Looking Fit

There once was a girl wore a Fitbit
She had to walk, run and stay fit
She ran around
And never sat down
Finally got so tired she quit

It has been maybe 3 years since I got my Fitbit. It is a Charge 2 and it has seen better days. I received a set of bands for it from my husband – they are in every color of the rainbow. Theoretically I can change the band to match my outfit daily. However my sister got wind of my decrepit Fitbit and gifted me with a new one for Christmas!! It is not a Charge 2 but a Flex so the watch bands are completely different. Now here’s the thing, I am still wearing the old one because I am frugal. I figure I’ll wear this one until it completely dies. So the other is sitting next to the computer staring at me and making me feel guilty.

The other issue is getting in my steps. I am not a fan of exercise for the sake of exercise. I want my exercise to be productive. Walking on a treadmill is easy but I think of all the other things I could be doing instead of walking in place. So my house is really clean. I’ve branched out and I’ve been cleaning other things… But there is only so much clean that can be done before I become my Aunt Regina and start taking pictures out of the frames to wash the frames and then wash the paintings or wall hangings or needlework pictures!! So I’ve been walking around the neighborhood. But even that after a few laps get old. I’m feeling like a slave to the Fitbit. It buzzes and “reminds” me that I need to get 250 steps per hour. The nagging is starting to get on my nerves. In my defense I’ve met my step goal every day with the exception of Mother’s Day and the one day where I had a huge sinus headache that kept me recumbent for 8 hours during the day.

The stair goal is only 10 flights and I find that I’m getting that easily every. single. day. Even walking around the neighborhood nets me at least 4 flights of stairs. I’ve been wondering how that happens since I live in the flat lands of Indiana. But there is a little slope and if I do 3 laps I get 4 stairs. The research indicates that one set of stairs is equal to 10 feet. I guess mt neighborhood isn’t as flat as I thought. We do have the hills in the newer part of the neighborhood but walking up that hill is killer on foot and death defying in a car during icy weather.

The bottom line is I’m going to change my band from the dark purple to a more summery color – possibly turquoise. And I’m going to go for another walk to make it stop nagging me. When it dies I’ll switch to the flex and see if I can set the parameters to not remind me. Until then I’m staying active and fit, until I sit, and rest a bit.

Looking Activated

My husband eats a very high fiber diet. He has a salad with nearly every meal. This is not a frou-frou salad but one of substance. His usual salad is comprised of the following (from highest content to least): kale, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, arugula, garbanzo beans, pineapple or mandarin oranges, soy beans, sunflower seeds, peanuts, dried cranberries (or whole cranberry sauce), ground flax seed. Sometimes he adds almonds or pumpkin seeds if he is running low on sunflower seeds. In the summer he adds fresh cherry tomatoes. This is in addition to the copious amount of hummus he consumes on a daily basis. Lately he has been fixing a stir-fry composed of zucchini noodles, cabbage, pea pods, and shredded Brussels sprouts. He is one very dangerous man. There are times when I feel that I’ve wandered into a time portal and have been transported into a WWI battle where mustard gas has been deployed. Opening the bedroom door after he has fallen asleep is a very dangerous act. It is probably the reason the wall paper was so easy to remove from the bedroom walls!

So the other day as we were taking our evening constitutional, he stopped dead in his tracks and motioned for me to walk ahead. This is very out of character as he was raised that a gentleman walks with his lady placing himself as a physical barrier between her and any street traffic. I turned to ask why just as he unleashed the most vile and LOUD flatulence. I needed no further prompting to put distance between us. As he crop dusted behind me, I thought I saw a bird drop from the sky (but I was possibly mistaken – maybe). I mentioned, as he caught up to me, that it appeared that a green cloud had been released. He denied it. I continued that it sounded like a “hot” fart. Which he finally admitted that it had been a rather noxious expulsion of gases. He defended himself by saying he did eat like a bovine and it could be expected that every now and again he might release gas that was reminiscent of cow manure. I had to agree and mentioned that of late the aroma assailing my sensitive nose after entering our bedroom was most unpleasant. That was when he admitted that he felt it more appropriate to lift the covers and expel gas into the room instead of “trapping it under the covers”.

