Looking at the Monitor

Fix the glitch
Install a switch
Check the chipset
Refresh the internet
Run a defrag
Eliminate time lag
Check for malware
Lurking in software
Strengthen the firewall
Computer overhaul

This is a list poem. Most list poems don’t have any sort of rhyme or reason. Some folks are loath to acknowledge the form as poetry. I decided to make it rhyme and have a theme. This was for my nerdy readers…

I’m sort of in the same boat as the plumber’s wife. Sparky does computers – except for the ones at home. I have to trouble shoot problems and attempt my own fixes. The latest issue has been the interruption of blogging or working on a document or even sending an email. Seems the computer will install an update and reboot without warning. This results in losing whatever I’ve been working on. You can just imagine the gnashing of teeth (mine anyway). So I Googled the fix and changed some settings. That seemed to work. Then there was the problem of access to some internet sites. I was blocked from access to a multitude of websites supposedly because my fragile psyche couldn’t handle exposure to violence, vulgar language, and sexual innuendo. I first noticed it when I wanted to google “stanky leg” and I couldn’t access the Urban Dictionary. Then working from home I was trying to find an article on paraphimosis in a genetically manipulated mouse and every time I attempted to access an article or site I got the warning that the site was blocked because it had inappropriate material. Very irritating! Anyway, after another round of Google searches I resolved that problem. I still can’t get the Skype app to not try to load. It kept popping up and wanting to connect so I uninstalled it. But the computer won’t accept that it is gone so it tries without success to open the program that isn’t there. I’m working on that and should have it fixed soon!

Looking at a Pat on the Back

Several weeks ago the staff were asked to submit suggestions for a new slogan for our department. They had to be 2 to 3 words long and capture the essence of our work. Of course there were only a handful of people who submitted entries. One person must have come up with 12. I entered 2. Once they had been gathered, they were emailed to each of us. We were asked to vote for one. Just one vote per person. I made my choice and promptly forgot about it in the frenzy of the pre-site visit preparations. This morning an email was sent thanking everyone for their submissions and congratulating me for having the winning slogan: Integrity, Quality, Compassion. I was invited to select a “prize” from the gift closet. The facility manager maintains a stash of items ($15-25) to be awarded to in the quarterly attendance drawing. I was taken aback by the stuff she has squirreled away:
The fire box/safe that runs $15.

The car detailing kit for $23.

The board game “Smart Ass” that amazed me that anyone would pay $17!

The board game “Loaded Question” for $15.

A set of food storage containers for $15 give or take.

A GoPro stick for $14 which of course would be nice if it would accommodate something other than a GoPro camera!

She had 2 30 minute “hourglasses” with sand. The box price tag said $10. They looked like they would break if you looked at them wrong!

An Oster 3 cup mini-chopper that retails for $19.

After a few minutes deliberation I chose the Oster 3 cup chopper. I really don’t have much use for it but it might come in handy someday. So that was my pat on the back.

Looking at Wine and Canvas

I went to a Wine and Canvas event last Thursday with saintvi. We had struggled to find a date and time and acceptable painting after juggling schedules and most importantly having our last painting event cancelled! The painting below is the professional example that we were emulating.  It was titled “In the Forest”. Our painting instructor was a young man named Cody. He was friendly and a little eccentric in appearance. I didn’t mind all the tattoos, and I could overlook the giant ear gauges. But the “man-bun” was making me have thoughts about scissors!

We started with a blank canvas and proceeded to put the first “layer” on. This consisted of a horizon line followed by lots of white paint on the top half of the canvas. We mixed very light purple and put in our ghostly trees and the impression of leaves and underbrush.

The next step was to add the next layer consisting of darker trees using eggplant toned paint (purple, black, and a hint of yellow). This is where it got a little hairy. We were assured that nearly all the light purple trees would be covered up so if we made a mistake no one would be able to tell! The darker trees were going to really stand out.

We had to take a break to let things dry a bit before tackling the next step.  Our next challenge was painting the water. It required a base layer of white paint with thin lines of light blue and light purple. Everything was to go on in a horizontal direction. That sounds easier than it is!

We took another break. It was crazy that we had so many breaks – usually there is one, we had three! But the water we had painted needed to dry a little. The next step was to add the shrubbery and some detail to the water. The water detail consisted of very thin black lines. It was wicked hard to do. Some people opted to skip that part since Cody gave everyone the option! Being detail oriented, I gave it my best effort.

