There is a time and a season for everything. It seems a logical and simple concept that everyone should understand. Alas in our modern society this understanding has been lost. We are all about instant coffee, instant oatmeal, instant information (just Google it), and instant gratification. We have forgotten that some things take time. No one has had to wait for a chick to hatch from the egg. Most of the farm kids I knew growing up had at one time or another tried to “hurry” the hatching of a chicken’s egg only to discover that even one day early resulted in death for the chick! They knew personally that everything must happen in season. They had to develop patience. They learned that there is an order to the cosmos.
So here I sit conflicted. Young people try to force nature like forcing a bulb to bloom in February. It is a beautiful flower but the flower dies and the bulb is spent – never to bloom again. There are things that should bring joy if they happened in the right season and at the right time. Instead I see a rushing and a lack of patience and I cringe. How will this out of season event unfold? Will there be happiness or will everything collapse amid tears and sorrows? What I do know is that time will reveal the truth. As all parties involved sort through the ramifications of the choices made, I will be standing to the side and waiting patiently for my right season.
A mortal foe
To needed instant gratification
Revel in leisure anticipation
Of journey’s end
Slow the pace
For the start
You jump the gun
Disqualify your participation
This is a little poem, a tetractys, based on a geometrical figure. The tetractys (Greek: τετρακτύς), or tetrad is a triangular figure consisting of ten points arranged in four rows: one, two, three, and four points in each row, which is the geometrical representation of the fourth triangular number. The poetry form consists of any number of 5 line stanzas having a syllabic count of 1/2/3/4/10. Each subsequent stanza is inverted from the previous one. Thus the second stanza would have lines with syllable counts of 10/4/3/2/1.
Watching and waiting
Inhale and hold it
Exhale and let go
We can never know
When birth or death comes
The sun will rise
Or perhaps not
Death’s slumber comes
In midnight dreams
Night births sun
Sun brings light
Light fills eyes
This is a diminishing Hexaverse. It is a syllabic form consisting of 5 stanzas. The first is 5 lines with 5 syllables per line. Each successive stanza has one less line and one less syllable per line. Not too hard to wrap your head around.
I’ve been waiting for several things to happen. I am waiting for 2 people to leave work and waiting for 2 new hires. I’m waiting for serology to be gathered and submitted. I’m waiting for grants to be funded. I’m waiting to get approval for vacation requests. And as always I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop!
In other exciting news, my husband Sparky was contacted about getting his teaching job back. He really enjoyed teaching at the college level. However the pay is low but more than he makes at Lowe’s. I hope he will keep his job at Lowe’s at least until the bathroom remodeling is completed! (gotta love the employee discount!)! In the meantime I’m just breathing in and out.
Although I do not like to go to the dentist, I make it a point to go every 6 months for a cleaning and check-up. I went. The best hygienist in the world, Teri, cleaned my teeth and took bite wing radiographs. I do not have any cavities. I had some heavier tartar buildup between my teeth. My gingival sulci and a couple of places are deeper than before. We chatted. She asked me if I had changed something, anything, since my last checkup. I mentioned that I got a new toothbrush of a type I’d never had before. It was a gift from a friend (one I’ve known for 35 years) because her dentist had recommended it and she wanted to share the wonders of this toothbrush – the Oral-B Ultra Dense Bristles to remove plaque. The first time I used the Oral-B toothbrush my teeth felt so smooth! It was that amazing smoothness that makes you want to run your tongue all over your teeth. My first reaction was “Oh Baby! My teeth feel so clean!” It was several days later when I had had blueberries that I discovered a problem. I always brush, then floss. When I floss it mostly feels like a waste of time since I don’t see any difference. Well, I flossed and removed a ton of blueberry seeds that were jammed between my teeth that the brushing missed. Soon I realized that no matter how well or how long I brushed, there was always something that only the floss would get. So my hygienist squinted at me. She wears bifocals so at first I thought she was just focusing. Then she pursed her lips. Turning away she muttered and finally said that the dentist would be in to speak to me. After he poked around in my mouth and pulled my tongue in every direction as if trying to loosen it from its attachments, he pronounced my teeth good. BUT he said that my choice in toothbrushes was not the best. He explained that the brush I was using was best used as a “polishing” brush mostly for removal of coffee-type stains on the outer surface of teeth. He suggested that Teri discuss my options for better oral hygiene. Grrr. Teri’s first recommendation was a Sonicare toothbrush. Of course they just happen to keep them in stock and have them available for a mere $160 (after the $35 rebate) not counting tax. The model she showed me had blue tooth connection so you can track the areas of your mouth that need more attention on your phone, 5 modes, 3 power intensity settings, 4 different types of heads, a built-in alarm if you push too hard and an automatic stop if the pressure exceeds the limit. Oh and tongue care and gum massage! It sounds great but I don’t know if spending $200 for the brush and then having to spend $35 (the discounted on line price) for replacement heads annually is justifiable in my budget. Option 2 was a free sample toothbrush, the Colgate Wave. I was given 2 of them. One (pictured below) is the standard soft bristle Wave. This has multi-level bristles to get between teeth (unlike the one I was using) and will supposedly get my teeth cleaner. The other one was the Colgate Wave Gum Comfort. It has many of the same features but has ultra soft bristles. Hmm – $200 or free… Teri did say that I could still use the ultra dense bristle toothbrush AFTER I used the other one if I wanted to polish my teeth. So I’m going to use the new toothbrush and keep the dense bristle one for a once a week polishing. It is the affordable option and I’ll see if my gingival sulci improve at my next appointment. If not, then I’ll jump for the Sonicare. My sister swears by hers….
This post is not meant as an endorsement or criticism of any products pictured. It is merely a description of my personal experiences and opinions.
The ceramics studio started the summer session May 28th and I didn’t sign up. Instead I waited to enroll in the shorter 6 week course that started Wednesday – sort of. I’ll explain that in a bit. It is entirely OK with me that I decided to delay my class because I haven’t shared most of what I produced this last session. The studio management has been conducting “research” to determine the average output for students. I’m pretty sure that my output will be well below the threshold. The people who work on the wheel turn out at least 6 bowls/vases/mugs a night where I’m hard pressed to complete a single orb per class. We’ve been emailed yet another message assuring us that they haven’t come to a decision and are still gathering data. The last message also assured us that there would be lots of forewarning for any changes. We were asked to come to the studio management with any concerns “to avoid miscommunication and rumors that can fuel anxiety and negativity.” Really. These are the same folks that shortened the sessions from 10 weeks to 8 weeks but kept the price the same. These are the same ones who increased the fees and included 25 pounds of clay and a year later took the clay away but didn’t reduce the fees. These are the same folks who reduced the number of glazes and took 5 years to fix the sink faucets. They had 12 wheels but only 5 were working properly and it took them 2 years to fix them. In the interim a generous ceramics student donated 3 brand new wheels but they reserved them for instructor demonstrations (until the student and her lawyer husband made a stink).
The most recent “improvement” was to offer a 3 week extension to the last session for only $100! Currently an 8 week session with the member discount costs $152. I may not be a math whiz but 3 sessions for $100 is too pricey for me! Anyway there are many students with jumbled opinions and emotions. Also I was informed that I had to remove all my stuff from my shelf – for cleaning. My shelf is clean. I have lots of stuff. I don’t want to have to cart it all the way to the parking lot and home and then get assigned a new shelf. The last time I was assigned a shelf they put me on the top shelf. I had to stand on a chair to get to my things. I’m too old for that.
This summer they offered a 6 week course that I signed up for. The first session was Wednesday night. I had received an email a few weeks ago that indicated that there were only 4 students enrolled and that if additional students didn’t join it might be cancelled. Without any further communication I assumed the class was being held. I arrived a few minutes before class to discover the studio locked. Long story short, the instructor had a family emergency and the class may not happen. There was no communication and so far no indication refunds will happen. I was able to have an open studio night with the other 3 women in the class… Not too happy about the whole thing.
This is a slightly jumbled orb. It was supposed to be a monocyte covered in antibodies but it looks more like a glob of tapeworms. I glazed it in Yellow Salt. The yellow salt when applied thinly should have a variegated look in browns. When applied thickly it has a creamy yellow color reminiscent of pus. If you didn’t catch on, I’m not too pleased with how this one turned out.
