Looking for the Wait to End

Today is Friday and my schedule is jam packed. It is a hurry up and wait kind of day. We are doing a food run to stock the church food pantry (have to go to a warehouse and dig through bins to select canned goods etc.). Then to church to unload the food. That will be followed by a trip to retrieve my art from the Student Faculty Show. Then it is a call to my sister followed by a call to the other sister. At some point we will eat lunch, get our COVID boosters, and walk the dog at least twice. Then for dinner we are off to a restaurant for the High School Classes of 1970 – 1979 Reunions. Since Sparky and almost all of his siblings graduated in that time frame, as well as my cousins (3 which live in town), and our very good friends, there will be lots of familiar faces.

Since I’m participating in David’s We’ave Written Weekly poetry cooperative, I have to wait until my entry posts so I can add it to Mr. Linky. So the timing is important – I’ll have been poised at the keyboard for several minutes to ensure my entry is in time. A.J. Wilson proposed the prompt of a poem of no more than 12 lines and incorporating the word waiting:

My DNA coils and divides in its own time
As a woman, waiting is in my genes
Waiting for what day brings, for a phone to ring
For a man to sing to my heart, to reach my prime
Waiting for the time of birth, quickening of earth
All the while holding my breath in anticipation
Of becoming full and whole and then night falls
And the waiting resumes, eyes searching the gloom
Looking for myself buried in the waiting
With dawn I’m drawn to the horizon, the sun, the fun
Waiting patiently for me to discover the wait is over
As I burst into tears dancing and prancing free

Looking for a Place to Live

Son#2 has been living in an apartment in a city nearly 2 hours away. We helped him move into the apartment a year ago. And of course I blogged about it. His lease is nearing the end (a 15 month lease) and he has been house hunting for the past 4 months. The housing market was insane last year and it hasn’t improved. In fact I think it might be just a tad crazier! He had been looking at the houses being particular about the area. He showed me one that he thought would be in his price range ($220,000) that was huge. It had been used as a dormitory for a group of monks. The house had been built in 1890 and converted to oil heat. The plumbing was ancient. The electric wiring was from the turn of the century (knob and tube) and it screamed “FIRE HAZARD” to me. Anyway, he was smart enough to take a hard pass. Two months ago I counselled him to get pre-approved for a mortgage. He did. And the search began in earnest.

He looked at (and had Sparky and I look) lots of houses online. He engaged a realtor. He drove by houses and checked out neighborhoods. He toured homes. He put offers on houses and didn’t make the final cut. People were buying homes for $15,000 – 20,000 more than the asking price, without inspections. It was so demoralizing for him. So this last week it finally happened. He made an offer on a house. He waited on pins and needles. There was some negotiation. And they accepted his offer!! This is an all brick 2 story home built in 1920 with so many little features that you just don’t find in new homes. The front door is a beautiful heavy solid wood and there is a window box on the window above the door just begging for some greenery.
The dining room has built in storage for your table linens and silverware and even a place to store table leaves and table pads! Not to mention the beautiful original light fixture!
All the doorways are arched. The floors are refinished original hardwood (except the kitchen and breakfast nook where they put down wood laminate over the old tile). The kitchen is modern and all the appliances remain. There is a built-in linen and medicine storage cabinet just outside the bathroom.
At the top of the stairs is a door with full glass panes to act as a noise dampener and to insulate the upstairs from the downstairs in the winter…
And gorgeous french doors that lead from the breakfast nook to the deck (composite that doesn’t need to ever be painted!).
To top it all off, the living room has a beautiful marble fireplace with the original mantle. The stairs are lovely and a nice accent to the living room.
Best of all it is move in ready! So all that will need to be done is a quick clean of the interior kitchen cabinets and putting down some shelf liners, and checking out the attic and storage shed to make sure they are clean and ready to receive “stuff”!

And to make this post a little longer here is an Alphabet poem. The poem consists of only 26 words, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. The words are not required to be used in order, nor is rhyme or meter specified.