Our next effort was to use the black paint. We were instructed to paint using straight black. It was terrifying. First we indicated the borders of the stream using a thin black line. Then we slapped black paint on to fill in the lines. At this point we were about 10 minutes before the end of the event. Cody started to really push us to finish! We had to put in some black trees and add black shrubbery.

As time ran out we started putting leaves on trees. I thought it was probably the easiest thing we did all night! Then we had to paint in the flowers. That part was agonizing. It was hard to see what Cody was doing because he stood directly in front of his canvas. I gave it my best shot relying heavily on the demonstration print to figure out where thing were supposed to go!

I was able to sign my canvas with my little mouse. It was in keeping with the difficulty of the painting – I had to sign it upside down! I’m starting to like it more as time goes on. I thought that saintvi’s (Melinda) stream was much better than mine. She went off script and put pink and green into her water!

Although we didn’t finish until almost 9:45 PM I think our paintings look pretty darn good!

Looking Carefully

Brushing against strangers
Friction and resistance
Creating cricket songs

Iron butterfly lands
Weighing down petals
That bend but don’t break

Fragile glass bones
Risk connection
Gently hold hands

Fleeting life
A short breath
Blink and die

Eyes search
Heart seeks
Hands clasp


There is a form that is a Diminished Hexaverse which is defined as 5 stanzas with the first having 5 lines of 5 syllables and each following stanza having a reduced number of lines and syllables. Now I was willing to accept this as a valid form except hex is a Greek derived prefix indicting six not five! If it were properly named it would be a Diminished Pentaverse. This misnamed form has resulted in me attempting to write a Diminished Sexaverse since the Hexaverse has already been misappropriated. My version is a uniform 3 lines per stanza with only the number of syllables reduced in subsequent stanzas beginning with 6 syllables per line…

The accreditation visit is over. We can all in unison release a sigh of relief. We were examined, put under a microscope, and thoroughly picked apart. Dissected really. We all feel like the Thanksgiving turkey carcass that has had all the meat removed and then boiled for stock. All that remains are the throwaway parts. The celebration is underway – at least for a couple days. Then it is back to the grindstone to keep our noses sharp.

Looking at the Big Screen

My husband, Sparky, took me to the movies last weekend. We don’t go often because it usually costs too much and we enjoy the comfort of our own sofa. But there were several movies that we both wanted to see and opted to try to catch the matinee showing in the cheap theater (it cost a whopping $8.50). We managed to get to the theater with 10 minutes to spare which is a minor miracle in and of itself. We were the only people in this particular theater. We settled in to watch the previews. There weren’t any! We watched some inane commercials, several public service announcements, and an annoying entertainment infomercial with an interview with the actors from Wonder Woman. To say I was second guessing the decision to see the movie on the big screen would be an understatement. I decided to go to the bathroom. I made it back just as the interview was ending.

From the beginning to the little vignettes after the credits, I was entertained!! The first movie was good. It had all the elements necessary for a super hero movie – action, suspense, drama, and lots of amazing special effects. I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the second installment of this franchise, ratcheted it up a couple notches. I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more. I love these characters. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They looked like they really enjoyed making the movie. So not to give anything away, I’ll just say you really should see this on the big screen. And baby Groot is too cute. And my favorite character is Drax. Or maybe Rocket. Nope. Definitely Drax.

Looking Distracted

Allow me the privilege to
Begin again this story
Central to my life and my
Dearest memories filled with
Fragile and fanciful because I’ve
Given my
Heart and hand
Just as I’ve discarded
Knowledge and
Learning when
Making poor decisions
Now I am surrounded by
Odious and odoriferous
Questioning my
Rationale for
Staying in
This environment
Unable to conjure a
Viable alternative
Without admitting my
X chromosomes want a
Y chromosome with more
Zeal than is seemly

This is an abecedarian poem. It consists of 26 lines where the letter of the first word of each line are in alphabetical order beginning with A. There are no requirements for rhyme, meter, or syllable count. I wrote it as a distraction to keep myself from being over stressed.