It is nearly 90 degrees outside and the humidity level is hovering at 80% – it is miserable in the sun. It is 78 degrees inside in the upstairs and the humidity is still high because the bathroom fan doesn’t do much to remove the steam from the morning showers. Spring took her merry time arriving and abruptly packed her bags to make way for summer. Summer wasn’t due until June 21st but some how arrived before the end of May. And I haven’t completed my spring cleaning! Spring is usually, traditionally, the time to do the big top to bottom deep cleaning of the home. I know why. It is because the weather is mild and there is a slight breeze and a freshness to the air (just a hint of floral fragrance) so that you can throw open the windows and the doors and air the place out. The bugs haven’t had time to move from larvae to winged pests.
Warm spring transition
Awakens flowers and bugs
Pollen and flies swirl
I have been working on doing my annual purge of the closets. I took 3 big bags of clothes to the family’s Sunday Ice Cream Social and they were dispersed among the sisters in law. I ended up taking a scant single bag to Goodwill. So I sifted through another closet and several drawers and had a giant bag stuffed full. After a break I sorted through yet another closet. I weeded out more items. I used the mixed criteria of “Does it make me happy when I look/touch/wear it?” and the “Have I worn this in the last 3 years?” As fate would have it, those items that made me happy when looking/holding them often don’t make me happy when I try them on. I dragged the 2 full bags around in the car and managed to move some items from my closet into the closets of others. I still have a couple more drawers to purge. I’ve switched from the big shopping bags to using 15 gallon kitchen trash bags.
Wipe away the old
Some things are not worth keeping
Make way for the new
When everything is said and done I hope to consolidate my closets (I currently have 2.5 closets filled with clothing) into 2 closets containing winter clothes and summer clothes. I know it is ambitious but it is one of those needs to be done tasks. My next task will be the shoe collection. There was a silly Facebook quiz to determine is you were considered a “High Maintenance” woman. I scored at the top solely on the number of scarves and shoes I own… It is really hard to get rid of some of my shoes and boots, even the ugly ones that are falling apart because they are comfortable and I can wear them when I know it won’t rain. Of course it always seems to rain when I wear them which results in me swearing that I’ll get rid of them (but they are still in my closet).
My worn tattered friend
You’ve been there through thick and thin
And your sole shows it
OK, so I couldn’t just do a straight post. This is a Haibun and it is a travelogue of my spring cleaning journey from closet to closet and dresser to highboy and vanity interspersed with haiku. Still the bags are real and so is the struggle.
We just, sort of, celebrated Father’s Day. It was only a “sort of celebration” based on several factors. First and foremost Sparky had to work Saturday (6 AM – 3 PM) and then on Sunday he worked all day (8 AM – 5 PM). This gave us precious little time to do any of his “favorite things” like going to Goodwill half price day, making a trip to E & S in Shipshewana, or even going to dinner at any of his favorite places. Adding to the mix was the problem of sons #1 & 2 having to work 2 PM – 11 PM on the weekend. Well you can see that the scheduling nightmare was one we couldn’t wake from! The second issue was that my father has been gone for nearly 10 years making this a holiday a little sad if I dwell on it. I try not to. However we were able to take Sparky’s Dad (and Mom) out to dinner Saturday night. We gave him his gift (which made his eyes light up). He can’t play golf anymore due to a degenerative spine issue but he still loves golf so a book was a perfect gift (The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever). He chose the restaurant and was waffling between Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and the new place Portillos (specializing in hotdogs – Chicago-style). We ended up at Cheddars. It was crowded but the food was excellent!