Our discussion then took a sharp turn. He accused me of the same transgression! I begged to differ. I mentioned that I perhaps did make a few small noises while asleep but they did not poison the atmosphere! He did acknowledge that generally speaking mine were all sound and no fury. But he did point out that I routinely broke wind when he awakened me in the morning. He called it my “activation noise”. At that point I couldn’t go any further because I was doubled over with laughter. And this is why we are still married – he activates me!!

Looking at Disasters Big and Small

I’ve forgotten the words to my song
Everything that can has gone wrong
All my bridges are burned
Instead of right I left turned
And April was thirty days too long!

So here we go. I decided to torture myself and attempt another limerick. Because that is my penance for saying things out loud that I shouldn’t have said thus jinxing myself and the rest of the world. My friend saintvi was asking if she had jinxed herself by greeting the last few new years with relief since “the new one couldn’t be as bad as the past one”. She even asked a philosopher friend that if she stopped being optimistic, would that ensure that the new year would actually be better? Or was she still jinxing herself by being pessimistically optimistic? I understand her quandary. Even if the current POTUS refuses to entertain any hint of responsibility for the state of the country, I feel partially that the mess is my fault. There. I said it. Why is it my fault? Well, I uttered several things. And just like the guy who decides to have a picnic and then washes his car in July – my picnic too was rained out.

1. When the lock down began I said, “This won’t be so bad.”
2. After 4 weeks I muttered, “We are all okay.”
3. After 6 weeks I whispered, “Nothing bad has happened.”
4. After 10 weeks I groaned, “We will all get through this.”

So that set into motion a series of unfortunate events.
1. My job was shut down with the rest of the university.
2. Sparky’s job disappeared (officially furloughed).
3. Son#1 (an essential worker) started working more hours with no masks.
4. A friend had her car die – because it hadn’t been driven and had to have a new battery.
5. My very very dear friend broke herself.
6. GeoWoodstock was cancelled until 2021.
7. We are supposed to make 10 credit card transactions per month per card (2 cards). This is proving to be really hard. And if it comes down to doing a McDonald’s drive through for a $1 ice cream 10 times – so be it!
8. It snowed in April – three times and once in MAY!

I spoke to another friend who has been working from home. She is in panic mode. Her children were missing their friends and school. They are really smart kids and were breezing through the school work in an hour leaving the rest of the day to putter. She had them doing chores on the farm and helping with some interior projects but there are only so many things to be done. And now that school is over there are no summer activities that they had been looking forward to. On top of crabby bored kids, she is writing grants and trying to figure out a new budget for her facility. The new rules require her staff to wear additional PPE which of course costs money which isn’t in the budget. But not to worry – she has to trim 20% off the budget! She is about ready to do some major hair pulling.

Another friend is a HS teacher. Her class was a mostly hands-on course. There was no way they could do all the work remotely. She’s struggled with the distance learning since technology isn’t her friend. But she got it done. At a cost to her sanity.

And on top of everything, the former secretary has been diagnosed with cancer. She had an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic and they are doing absolutely nothing. The tumors are growing slowly but they have not been able to identify the primary tumor so haven’t scheduled any surgery or radiation or chemotherapy. She has had bronchitis and pneumonia in the last month. She is afraid that if she gets COVID-19 she will die. I’m afraid of the same thing for her.

Even though some restrictions have been lifted, I don’t think it is safe to mingle with people. Not yet at least! We are still practicing social distancing and it is so very hard! I hope May is better than April!  I mean, it is almost the end of May and that is another Month closer to 2021. 

