Looking at the Ticket

I am a rule follower of the highest order. I have on a rare occasion broken a rule, like jaywalking when there are no cars or taking my own snacks into the movie theater. So it came as a huge surprise that I was unable to get my parking pass for the University due to a parking citation. Looking at the computer I was dumbfounded. Then I got angry. You see the parking ticket was from 2008. Yes you read that correctly – a ticket from 13 years ago!

A little background to put things in perspective. This ticket was supposedly for illegally parking in the loading dock area of the building I worked in. I rarely parked in that lot and when I did it was in the 15 minute loading/unloading spot TO LOAD or UNLOAD! I’m pretty sure that’s when I got the ticket. You see the former office manager for the Biology Department was known to be a rather sour woman. She was very even handed with the students but heaven help any staff member who crossed her. This ticket was written the year that our department split from Biology – taking a huge chunk of the budget with us. For years the Biology Dept. had managed the money, carving a pittance for our staff salaries and applying the savings toward Biology wages and bonuses. To say that there was some bad blood is an understatement. I was not the only person to get a ticket that year. Whenever one of the staff had to unload supplies or pick up equipment to take to our satellite facility, the parking police would be immediately called. Often we would be gone before they arrived. However if they were already nearby you would get ticketed. Even if you had only been parked there 5 minutes.

Now, that ticket was written in 2008 for a car that I no longer own. In the intervening 11 years until I retired, never once was that ticket mentioned when getting my parking pass. When I was making lots of money they never asked for payment. I retired and got my first “retired staff” parking pass with no mention of an outstanding ticket. But now I’m being told to pay up or no parking pass! It isn’t the $15 that is the problem. For years and years the university gave you a “free pass” on a citation annually. It was forgiven. I don’t know when they changed this rule but I know for sure it was after 2008! So I’m peeved, maybe even steamed and slightly torqued. I have to go to campus today to do some training of the staff. I’ll be going early to stop at the police station and find out what gives…

Looking at Songs of Praise

CalmKate has posted another challenge. This time to write a paean. The paean is traditionally a song of praise or triumph originating in ancient Greece, usually written as a song to thank gods for showing favor. The modern paean can be written on any topic and in praise of nearly anything! There is no prescribed form for them to take, though the ode and ballad are commonly employed for paeans. I decided on rhyming couplets – because I’m feeling lazy and trying to count metrical feet and adhere to a rigid rhyme scheme didn’t sound like fun. I did however maintain the 14 lines of the sonnet.

What loving joy my heart extends
When I think of all my friends
Though they be near enough to see
Or far away and absent be
Their presence in my mind resides
Unchanging in time’s high tides
I treasure friends both new and old
More precious than a pile of gold
Across the distance sea to shore
Friendship’s embrace I adore
Each one special though unmet
Face to face someday we’ll get
The chance to see eye to eye
My home is open please stop by!

I really love my WP friends. I learn so much from you. My fellow poets challenge me to attempt obscure forms. You share your vision of the world and the universe. Often I’m nudged to recall and remember things that haven’t crossed my consciousness in years. Because so many of you on WP are not in my “backyard” I have a window into your worlds – from the Philippines to Israel, from the UK to India, Germany to Australia and Canada, and France to Finland! It would be a dream come true to meet you all in person…

Looking at Jeers

College football season has returned. Having had season tickets for many years (over 20) I have noticed a gradual change in the attitudes of the fans. In case you weren’t aware, way back in the day we were instructed on proper fan etiquette. You stood for the National Anthem (and you did NOT applaud). It was expected that you cheered for your team and acknowledged a good play by the opponents with polite applause. You participated in the cheers led by the cheerleaders. You parked your behind in your seat and only in your ticketed spot. You were encouraged to stand when something exciting happened and THEN YOU SAT DOWN!

Sadly times have changed. Now it seems that standing for the entire game is seen as a personal choice that results in forcing everyone behind you to stand if they want to see the game. The cheerleaders are no longer leading cheers but providing entertainment (dance and feats of strength and acrobatics) for those in the stands. Some even use the game as an excuse to drink in excess and behave badly. But the worst is the poor sportsmanship. Booing your opponent is seen as normal. Making comments about players appearance, ethnicity, intelligence, ability (and that extends to the coaches, referees, band, and cheer squad as well) is not only accepted but encouraged!

In my opinion, and possibly I’m not alone, the jeers tossed at the opposing team are not only poor sportsmanship but inviting bad karma. I’ve seen it in action. The fans screaming names at the other team’s quarterback gasp when their quarterback is sidelined with a back spasm. The fan spewing vitriol at the Heisman contender on the other team has the fan behind them vomit down their back. You never know how your behavior will impact others and how the cosmos will respond…

Okay. My rant is over and we can resume the regularly scheduled programming. Just remember when you put negativity out into the world it will often come back and roost in your hair.