Father’s Day holds a lot of baggage for many people, as much or more than Mother’s Day. At my age, it is more common than not to have experienced the loss of parents and men seem to go first. Currently most of my close friends have lost at least one parent. That makes these days designed to mark family ties a little more difficult. Some have to contend with the chasm of death separating them from fathers, others there is a separation of distance or estrangement. And sadly there is occasionally a complete lack of relationship due to divorce, abandonment, or uncertainty of identifying the actual biological father. There is however a bright spot in all this. There are so many good men out there who have stepped up and become father figures to children. They have invested time and built relationships with children – children that were born of other relationships but are children of their hearts. All we hear about in the media is the horrific – children abused or killed at the hands of men in father roles. The truth is there are wonderful men who never get credit for being exemplary fathers. This is their day. So if there is a father that was there for you, who supported your dreams, protected you, gave you confidence, and made you feel valued, then thank them. If they have passed from your life then say a prayer for them and give God thanks for them. If you didn’t have that father in your life then thank whoever stepped into that role.
I have misplaced an item. I visualize it in my minds-eye. I remember where I last saw it. For the life of me I can’t find it! You are probably thinking that this item is small, an earring? Or maybe it is a shoe or perhaps a kitchen gadget like the strawberry topper but you’d be wrong. I have lost a digital bathroom scale! How in blue blazes does someone lose a scale?! I got the scale as part of a weight loss study. I was supposed to weigh and record daily the fluctuations in my numbers. At the same time I had to take body measurements and record them. All that was done while adding a dietary supplement (fiber in pill form) that I had to take for 6 weeks. It was the most miserable 6 weeks of my life. Being very pregnant in the steamy heat of July was more enjoyable than that little pill. The pill that caused me to poop like an elephant and produce enough gas that if harnessed would have heated a modest home for the winter! I digress. That scale was used for about a year after the study ended. Then the batteries died and I never replaced them. The scale was placed under the sink in the hall bathroom. BUT IT ISN’T THERE! I have torn the house apart in my search. I just know (confirmed by a deep ache in my bones) that the scale will surface immediately after I shell out big bucks for a new one!
To further complicate this tale, I don’t want a new scale. We have a perfectly good one that was a wedding gift from Sparky’s oldest sister (that is a whole other story). But it works just fine. It is of German manufacture and is very accurate. The issue is that it is not digital so as you stand on it the little needle wiggles. The needle wiggles and Sparky can’t read the number because he can’t see the tiny lines that are the graduations between the big and bigger numbers. When he bends down to get a better look the needle goes all over and he mutters and grumbles. I don’t seem to have any problem reading the scale….
Can you guess what Sparky is getting for Father’s Day?
Voice in my head
Forms the words in my mouth
Repeating wisdom to my child
Look before crossing streets
Don’t eat raw meat
This is an Eintou, an African-American poem of syllabic form. It is a septet (7 lines) with a syllable count of 2-4-6-8-6-4-2. The name Eintou is West African for pearl. This form of poetry tries to impart pearls of wisdom in heightened language in a cyclic form.
I still hear my mother’s voice echoing at times. She had several mantras. Some were repeated on a daily basis and others were only brought out on special occasions. In particular were the admonitions to wash your hands before eating, brush your teeth before AND after eating (you don’t eat off dirty plates), drink all your milk (there are starving children in China). You get the idea. Among the words spoken were those that were delivered during the moments of childhood crises. “You may be small physically but intellectually you are a giant.” These words have stuck with me. Spoken as I was sobbing because some neighborhood kids told me I was too short play basketball with them. “If everyone jumped off a cliff would you want to jump too? Think!” Despite my desire to be one of the group my mother insisted I use the common sense so many were lacking. Yes, she forbade me to participate in some activities that I desperately desired to be part of. In retrospect it probably kept me out of some serious trouble. “If God had wanted you to have holes in your ears He’d have put them there.” Was her standard response to pleas for pierced ears. When pressed beyond her limit she’d say, “Go get me a nail, the hammer and the bread board and I’ll pierce your ears.” I never took her up on her offer. Eventually I got pierced ears (and so did she many years later), but I was of an age that I was responsible for the after care! When we (my 2 sisters and I) were being difficult her standard response was not to belittle us but to lay that maternal curse on us, “I hope you have children just like you!” Anyway what I wanted to say is that her words somehow managed to sneak through my lips and into the heads of my children. I was very fortunate that my mother’s words were supportive, unlike some people who have hurtful and negative words rattling around their heads. I think that is how it works from generation to generation. Both the good and the bad.
