held
Deep and to our hearts and souls pressed so firm
That fester with doubtful actions compelled
To poison the young mind with fatal germ
All these things from the cradle to the grave
Were sown in fertile minds and tender souls
To mold actions, thoughts and make us behave
As puppets that another hand controls
When unbound the spirit’s freedom decree
To see the world with new unclouded eyes
Cut the strings, find out the truth and be free
No longer slaves we slip the chains of lies
We are worthy in thought and word and deed
Live well this life and to heaven’s gates speed

Lies and truth. There are plenty of both in this world. We generally look to our parents for truth. Any parent knows that you must be very careful about what you tell a toddler for they will take your words as unchallengeable truth, everything you say whether in jest or anger. For example: When my sons were young my husband told them that Little Debbie snack cakes were made with dog spit. He said this because he wanted them to stop asking for them at the grocery. Several years later they were shouting at me to “Stop that man! He’s going to buy those snacks! He doesn’t KNOW!!” As I tried to shush them they increased the volume and insistence as we neared him. Then they blurted out “Yuck he’s going to eat those and they are made with dog SPIT!” This is what happens. Young children believe without question. How many have ever said, “I’ll kill you!” in anger? I can honestly say that I have never said it. Sadly, many children have been yelled at using threats of death. Sadder still, some parents have meant it. A woman I worked with had been told repeatedly by her father that she was ugly, stupid, worthless, a mistake… you get the idea. Because he was the parent, she believed him. She still struggles to pull these lies from her heart and mind.

I was fortunate that I never had that burden. My parents nurtured my self-esteem and were ones to build up instead of tear down. Yet still there were lies that we were all told – Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and the boogeyman were all lies told to coerce and convince us to behave well. How earnestly we tried. And then we discovered the truth. For some it is just a fun part of growing up but for others it planted a seed of doubt about everything they had ever been told.

The poem above is a sonnet. The sonnet is generally 14 lines long written in iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme of ababcdcdefefgg. Traditionally the first half (first 7 lines) present a problem and the second half (last 7 lines) present a solution. This is for NPM21 scavenger hunt #11 – Write a poem that explores a lie you were told.

Looking Betrayed

Love abandoned I am alone
All your fault none of my own
Mistakes you made you should atone
And harsh words I cannot condone
Tears splash but your heart’s a stone
You close your ears to my moan

From my heart escapes a moan
Know that I loved you alone
It feels as if I’ve swallowed a stone
You want to divide what we own
Your heartless actions I won’t condone
For this betrayal you must atone

Penance and reparations to atone
You refuse and bitch and moan
Bad behavior expects I’ll condone
The way you left me all alone
Hateful words are your own
My wounded heart is turned to stone

You were the first to cast a stone
You can never hope to atone
Unfaithfulness to me you must own
My anger rises and I release a moan
You want space to be alone
Your adultery I won’t condone

The judge is strict and won’t condone
He sinks your plans like a stone
The creditors are your problem alone
They require payment for debts atone
I hear your wallet emit a moan
I take half of what you own

Your destruction I smugly own
The ruin of my heart condone
Mutual hurt a stereo moan
I rebuild stacking stone on stone
With divorce decree you’ll atone
And I’ll soldier on peacefully alone

My own happiness a precious stone
Self respect won’t condone or atone
The last moan spent I’ll remain alone

This sestina is to fulfill the NPM21 prompt #10 – write a sestina. I really do not like the sestina. I always have trouble deciding on the six words that I’m going to use. Then there is the whole mathematical matrix to remember the order in which the words are used… Anyway I decided to throw another level of complexity on the fire by making it a monorhyme. And to pour some fuel on this fire, I wrote it as a love betrayed poem. There are lots of divorces going on. There have always been divorces but they were the dirty little secrets that people kept. Now it is out in the open and has become common enough that no one bats an eye. I believe in “until death do us part” kind of marriage. However I have limits. Physical abuse and I’d be gone in a heartbeat. A cheating spouse would be kicked to the curb with sonic speed. I know that there are some women who go into divorce proceedings feeling generous and trusting their soon to be former spouse. There are others who want nothing more than to induce pain and suffering in direct proportion to the pain they have felt. An unfaithful spouse would probably make me crazy vindictive.