Looking Inside the Cookie

I was dumb-founded. All I could think was “what in the world is going on?” You are probably wondering what event seriously rocked my world. It was my dinner. Sparky and I had Chinese carry-out, specifically bourbon chicken, pot-stickers, and fortune cookies. Everything we normal until we opened the cookies.

It appears that even the fortune cookie company has “sold out” to Big Business! I mean really. What is happening that now you can’t even get a fortune cookie fortune without an annoying advertisement? It is like Google has branched out to fill every space with ads and infomercials. There are ads on the McDonald’s french fry pouch, the beverage cup at Burger King, and too many cars, trucks and buses! And now the fortune cookie had succumbed. Next it will be printed on the toilet paper!

Placed in the visual field
Subtle messages
Ubiquitous yet unseen
Infiltrates our consciousness

A little Tanka for your reading pleasure! (A Tanka is syllabic forms containing 5 lines with the syllable count of 5-7-5-7-7).

Looking Through Water

I never liked opening my eyes under water. Mostly it was the sting of the chlorine that kept my eyelids clamped shut. The few times I did open them under water, everything was blurry and had a distortion that confused me. Here I sit typing away at the computer. I have to concede that everything appears to be underwater. It is that same wavy focus imbued with uncertainty and hesitation. But it isn’t caused by eyestrain or not wearing my glasses. It is an astigmatism of my heart and mind caused by the chaos I’m viewing… And to put my mother at ease, I am not having any crisis in my marriage. This is simply a result of not being able to write about what is really bothering me at work. Pretend this is not the rejection of a lover and instead use your imagination.

The world as seen through wavy glass
Or is it water streaming from my eyes
Distorting joy and hope and summers past
When surprise announces love’s demise

The shock that radiates from the soul
A sudden gasp and tearful cry
When the world crushes every goal
And shows all the tokens and words a lie

Tears bitter and salty wash my face
Cleans my mind and scrubs my heart
Removes doubts and love’s last trace
I’m made pure for life’s new start

Looking Snubbed

I really didn’t enjoy 8th grade. I didn’t think 9th or 10th grades were much better. Somehow I am caught in some sort of weird time vortex where the worst part of middle school and early high school is playing out in my life once again. I guess I need to explain and give you all a little context:
I was very shy. I was studious and although I had friends they consisted of a group of outcasts. I was not part of the popular crowd. I was nearly invisible. The important part is the word “nearly” because I was seen and heard. At least to a degree that resulted in some of the popular girls snubbing me. I wasn’t usually blatant although there were a few instances where there was no mistaking their intentions. I would take the slights personally thus setting myself up for anguish.

Fast forward 50 years. I am a recovering introvert. That means that time and experience have brought me out of myself. I’ve realized that the opinions of others as regards my being reflect more on who they are than who I am. I have learned that I am in charge of my own happiness. And I don’t have to have everyone like me. It is really freeing! In the next breath I have to say that the juvenile behavior of some people is really annoying. I want to shake them and shout “Grow-up!”

This last week saw a person from another department refuse to answer my email inquiries. When I approached her to get my question answered, she literally turned her back to me. It was very childish. I had to make the decision to engage or walk away. I walked. But I do not forget. There will be a time in the not so distant future when she will need me to provide her with information. I will eventually fulfill her request… I’m tempted however to play the same game. Not that I would but it is a enjoyable fantasy to give tit for tat.