I was just nominated for the Liebster Award for new bloggers! I have to thank The Runaway Writer for the nomination. She is working on her novel – having left her career to focus on her writing full-time. I have enjoyed her blog where she has chronicled her adventures with her 3 canine companions.
The rules are simple:
1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you. (check)
2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator asked. (check – see below)
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers. (check)
4. Ask them 11 questions. (check – this was the hardest part)
5. Let them know you have nominated them. (check!)
So to get right to it, here are the 11 questions posed with my answers in italics:
1. Why did you decide to start a blog? I had been blogging on Xanga since 2006 and when that site decided to make it near impossible to continue I jumped ship and came to WordPress in May of 2017. I suppose the real answer to the question is that my blogging was started as a creative outlet and as a means of stress relief.
2. Are you a cat person or a dog person? I’m both. I have owned many pets, most recently a dog, Ranger, who we lost in October 2016. I grew up with cats (lots of cats). My mother bred Persians and we always had at least one cat in the house. I am a Veterinary Technician so I get to be around all kinds of animals on a daily basis.
3. How many books do you read in a year? Usually 6 give or take. I tend to have to have closure so when I start a book I don’t put it down until I’m done. This results in me reading all night in many cases. That is really not conducive to holding a full-time job and having to bring my A game every day! When I retire that will change everything!
4. Who is your favorite author? Hmm. There are many authors I enjoy. I have a soft spot for C.S. Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, J. K. Rowling (Could there be a pattern with authors that use initials?) I also like Zenna Henderson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, James D. Forman, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein. But I’m old fashioned and William Shakespeare is my all time favorite!
5. Who is the one person who inspires you the most? I have been influenced most strongly by my parents and my grandparents. I have been inspired by several people over the course of my life – my 8th grade English teacher Mrs. Watson, my college roommate (for 3 years) Deb Schirg, and my husband, Sparky. I suppose the biggest influence has been Jesus, The Christ. Yep. That’s the list.
6. Pineapple on pizza – yay or nay? This one is easy. Yay!
7. What is your biggest fear? My biggest fear is spiders. I just don’t want to have to see them or have to deal with them. They will cause me to shriek like a fire alarm.
8. What is your favorite season? This is difficult – I’ve always liked Spring. Spring is the revival of life and the end of winter’s grip on the earth (and my ice cold feet). However the wonderful long sunny days of Autumn with the crisp air and the burst of colorful foliage is nearly irresistible. Sadly we have had an abbreviated Spring and last Fall was also extremely short since we had significant snow fall in October!
9. If you had a million dollars to give away, who would you give it to? I would be inclined to give it to the church and to my alma mater to fund some scholarships.
10. Ocean or lake? Which is your favorite? I am not a water person despite being an Aquarius. Oceans and lakes scare me. The ocean is more interesting…
11. What is your favorite memory? I have many favorite memories. Most focus on family. There was the time I purchased the most perfect gift for my father – it doesn’t happen very often that you manage to find that one thing that makes their eyes light up! Or the time I made lentil soup and was swept off my feet in an embrace of gratitude for that meal. Maybe it was when son#1 told me that I was the best mom in the world. Or perhaps it was when son#2 finished his recital piece and our eyes met and I knew he had found his passion…
Now for the nominations of eleven others for this award. It may be a little difficult to do so since there aren’t that many blogs that I regularly follow (or who follow me). I will give it my best shot.
1. My Blog (just another WordPress site)
9. A Sagittarian Seeker
10. Foxy Writer Chick
11. Tom’s Treasure
OK. Here are my not so nosy questions that you will hopefully be able to answer without having brain strain:
1. What does your blogging name mean?
2. How many people subscribe to your blog?
3. What is your favorite dessert?
4. What is your favorite word? Explain why.
5. Poetry – do you write or read or just skip it altogether?
6. If your life was made into a movie, what actor/actress would portray you?
7. If you could change your name what would you change it to?
8. Your house is on fire. You can save only one material possession. What will you save?
9. If you could have any career (success is guaranteed), what would you want to do?
10. You can have any super power. What super power do you choose?
11. Which would you choose – a trip to the moon, a tour of the ocean’s floor, an expedition into the center of the earth? Explain your choice.
O.K. – go!