Tomorrow is the big day. We will have the site visit. We will do fine. There won’t be any deficiencies found in the animal facility. I’ve done 2 walk-throughs, double checked expiration dates, made sure all the training and associated records are up to date, and revised everything that could possible be revised. All is in readiness. I have even planned the clothes I’ll wear – both my “civilian” outfit and my uniform. I’m coordinating with my coworkers as we have decided to wear black and pink uniforms. We all have black pants, black or pink print tops, and solid black or pink or a print scrub jacket. I think we will all look professional.

Looking at Ground Zero

I would like to think about my geocaching trip but the frantic atmosphere at work has pushed even the most pleasant thoughts out of my head. Usually when I talk about ground zero I’m talking about the GPS coordinates of a geocache, meaning that exact spot where the cache should be found. Instead, ground zero is the impact point of a bomb. Somehow, the closer to the site visit I get, the more I’m feeling like I’m at ground zero and a 10 ton atomic bomb is headed straight for me. Wile E. Coyote never had it so bad.

To add to this angst, I have several things not related to work that are pressing in on me. Some are routine like the need to finish the mending and sign up for ceramics this summer session. Others are health related and I’m hoping linked to the work stress…

Some people have suggested that the best course of action is to flee. Run as fast and as far as possible to save yourself. I’ve always thought that the best place to be in the event of atomic apocalypse is at ground zero. It will be instantaneous and painless. There will be no radiation sickness, no economic collapse, no homelessness or famine. So I’m opting to stay put. I’m in fight or flight mode and so far the “fight” is still in me… So far.

Watching the Storm Rage

Rapid patter pounds the roof
Against the window raps
Impatient rain upon the glass
No one home I gasp
Wind whipped water loudly pounds
Thunder shakes the walls
Let me in the storm demands
Not tonight I shout

This week is a continuation of the tornado that is swirling at work. I am doing everything possible to prevent the hazardous conditions wreaking havoc in my psyche. That means I am writing here. I went shopping this last weekend at Goodwill. I cooked some comfort food – Singapore Noodles with Shrimp, Poached Brown Trout, Chicken Sabudana Khichdi – which translates into lots of leftovers so I don’t have to cook much this week. One of my coworkers gave me a gift. He saw how stressed I was and presented me with “The Little Zen Companion“, a book of zen sayings, quotes and stories. I thanked him and took a few minutes to peruse the contents. When I run out of the current “zen” meditative words that I’ve been posting on my office door, I have a whole new set to share with the rest of the stressed out folks. If you look for me I’ll be the crazy one running around with stacks of SOPs and laminated signs and velcro dots…

Looking Down

More vacation musings. We went to Smokey Mountain National Park. The weather was cloudy and there were intermittent showers. Still the views were breathtaking. We hiked. I didn’t take very many pictures. It is always a disappointment for me to look at the photos and not be able to take in the scope of the view. There is no sense of height and depth and the sheer size of the world as I experienced it.

This is one of the few pictures I took. It pales compared to my memory.

We also drove and hiked around and on Mt. Mitchell. It was cold and raining and windy. So cold and wet that I didn’t take any photos. We did find 4 earth caches or virtual caches. All of them were on mountains. All of them were a slog through wind and rain and dense fog. We got wet but we were victorious in getting the cache information.

And one of the caches we found in Greenville was one that looked down on us. We were looking for a mouse statue. I had seen another one and it was the size of a medium sized dog. This one was (according to the cache description) the most difficult of the 10 or so statues to find. We looked all over. Finally, at the suggestion of a resident who knew all about the famous mice statues, we looked up. There she was!

Seeking the Source

I was hiking in the woods
The ground uneven
Roots and ruts along the path
Trip hazards and speed bumps
Slowing my pace
I kept my eyes to the ground
And it began to rain
I watched the water trickle
Lifting my gaze to the distance
I saw the water run swiftly
I followed slowly until I too ran
With wild abandon along the trail

I have been under a great deal of stress. I mentioned that I wanted to “be the water” and find the path. But what I really want to do is find the source of the water. Find the reason for the water. Figure out why the water flows and determine the purpose of the water. Or in other words find my purpose, my path, my origin, my reasons and in answering these questions resolve the tension and enjoy the journey. Isn’t that what we all want? Maybe what I want is to go on vacation again. Maybe in a month or so I’ll be able to relax and reconcile the dream with the reality. Maybe in a month I will be able to exhale and release 26 years of anxiety.