Looking at Money Well Spent

I went shopping with my fashion consultant. We try to go at least twice a year mostly for my benefit – I get to learn what is hot and what is not. I drove since it was my turn. That gave me a tactical advantage and we went to Goodwill as the first stop. Now to be fair, I didn’t give her a choice. And I am aware how skived-out she gets about handling other people’s clothes. I found a really nice silk tunic with embroidered flowers around the cuffs and the neck/front. She had been giving me the “face” when I pulled things out to examine. The face consists of a narrowing of the eyes (ever so slightly) with a scrunch to the nose and a pursing of the lips. It isn’t a blatant or exaggerated expression and if I didn’t know her so well I might not recognize it as it is very subtle. But she does make the face. She made the face for every single thing I picked up. Anyway I washed the tunic and hung it to dry and it is beautiful! I wore it to work and got several compliments! Her only comment when she saw that I was resolved to purchase it, “Wear it with white pants.” I learned that high waisted jeans are in and wedge heels are out. Boot socks are out and a layered look is in. The hot colors are grey, black, plum, and red. Hounds-tooth/black & white check is making a resurgence and capri (ankle/high-water) pants are popular – especially when worn with short leather boots (but not suede).
I did spend money:
Goodwill – $2.49 (a turquoise silk tunic and a hammered aluminum tray with a glass relish dish)
Macy’s – $17.85 (Charter Club sleeveless shirt in black & white checks, 2 Henleys 3/4 sleeve cotton print shirts)
Kohl’s – $11.17 (GV print jeans, Chaps knit pullover, One World screen print top, and 2 pair of Vanity Fair undies)
JCP – $4.72 (Alfred Dunner sweater and a pair of socks) I did have a coupon for $10 off any purchase…
So when the damages were tallied it was under $40 and I had lots of fun. I figure that is cheap entertainment plus I have lots of clothes to show for it! I think my fall wardrobe is pretty much set except for one shirt – a plain navy blue tunic. Yep – the one piece that will be impossible to find. But the thrill of the hunt is over half the fun!

Looking at Spent Blooms

It is still August. My Hostas and Day lilies have bloomed and are now “pooped out”. No more flowers can be found in my yard. Even the daisies in the cul de sac have gone to seed. Usually they last until well into September. My mums have come up but there aren’t any buds on them. I’m a little worried that they won’t bloom at all! On the plus side I’m going to get a couple zip-loc baggies and gather some of the seeds from the daisies. There are 2 varieties – oxeye (white with a nice yellow center) and black-eyed susan (bigger and taller but yellow with a dark brown center). The only reason I know this is because they were planted by the neighbors who had a landscape business. Their son now owns/runs the business. It is kind of funny because they don’t have any flowers in their yard. It is completely low maintenance – even the shrubs are slow growers that don’t need to be trimmed, and they have ground cover around all the trees and deck so they don’t have to weed or mow! So as I gaze with a touch of envy at their yard, I realize I need to go out and cut the ugly stalks off the spent hostas so my front yard doesn’t look so derelict.

Petals unfold
The flower opens

Edges brown
Petals droop down

A little Hay(na)ku poem for you to enjoy. The Hay(na)ku was created in 2003 by Eileen Tabios. It consists of 3 lines with a word count of 1/2/3. There is no rhyme or meter required and no restriction on the number of syllables in the words. The Hay(na)ku can also be written as a reverse with the counts being 3/2/1. Enjoy the remaining days of summer! (that’s an order!)

Looking at the Blogger Recognition Award

I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Greta Renee of When Almonds Bloom. The award has a few rules so I need to follow them (because I’m a color in the lines kind of person):

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post about your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Nominate 8 other bloggers for this award.
So here we go!

1. I would like to officially thank Greta Renee for nominating me for this award. It makes be a little nostalgic for the first blogging platform I was on, Xanga, where I met so many wonderful people. I hope to find some old friends here as well as make some new friends (like Greta Renee). Please check out her blog HERE.

2. Well this is already in progress so I don’t think I need to dedicate a separate entry within the blog to blog about the blog…

3. Brief… I started this blog in 2017 after my beloved Xanga all but died. Sure it still exists if you count being in a vegetative state as being viable. I started my Xanga blog in 2007 and 10 years later switched to WordPress. I have connected with several former Xangans so the community lives. My blog started as a way to connect with my niece and nephew and my sister and mother. It quickly became a creative outlet for me. I had aspired to be a writer when I was young but as I matured I decided on a career in which I could count on a steady income. I continue to write poetry and short stories, chronicle my life, and showcase my ceramic art on WP. I’ve kept my blog format as close to my old blog as possible.

4. My advice to new bloggers: 1. Write for yourself. Meaning don’t try to please an audience. Most of the blogs I read are because I enjoy their own unique “voice” not because they are targeting a specific demographic. 2. Don’t live your life online – there are some things that need to be kept private. If you declare your undying love and detail all aspects of the relationship just know that if love dies it will be a tragic and very very public event. Ask yourself, “Do I want everyone to know the details of my love life? my relationship? My heartache? Do you want your current/potential boss to know that you just had a bad breakup/divorce? That you are hung over? You were arrested? Think before you hit publish!