Looking at houses
Elegant, modern, quaint
Searching for comfortable
Neighborhoods, kept yards
Xanthic daisies growing
Inhabited prairies
Views of rivers, Junipers trees
Unspoiled wilderness
Zephyr blowing

Looking at Minutiae

A pattern can be perceived when one looks closely at almost anything. The key is being able to see the details instead of dismissing them as unimportant. This is the basis of nearly every disaster movie – someone notes an abnormality, no one believes them, disaster strikes. So to bring this back to the real world, I have spent the better part of my adult life honing my observational skills. You see, veterinary patients can’t talk (at least the ones you see in the everyday animal hospital) so you have to figure it out by other means. You look for clues in posture, gait, how they hold their heads, tails, elbows, ears, how they breathe, swallow, right down to the feel of the skin and the color of their gums. Perhaps it is an odd smell to their breath that gives you a clue. Sometimes it takes a mental magnifying glass to recognize the details because they are so fine.
Due to proprietary information I can’t give you details, but I’ve still got it! I was taking weights and observations and noticed a fluctuation that immediately followed an event. I noted it. Then it happened again. Once can be a fluke. But twice is the start of a trend! I made another note and notified the researcher. They were baffled. Tests were performed and the results were not expected. Questions were asked and it turned out that there had been contamination of the compound. If I hadn’t noticed, it could have compromised the data. I was thanked. I did a happy dance. Often it is the minutiae that is important and often overlooked when viewing the “big picture”!

Looking to Leave Fast

This week’s Wea’ve Written Weekly (W3) sponsored by David at the Skeptic’s Kaddish is a prompt by the incomparable Michelle Navajas. Her prompt is to write a free verse poem of 12 lines and to use the word “adorable”. So here I go!

My memories were once beautiful, ravishing, desirable
Our love was the envy of friends, strangers, even enemies
Until that fateful day
You called me adorable, a puppy, a frilly Valentine, cute
And in that instant you took me from your heart
Placed me on display as a trophy
Made me static
A thing
But I will not be shelved or held apart
I am not a dog given to following commands
My heart is wild and I will be free to love with abandon
Unfettered by memories of your love’s chains

Sparky and I were sitting around the kitchen table with some long time friends and musing about family. We were wondering about the reasons that in both our families there were a dearth of divorces. The only thing that we could come up with was that all the marriages were dynamic. Marriage is a team sport, a partnership, a collaboration.

Looking at the Viral Load

Viral load is simply how much virus you have in your body and of course the more virus you have directly correlates to how sick you are. I’m still making ceramic versions of viruses. The following are a few of my latest efforts. With each one I make, I reduce the viral load in my imagination.

This first one is an Orthoreovirus. There are 10 sub classifications of this virus which has a wide host range, including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, protists and fungi. I decided to attempt to do this one with small spines. It almost made it through the firing. I lost one spine in the bisque firing and was able to reattach it with glaze for the high fire kiln. Sadly, someone decided to pick it up and they broke off about 5 spines when they set it back down. I was slightly dismayed since it took me a long time to make it. I attempted to glaze with the Grape and put some Ochre Celadon on the details on the body. I was not pleased with the result as the Celadon ran and gave this one a blotchy effect. Everyone seemed to think that that made it look more “infective” – you be the judge.

This next one is a representation of a plant virus (unidentified). It reminded me of pollen but it isn’t… Anyway, it is a mixed clay body of white stoneware and brown stoneware with white stoneware embellishments. I tried the Grape glaze (again) with Phil’s Celadon accents on the spikes. The glaze was a little thin in places but the blue bursts of color were obvious. The Phil’s Celadon didn’t run like the Ochre Celadon so I was very happy with this result!

Looking at Scars

Accidents scar skin
Soul is scared by sin
Leaves a telltale sign
Angry red or thin white line
Surgeon stitches wounds
Priest absolves and impugns
Wipes up blood and heals
Wipes out sin and seals
The gaping hole
In heart and soul
Of puckered flesh in a star
Healed we see the scar

I have a few scars. Most people aren’t aware of them and either can’t see them or don’t notice them. But I know they are there. All have a memory attached: The thin line on the back of my hand from a nasty cat scratch, one on my left bicep from a disease, the round scar on my right ankle from a Jart, a small line between my pinky and ring finger from a glass jar, below my lower lip from falling as I learned to walk… We are all scared on the outside in the course of living. The question I have to ask is what kind of scars do I have on the inside? Are they healed and only a faint memory or are they open gaping wounds? Are there small wounds that I continually pick the scab from even though I know better?? I also wonder if others can see them but more importantly have those soul scars made me a better person or have they changed me for the worse?

Looking Birthed

Son#1 and my youngest sister are both celebrating birthdays. I do understand the reasoning to rejoice with each year completed. I mean, traditionally it was a miracle if a child made it to one year of age – back in ancient times and there was no guarantee that they would even make it past two or three years of age either. Life was fraught with dangers. So celebrating each year that you were still alive was a pretty normal thing to do. Still there doesn’t seem to be any recognition for the one that did all the work. Let’s face it, being born is a pretty passive event. The one doing all the work is the one laboring to bring that new life into the world. And not to discount the work involved, I also have to note that there is quite the effort to keep those little ones out of harm’s way. I’m quite proud that I was able to shepherd 2 boys into adulthood with a minimum of physical trauma to them. It wasn’t easy. Boys tend to be daredevils and seem to be overly attracted to danger. We were only in the emergency room once with son#1 (after a car crash – not my fault) and once with son#2  that wasn’t related to asthma attacks (after the wind blew him over as he was picking up after the dog – again not my fault). In recognition of my son’s birthed day, I’m baking him a pie. Yes, I’ll let him choose the kind of pie. But you’d better bet I’m having a big ol’ piece!!