Looking Challenged

I was considering a poem for my next post. I flipped through my index card file and found a form I’d never attempted. It is an Awdl Gywydd, a Welsh form written in quatrains (4 line stanzas) with 7 syllables per line. Easy-peasy you say. BUT it also must have a rhyme scheme of a/b/c/b. Well, that’s not so bad. BUT NO, it must also have an internal rhyme on the 3rd or 4th syllable of the 2nd and 4th lines with the end word on the 1st and 3rd lines!! I really don’t like internal rhyme. But I thought I should give it a try – you know supple the brain muscles a little.

Then I read CalmKate’s post and she was challenging her followers to write a verse or two using either Homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings) or Homographs ( which are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings). To muddy the waters we can just lump them together and call them Homonyms (which can be homophones, homographs, or both). Being a glutton for punishment (and having some free time with my injured foot propped up) I figured I might as well give it a try.

The Prodigal Son

From the sky the rain does pour
And my poor heart like a deer
Pines for warmth from summer sun
And my son who I hold dear

The world is fierce and I pray
He’s not prey to wicked souls
Who kill as a hungry bear
Leaves him bare with bloody soles

No word from him so I wait
Hold the weight and count the hours
Just a call his voice to hear
Frozen here the hurt is ours

At the window’s rainy pane
I feel pain; my mind a knot
Into the dark I will stare
A creaky stair! He’s home – not

The rain clean air holds a scent
Of hope sent on a day fair
A pleasant sky this morning
No mourning, he needs air fare!

Place a flower in my hair
Like a hare quick run the course
For him a feast we will buy
Lay it by fine bread not coarse

And so my heart’s missing piece
Rests at peace its very plain
Over mountains, land, and sea
I can see him leave the plane

And because my mother reads this blog I must add this disclaimer – No sons have gone missing, neither are they spendthrifts. No one has squandered their money or resources nor has anyone needed to phone home for money to be able to return to the familial fold. This is COMPLETE fiction!!

Looking Mousey

I finally got a piece back from the kiln! With the kiln tech in and out and the restrictions on class size due to the pandemic, it was taking a lot longer to get things fired. You see they won’t do a firing unless the kiln is full (for monetary reasons as it costs a lot of time and money to complete a cycle in the gas kiln). I had made this concept orb several times. It was so very popular with coworkers, vet techs, graduate students, and researchers that every time I completed one I felt compelled to give it away. I will likely make this one again, as a gift, but this one is mine!
The clay body is white stoneware. The mice are glazed with a red iron oxide stain applied thickly to give a metallic sheen to the surface. I am very happy with this one. Amazingly all the tails and ears are intact and it came through the firing perfectly!

Looking at First Loves

Puppy love was not real just a
Small thing
But a girl’s heart has no tether
Takes wing
Envisions the joy and hope that
Loves bring
As that young man plays tunes on her
Heart’s string
Even when that new love fades
I sing

I was looking at an old elementary year book of my sons’ that has never been claimed to be relocated to their house. It brought back some very funny memories and a few poignant ones. There were 3 young ladies in son#2’s class who had a crush on him in 2nd grade. He considered them friends. They considered him their “boyfriend”. I went to eat lunch with him one day and discovered the little drama going on. He was thrilled to see me and introduced me to his friends. One of the young ladies in question corrected him, “girlfriend” she muttered under her breath. I have very keen hearing. I was amused. After lunch I had a meeting with his teacher and asked her if she was aware of this romantic development. We had a good laugh because the 3 girls hung out together and each one considered him the “boyfriend”. Since the seating only allowed for one on each side there had been some serious vying for position in community circle, reading groups and anytime they lined up. The girls remained friends and when son#2 remained clueless they all three dropped him. And that is the essence of “puppy love” (not to be confused by the 1960 teen version).

So this form is called the Waltmarie. It was created by Candace Kubinec. It is a 10 line poem where the even numbered lines are 2 syllables and the odd numbered lines have no restriction on syllable count. The catch is that the even numbered lines when read sequentially form their own mini-poem!

Looking Well Fed

I have to say that food has been on my mind. I’m grateful that I’m able to eat again. We have eaten out most of last weekend in celebration of birthdays, promotions, and anniversaries. We had seafood, Italian cuisine, and Mexican fare. A post by Brizzy May triggered memories of potlucks at the University. Because of the international flavor of the graduate student population, the luncheons were gastronomic adventures. I have eaten foods that resulted in begging for the recipes which in turn have become family favorites. Chicken biryani and Chicken Sabudana Khichdi are two Indian dishes that I make regularly. I also make a Korean dish Ojingeochae muchim made with squid that I first had at a potluck! It is very addicting. Then there are the curries. I have a recipe from a Thai graduate student for a Yellow Curry with Prawns it is very tasty and a little spicy but so very good! A German student shared a recipe for spinach spaetzle. It is a pain to make but worth the effort. I got a recipe for Pad Thai that is a delight. And Nur from Turkey gave me the recipe for her Gozleme (a kind of flatbread pizza thing). I have a Lebanese rice dish called Hashweh that is delicious and easy to make… And I haven’t even considered the desserts!