5. I’m supposed to nominate 8 people for this award. It is a good thing because that is how I discovered several people I follow. So here goes!

1. My first nominee is Saintvi located at a blog with the same name. She has been a friend for a long time on Xanga and has just come over to WordPress. I’d love for all my followers to go visit and welcome her to WP. She has a sharp wit, a keen sense of humor and is a lot of fun. She even dabbles in poetry when her muse moves her.
2. Tom Lemler of Tom’s Treasures is a blogger in Michiana (a local blogger to me). He posts poems, philosophical discussions, and uplifting messages (even podcasts of sermons). I have enjoyed his blog and really think others would too if they gave him a try!
3. Hélène Vaillant of Willow Poetry posts original poems specializing in Haiku and Tanka (Japanese forms) as well as other poetry forms and short stories. I appreciate her poems and I think you might as well.
4. I also recently found jstnotherday who was a xangan and migrated here. Her posts are short and to the point with photos or illustrations. I enjoy them and hope you visit her to check it out.
5. Denise Gainey blogs at The View from Here. I have been following her journey and love the view from her perspective. She is a musician with a beautiful soul. She and her husband and 2 dogs and one cat (who is unpredictable and a bit wild – the cat not Denise) reside in Chez Gainey. Please check out her blog and say hello!
6. Promisesunshine is another former xangan transplanted to WordPress. She writes about her life and family and career with humor and seriousness in equal measure. I am a big fan and am cheering her on as she embarks on another adventure! Go visit her and give her some words of encouragement!!
7. Ann Coleman writes Muddling Through My Middle Age. Her blog is thoughtful as she takes the reader along as she discovers the joys of being a grandparent and the tribulations of middle age. Her posts often make me smile. Visit her blog and see what she is up to now.
8. Last but not least, Janet aka slmret, posts at My Blog. She is a photographer and appreciates nature. Her blogs often focus on the mountains, hills, wildlife and the sea near her home in California. She has been documenting and updating the blogging community on the fire situation lately. If you want a first hand look at the California wild fires go visit her posts!

Looking at Blessings

Oh frabjous day! Yes it is Friday!! I have survived another week. My work life is – complicated, which means I can’t really talk about it. Nevertheless, it was a rough week and we (the collective work force) are looking for the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel only to discover it is an oncoming train. We are in crunch time and the crunch is the sound of our bones breaking. But it is Friday. In my rejoicing I have to be thankful for many things. Even in the midst of chaos and gnashing of teeth I must count my blessings:
1. I have teeth. Yep they are all mine and fairly sharp too.
2. I have a job. I enjoy what I do even if I may have to reinvent my role.
3. I have a loving husband.
4. I have a loving husband who likes to grill so I don’t have to cook when I’m exhausted from work.
5. My washing machine is wonderful. It is a front loader and is quiet and efficient.
6. I got a new pair of white shoes at Sears and paid $2.13 (that is the cost including tax)!
7. I have awesome friends who will do fun things with me to make me forget work.
8. I have a Roomba that vacuums my house so that I don’t have to, that lets me do things with my friends.
9. I have a gift card for Taco Bell which lets me get a snack and feel like I didn’t spend any money (I like to pretend anyway).
10. My bathroom remodel just might happen before Christmas!!

So there you have it – my list of things that bless my life (in no particular order). What makes your Friday wonderful?

Looking for Insurance

Denied for Spoils
If a claim for damages
If a claim is denied
Denied out of hand
Denied with prejudice
Prejudice against illness
Prejudice against poverty
Poverty of mind
Poverty of spirit
Spirit of justice
Spirit of compassion
Compassion is sought
Compassion is lacking
Lacking from corporations
Lacking in government
Government without a conscience
Government like a business
Business about the money
Business by and for the rich
Rich get richer
Rich make everyone else poor
Poor get poorer
Poor find no justice
Justice in the law
Justice in courts
Courts run by government
Courts controlled by money
Money for bail
Money for lawyers
Lawyers looking for prestige
Lawyers representing causes
Causes that are noble
Causes that line their pockets
Pockets of corruption
Pockets that are deep
Deep enough to hold judges
Deep like the ocean
Ocean of despair
Ocean that swallows hope
Hope that is lost
Hope against all odds
Odds on favorite
Odds are the house wins
Wins against the little man
Wins the jackpot
Jackpot he shouts in victory
Jackpot contains the spoils
Spoils ill-gotten gains
Spoils go to the wealthy