Looking at the City

One of the annual events I take (usually with my friend the Fashionista) is a trip on the South Shore to Chicago. This extravaganza starts early and we take the last train home. In years gone by that meant leaving the house by 6:00 AM and taking the last train home at 9:00PM. We like to do this in the summer for obvious reasons and some not so obvious. She has now retired from teaching and has more than her summers free. COVID made us cancel the excursion for several years. Just as we were planning our trip she was exposed to the virus. She got sick. Then her husband got sick. Now the trip has been postponed indefinitely. So I pulled this from my muse – a little free verse, an ode to the city:

A pink glow cuts a dome of light in the midnight sky
The sounds of life push the nighttime silence onto Lake Michigan
Concrete mazes flash colors as cars run like mice from
One tunnel to the depths of another
The Sears Tower reaches up to the moon made insignificant by its size
The train clacks and blue sparks and tired faces flash by
And you know you are in the bosom of the city
You see her richest cloak made of night and light
Seeing the imperfections in the face of this new mistress you love her more
The sensual experience of the city overwhelms and in a last shudder
She frees you from her embrace
Propelling you away, in anguish you call out her name

This is my offering for the W3 (Wea’ve written Weekly) hosted by David at the Skeptic’s Kaddish.
This week’s prompt was provided by Steven S. Wallace: Write a poem using 3 proper nouns (of People, Places or Things) and having a limit of 100 words. Easy enough I said in my head. Then I scratched said head. I looked at my post that I’d scheduled for today and said. “Whoa! This is perfect!” Thus instead of waiting until Friday – I get to post this and I’m ahead of the game!

Looking Past Death

Love’s enough for me
Friendship, faith or devotion
Can’t keep death away
As breath fails tell me of love
Stretching from death into life

This poem is a Jisei, a traditional Japanese Buddhist death poem. It is written as a Tanka. The poem discusses death and the meaning of life in the last moments before death. They are generally serious but can be humorous.

Last Tuesday was the 14th anniversary of my father’s passing. I haven’t been morose or even weepy in years past but this year was a little different. Probably since it has only been 6 months since I lost my mother. When my father was dying, in the hospital, he was surrounded by all of us. His last night, my mother sat holding his hand and talking about all their adventures, the fun and the triumphs they’d had in 51 years of marriage. She cried. She laughed. She prayed.

My father and my mother both had unshakable faith that of all the things that separate us from this world once we die only love would be unbroken. I too believe in the power of love to breach the divide caused by death. That was the one thing that we all told my father – “We love you.” The same was said as my mother slipped away from us. Love can’t stop the inevitable but that golden thread stretches to eternity – beyond death and into new life….

Looking at Sibling Rivalry

Once again David at the Skeptic’s Kaddish is hosting the We’ave Written Weekly (W3). This week’s poet is Punam Sharma and her prompt is to “Write about the moon from the sun’s perspective or vice versa” using any form and without any restrictions on length. I wrote a trimeric – a four stanza poem with no specified line length, rhyme, meter, or topic requirement and no prohibition either. Seemed the right choice considering the prompt. The first stanza is 4 lines followed by three 3 line stanzas where the first line repeats the respective line from the first stanza (ABCD, BXX, CXX, DXX). To that end I humbly submit my trimeric:

Little brother you vex me too much
I do not want you tagging along
Stop copying me, aping my look
My patience is gone, I’m telling mom

I do not want you tagging along
You think you’re sly hiding behind Earth
I can still see you back there lurking

Stop copying me, aping my look
Don’t borrow my clothes or take my stuff
Your imitation doesn’t flatter

My patience is gone, I’m telling mom
If my temper flares you’ll regret it
You’ll never be me little brother moon

Being the eldest I am so very familiar with the problem of being imitated by a younger sibling. It was maddening. From copying the walk, hair cut, penmanship, and extending to taking clothes and lunch boxes, even to trying to make my friends their friends – a younger sibling can over time drive you crazy. I remember the day my younger sister took my sweater and headband. I realized it as she disappeared onto the bus. I wanted pierced ears and as soon as mine were done, she hopped into the chair and had hers done. My mother always intoned when I’d reached my breaking point, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”