I’m pretty sure I’d never have tried most of these dishes if they had just been a recipe in a cookbook. Seems that many of the family favorites have come from church picnics, potlucks, work parties, and the like. Currently I’m going to be taking “Frog-eye Salad” to a library function (which was a recipe from a friend at church). And a few days later I’m taking “Thank-you Salad” to another get together which is a recipe from a fellow geocacher that I had at a 3rd of July party. Do you get recipe favorites out of magazines? Or maybe you peruse cookbooks? Perhaps you watch cooking shows or surf the internet? Or are you like me and get recipes after tasting really good dishes at various functions? Do tell!

Looking Fevered

I am fevered
The steam rises as I desiccate
Dry bones bone dry
Sweat flies ashen flakes
The fire rages body burns
Purified I muse
Reality is a charred mind
Brain fried crispy
Don’t breathe on me
Or I will fly apart
Blowing dust from an old book

I sleep feverish
Hover between life and death
Silkworm cocoon burns

The fire extinguished
Soaking wet embers
Waiting to reignite
There is nothing left
The fuel is sodden
Spider web mind remnants
Life less the baggage
Lighter freer unmoored
I can fly but no longer run
This story has no last chapter
Breezes blow me away

I claw at the sky
My thoughts rise up incense prayers
Death holds no fear

So here is a little amalgam of free verse and zappai to commemorate my horrific bout with an evil intestinal virus. It was at first assumed to be food poisoning. But food poisoning goes away after 24 – 48 hours. This nastiness lingered Friday into Saturday, Saturday slid to Monday. I thought that like the unfortunate Officer Kane in the original Alien movie, that I too was going to have something burst from me. I was in misery. A call to the doctor’s office netted me an appointment on Friday – a full 7 days since the beginning of my ordeal. I managed to stay hydrated, kept my appointment, and I didn’t die. Seems it is a virus but not THAT virus. (I can honestly say I loathe viruses.) Nothing that can be done but treat the symptoms. So I had been on the BRAT diet for 3 days prior to the doctor’s appointment. BRAT is Banana, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Dry toast never tasted so good. Anyway, after another week I was able to add in a few bland foods gradually and after another week I’m back to normal (except that eating plain rice will not happen for a long long time)!

Looking at Ceramic Orbs

The summer ceramics class ended a long time ago and we are just about to start the Fall session. There were supposed to be 2 five week long summer semesters but at the last minute they decided to reinstitute the ceramic summer camps for kids. That meant I was able to get in only one session. The instructor was out for 2 weeks but we were able to come in anyway. It was really a bonus – paid for 5 weeks and got 7 weeks of studio time! Still my production was somewhat limited. I just now got all my pieces back (the kiln tech was on a summer sabbatical). Yes, I am still in my orb phase. But I’m slowly shifting from coccoliths to viruses since the pandemic caused me to do a lot of research on viruses…

This first one is a white stoneware clay body with a 50/50 mix of porcelain and white stoneware used for the decorative embellishments. It is glazed in Super T on the little “florets” and Grape on the dividing ribbons. The background is Megan’s Blue. It represents Navilithus BC, a coccolith from the Indian Ocean found Southwest of Java.

The second one is white stoneware glazed in the new formulation of Oribe. This represents the Human Echovirus.

Looking Grumpy

I woke up grumpy. I had been having unpleasant dreams all night and there was a deep furrow between my eyes from frowning hard. I try not to drag any “dream baggage” into my waking hours but it was really difficult to put it down. I was all kinds of out of sorts. My shoulders and back hurt. I had a nagging headache. But the worst was a smoldering anger that I was harboring toward my husband. Now to be perfectly clear – he hadn’t done anything to deserve my anger or resentment. On the other hand, Dream-Sparky had definitely been at fault. You see in my dream, as I was attempting to get into the front passenger seat (with the door open) he decided to back out of the garage. I was forced to try to extricate myself and run to avoid being smacked by the open door or crushed by the car as it squeezed through the garage door opening! I managed not to die. Instead I was bumped hard by the car and thrown onto the sidewalk. I landed on my shoulder and whacked my head on the cement. When Dream-Sparky realized what he’d done, he slammed on the brakes and then leapt from the car. As he was standing over me asking if I was alright, the car rolled down the drive, across the street and over the opposite curb before coming to rest in the shrubs… I was so very angry with Dream-him. I felt better after a hot shower and a little something to eat (along with some ibuprofen). I did tell him about my dream. And he did remind me that it was Dream-him and not really him-him as an attempt to make sure my anger wasn’t going to be transferred.

My rational self is quite aware that my husband has not committed any vehicular assault. I know that no event has occurred that warrants any anger directed toward sweet and kind Sparky. However the agitation persists. To relieve myself and dispel the aggression, I’m heading to the ceramic studio to pound some clay. I find that to be most therapeutic. And as a by product I’ll perhaps create a ceramic masterpiece!
Below is a form of micropoetry called a monostitch. Some call it poetry and others don’t. I’m not going to take a stand either way.

What happens to life’s mortar in the presence of Ivy?
Tendrils of dreams curl around reality trying to reach consciousness.