Looking Obsessive Compulsive

When I was working, my coworker Mr. Fudd, would characterize me as being so OCD that I was really CDO – because that is the proper alphabetical order. Anyway being very strict with the order of steps is imperative when doing research. I was not alone. Mr. Fudd was not too far behind on the OCD train. In fact most of the staff, the ones that lasted anyway, had varying degrees of OCD. As a case in point, one would place flags on cage cards to indicate status and they had to be placed EXACTLY so or she would go nuts and have to re-position every single one! After 27 years I accepted that OCD was just part of my life and I have dealt with it. Even my husband, Sparky would poke fun at me on occasion. But the self isolation and being home bound for so long has resulted in some pretty funny realizations.
1. I am not alone with the OCD – Sparky is way more OCD than I ever realized! For example, I made a grocery list. I have a pad on the refrigerator and as things are used or we discover that we need a specific item, we put it on the list. BUT as I was adding another item he stops me and says, “Don’t write that there! Put it in order of where it is in the store!” Oh snap! Is he a little OCD?!?! The answer is YES.
2. Sparky is much more OCD than I am. How can that be? Well the grocery list described above was niggling at his brain to the extent that he had to, wait for it……………… rewrite the whole list!!
3. After being married for 37 years we have become more alike than we are different. This makes his OCD more explainable. I always knew that he liked an agenda when traveling (which is seriously detailed – down to how much time we could spend at any one place and the hour and minute that we would get up in the morning). Little did I realize that he had surpassed me in the OCD department. Shocking I know!
4. Even with the OCD he cannot, to save his soul, close a cabinet door in the kitchen. This remains a mystery but I’m coming to believe that he leaves them open just to jerk my chain. Which also explains why he is suddenly making it his mission to turn the toilet paper around.. And it isn’t a matter of over vs. under. If it starts out over he will change it to under and a couple days later switch it back to over. The same with moving the hand soap dispenser in the bathroom from one side of the sink to the other… I can’t wait for him to get back in the gym!!

Looking at a Favorite

I had fun with this one as is fitting because it is the last of the prompts that Kim Hawke had put forth for May. These last two of Kim’s MMPP prompts were: Write a poem for or about Beltane (or the midpoint between vernal equinox and summer solstice) and Write a piece in the style of your favorite poet, or about your favorite poet. I love Carl Sandburg. We had to memorize a poem for 7th grade English and I wanted to memorize “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg. I had found it in an anthology on my parent’s bookcase. My teacher, Miss Watson, felt the theme was too mature and my classmates wouldn’t understand it. Instead she approved a much shorter Sandburg poem “Fog” which was easy – too easy I thought! So for your reading pleasure my take on Sandburg’s style and interpretation of Beltane in the industrialized world…

I squint into the sun of the blast furnace
The roar of the fire fierce but the men more so
The heat intensifies the hunger and the thirst
And we toil making our own tribute to Beltane
The flame is mine, the god of iron and steel is mine
And the boys jump between crucibles
Leap past molten metal between slag showers
Shovel coke and sweat the dust from our faces
Wear flowers of soot and char while we dance
We sing as a raging inferno pounding iron
Listen to our song of spark and sizzle

Looking for the Light

The painter’s dream, “Do as you wish”
A match of talent to visual sight
Painting seas without seeing the fish
Painting faces but focusing the light

Rembrandt and Turner tried over time
To dovetail their vision to canvas and oil
Illuminate age beneath the grime
A sea turned violent crash and roil

The hybrid artist Rothko to retain
Luminosity in rectangular blocks
Tossed out oils and turned to stain
Looks outside and within the box

On closer inspection one can find
The otter’s scrawl and fish tail print
The light and vision intertwined
In bold shape and stark pigment

Here is another offering for the MMPP by Kim Hawke. This time I wrestled with the prompts: The artist Mark Rothko admired Rembrandt and Turner. Do as you wish with any combination, or all three, of those remarkable men. Or pick two of your favorite artists and Employ these words: post, otter, hybrid, match, dovetail. What I knew about Rembrandt and Turner was confined to a long ago art appreciation class. Rothko was an artist that was only on the periphery of my awareness. When I looked him up I have to admit my first thought was “This is Mondrian without my glasses on.” The more I read the more it became apparent that the 3 artists were all obsessed with trying to capture light. Rembrandt was able to show the light emanating from the individual, a pale reflection of the “divine spark”. Turner wanted to demonstrate the light that is pervasive in the natural world. And Rothko? He wanted to show that same light without the hindrances of the physical forms in nature or man – it is my sense that he wanted the people to see a reflection of that light in their minds. Okay. This is just my interpretation and probably not as informed or academic as many others – but I stand by it.

Looking at My Hobby

Quick like a bunny
Sprint across the green
Looking for a treasure
The log book pristine

Making the first to find
I do a victory dance
Hide the cache for others
And to another one I prance

Faster than a rabbit
Another first to find
Sign the log with glee
Leave my name behind

So here is another prompt in the MMPP prompts by Kim Hawke – Poem us your favorite hobby or passion.