The above is a Blitz poem. It is a form I’ve used before that was created by Robert Keim. It consists of 50 lines where the first word of the first line becomes the 1st word of the second line. The last word of the 2nd line becomes the 1st word in the next two (line 3 & 4) lines. This pattern is repeated until line 49. Line 49 is a single word which is the last word of line 48 and line 50 is a single word, the last word of line 47. There is no punctuation. The title is the first word in line 3 followed by a preposition or conjunction and the first word from line 47.
The inspiration for this poem is a letter I received in the mail from my insurance company. In short it said that they were cutting benefits. Granted the items being cut don’t particularly affect me. They are reducing the coverage for childbirth, and mental health coverage, and mammograms. They are completely eliminating birth control. But the thing that really got me going was the little section titled “If A Claim is Denied” wherein they describe your recourse when the plan administrator denies a claim. Basically you have a snowball’s chance in Hades. After an informal meeting, a 90 day wait and then a mediation session, if your situation isn’t resolved you can seek a legal remedy. Of course it would be you and your puny lawyer against a cadre of sharks paid to do one thing and one thing only – make sure you don’t get any thing. I am fearful that the insurance industry is poised to ensure most of the working poor are uninsured!

Looking at Thunderstorms

We had rain again. We’ve had lots of rain this spring and summer. Yet not many thunderstorms to accompany the rain. It seems strange to have rain in the summer without the crackling of lightening and the claps of thunder. I will confess that thunderstorms cause me a little anxiety. I really don’t like to be alone during a big storm. With Sparky’s unpredictable work schedule I am home alone in the evenings more often than I’d like. So I’m not complaining. I am however curious as to the reason why there haven’t been any big thunder boomers. A week and a half ago the sky turned black as I was leaving work. The temperature went from 87 degrees to a balmy 65 degrees and the wind picked up. By the time I reached my car the wind was blowing hard and pelting my bare legs with bits of sand and gravel. I was certain there was going to be a huge storm. I was wrong. It sprinkled enough to wet the driveway and chase Sparky inside. He had managed to mow the yard but not trim or edge. Meanwhile I decided to make dinner – a Pot Pie. It was really good!

I decorated it in anticipation of a super thunderstorm but the storm never materialized. It was just some rain and a little blowing wind… Not even enough to make my wind chimes tangle! I suppose this is just another symptom of our global health. Growing up we had lots of summer thunderstorms. Seems we were headed to Grandma’s basement all the time. There would be tornado sirens and the wind would make the telephone wires hum and whistle. I haven’t heard that in a long time… Still we’ve had torrential rains but not the usual light show and drum circle to go with it.

Looking at Friday

Today I am going on a retreat for work. It is sort of mandatory. The “invitation” suggested the following:
1. Get there early since parking is limited.
2. Carpool if at all possible (see above).
3. Bring a water bottle or coffee mug to reduce the amount of paper waste generated.
4. Wear comfortable casual clothes because:
A. We will be “playing games”
B. You can go for a walk at lunch
C. There will be “learning activities” which may involve sitting on the floor
5. There will be a light breakfast if you get there before 8:00 AM
6. They will provide lunch, beverages, and snacks.
7. You need to bring an “open mind” and a “spirit of cooperation”.
8. The retreat will conclude by 5:00 PM.

I am not so sure I am going to enjoy this retreat. I have pried the door open on my mind and have wedged some serious reservations into the door jam to keep it open. If they serve salads for lunch my “spirit of cooperation” just might dive into the open mind door and kick it closed from the inside. Just saying. I like vegetables but I want them cooked. I am not a rawist. I am closer to an obligate carnivore than most. In fact I don’t think I’ve met a meat I didn’t like. I am going to carpool with a coworker thus we are meeting at 7:30 AM and hopefully make it to the retreat (the Boat House) in time for breakfast and to score a parking spot! The rest of the day will be what it is. I’m hopping against all odds that it is a painless event…