As you might know I love to geocache. It is a great way to go places and see things off the beaten path. I’ve talked about some of the phrases we used when the boys were young and “quick like a bunny” is one of them. It seemed only appropriate when we first started caching and a new cache published that we would employ that same phrase as we hustled out the door hoping to be the First To Find (FTF). With several thousand finds under our belts we no longer feel the need to kill ourselves to rush for a FTF. If we get lucky enough to be FTF then we celebrate but we are not dashing off while supper gets cold or skipping appointments!!

Looking for Quantum Entanglements

Once again Kim Hawke’s MMPP has truly kicked me in the pants. The first prompt I considered was: Explore the quantum, in whichever version appeals to you. After mulling that over for 2 weeks I stared to compose only to have another prompt: Investigate mothers sneak into my mental gymnastics. I present a Kyrielle.

A mother’s love creates a bond
Within the womb and far beyond
Love two souls entwine and cement
A strong quantum entanglement

A daughter knows her mother’s voice
With hugs and kisses will rejoice
Know near or far the heart’s intent
A strong quantum entanglement

We know not how or why its so
Through time and space all mothers know
If the babe is ill or content
A strong quantum entanglement

Death comes knocking upon our door
Parts the embrace for evermore
The soul in joy will not lament
A strong quantum entanglement

Looking into the Mathematics of Poetry

For MMPP Kim issued a prompt asking the question – “If math is a language, like music, can it be poem-ed? Math poem. Go.” So I was considering all the ways to approach this and though “What about a Fibonacci sequence poem?” Then Promisesunshine beat me to it. Not wanting to be a copy cat, I had to delve further and further into poetic forms and *gasp* mathematical theory. So there are rules and then there are theories about what is presumed to be the rules. In the world of science, mathematics, and (especially including) physics the rules are based on observation and deduction supported by calculations based on demonstrated laws. Over time these laws have been modified and sometimes radically changed. Are you still following? So the bottom line is that what is can become what was and replaced by a newer version of what we think (at the time) is truth.

I really do not want to open that can of worms and go spelunking through philosophy. So I’m going back to math. You see math and I have an uneasy truce. I won’t poke it and it promised not to poke me. Now the idea of a math poem brings me to the concept of an ekphrastic poem (another prompt). The strict interpretation of ekphrastic poetry is a descriptive poem of a physical work of art such as a Grecian urn (Thank you John Keats). But poets have never been ones to stick strictly to the rules. Which is why there are so few mathematician poets. So to bend the rules I will make the assumption that ekphrastic poetry can not only describe 2D and 3D arts (paintings and sculptures) but can include the feelings engendered by viewing said works. I would further theorize that the feelings can be transferred to the elegant and possibly the most artful of of mathematical fields – geometry and calculus.

Interval Exploration

The ends of my world
Are joined in a circle that is
Made of irrational values
Circular emotions spin in
An orbit making infinite
Revolutions within a
Circumscribed square
I am trying with all my
Strength to find the set
Of all numbers that are true
For my interval such that
The angles of my world
Are multiples of two
The solution for
My intersection
My circular soul
Which careens in a box
In the circle of reality
Is to multiply two by
Which gives me the only

For all of you who managed to get through that without having a mental collapse, I just want you to know how I’m feeling after finishing this prompt – yeah this

Looking at Artists

She is fragile as a mosquito
A quiet hum as she thinks
Crunching fruit of the caimito
His anger rises the more he drinks
With dragonfly speed he grabs
As anger flashes in her eyes
Pain in her wrist stabs
She can see only his lies
A color explosion of flowers
Shattered vase against the wall
But the dragonfly devours
The woman in the butterfly shawl

Here are some more MMPP prompts: Write about dragonflies and another beast or beasts and imagine Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera having lunch. I knew that Frida had health issues and I knew that her husband Diego was at the time of her marriage a famous and successful artist twice her age. I also knew that both of them took a rather relaxed view of marriage vows for themselves but not for their spouse. Their marriage is described as passionate, tumultuous, and violent depending on the source. Both had what is stereotypically called the artist disposition. I imagine they lacked a lot of self control and were both head-strong and volatile. Frida was likely in pain most of the time leading to a sharp tongue and a short fuse. Diego was likely a manipulative and domineering man. Together I can imagine a predator/prey relationship that lent itself to spontaneous combustion…