Looking at Names

I know all of you are anxious about the change in seasons and I completely understand. Those in India and that sub-continent are ready for the rain to finally end. In Australia, winter has ended and spring is beginning. In many other parts summer is winding down and autumn is bringing cooler weather. With that happening, I thought you’d all enjoy a little diversion in the form of another scavenger hunt. This one is titled My Name scavenger hunt where all the forms have names! I’m not kidding! Because there are 13 blogging days (M-W-F) I selected 13 prompts with some alternatives just for fun. So without any more delay:

1. Write a poem using the form Amanda’s Pinch or write an acrostic using the name Amanda.
2. Write a poem using the form The Donna or write an ode to a woman named Donna.
3. Write an Ovi poem or write a bibliographic profile acrostic using song titles from Cuban singer Ovi.
4. Write a Marianne poem or write an acrostic poem using the name Marianne.
5. Write a Laurette poem or write a Lisa Rima poem.
6. Write a poem using the form Emmett or write a poem about clowns.
7. Write a Daisy Chain poem or write a poem about flowers.
8. Write a Coraline poem or write a poem with some element from the movie Coraline.
9. Write a poem using the form Bryant or a poem about politics.
10. Write a Golda poem or incorporate the words related to gold into a poem.
11. Write a Joseph’s Star poem or write a poem with the words: super, technicolor, coat, stars.
12. Write a poem using the form Jay’s Way or write a poem using a bird metaphor.
13. Write a poem using the form The Anna or write a Dr. Stella.

As always there is no requirement on order or completing a set number. The only thing is to put a link to this post in your post and send me a link so I can come enjoy your talent! As usual I never ask anyone to do something I’m not willing to do myself so I’ll be writing these along with you! Let the fun begin!!

Looking in the Pines

These pines will not whisper to me
Neither do they offer refuge
Strange cedars that grow by the sea
Stunted and twisted by salt wind

Scotch and white, tall sentinels mute
These pines will not whisper to me
Withholding their secrets absolute
Foot falls muffled by soft needles

Frisking each branch from tree to tree
Stiff needles tattoo skin on arms
These pines will not whisper to me
No hint to the treasures concealed

Passive resistance experts these
A sticky brotherhood of spruce
Beseeching trunk I beg on knees
These pines will not whisper to me

A Quatern for your pleasure. The Quatern is a 4 stanza poem with each line having 8 syllables. The 1st line of the first stanza will be come the 2nd line in the second stanza, 3rd line in the third stanza and the 4th line in the last stanza. There is no required meter or rhyme.

So a word about the photo – This was taken in Alaska. It really doesn’t do justice to the sight. There were so many pine trees, mountains covered in trees, roads unseen because of the trees. And these pines didn’t look like the pine trees at home. They were not as wide but bushier. The needles were shorter and much stiffer – and SHARP! I really don’t much like pine tree caches due to the sticky sap and painful needles but these trees were more painful than holly bushes! Fortunately we only did a couple of caches that were hidden in pine trees!

Looking at Rears

The community pool this summer has had a little bit of drama. In the past there have been issues with tots not wearing swim diapers, teens playing too roughly, a food fight (that involved supposed adults), and of course the trespass after hours that involved alcohol. But never before has the drama been so off the charts! You see (and there is lots to see), this time the issue is dress code or a lack of one. The pool rules state that to get into the pool you must 1. don appropriate swimwear. In a small clarification it states that undergarments do not constitute swimwear. 2. Shower before entering the pool. 3. Swimwear if worn in a lake or ocean, must be completely laundered prior to entering the pool.

The issue is one that has been brewing for awhile – bikinis. There was a time when the bikini reigned supreme. This was the swimsuit of the 1960s and 1970s. True the navel was shown and plenty of skin but the tops and bottoms were much fuller cut than today’s versions. Then in early 2000-2005 the string bikini hit the community pool. My sons were in middle school and they were so uncomfortable around the girls that they stopped going to the pool. By the time they graduated the “Tankini” was in vogue and the “string bikini” was mostly passé except for a couple older women who thought they were hot stuff. Then there was the big Speedo phase where all the teen boys wanted to be Michael Phelps. Still that was nothing to the current issue – the “full moon bikini” In this iteration there is no fabric visible from the back. It is a thong bikini suffering from anorexia. The parents of most of the younger children feel that it is too revealing for their little ones to see. The parents of the pre-teen and teen sons feel it is just plain obscene. The parents of the offenders are oblivious. What does this mean? The board meeting was a riot. The recreation committee is rewriting the pool rules to include a dress code. And many of the fathers are now coming to the pool to (supposedly) chaperone their children. So I guess for the time being there are pluses and minuses. How do I stand? I just laugh and think that the sunburns must be painful.

Looking at Chores

Bananas without spots
Toilet paper – lots!
Cough syrup flavored cherry
Chewable Tums – Berry
Cream of Wheat
Ice cream sweet
White bread for toast
A smallish beef roast
Onions and carrots for stew
And new potatoes too
Pick up a bag of crushed ice
Gouda cheese would be nice
Salmon on sale
Fresh baby kale
4% large curd cottage cheese
Barbecue potato chips please
I really should go myself
But he can reach the top shelf
Instead I’ll write the list
In detail he will insist!

This is a List Poem. List Poems are not considered poetry by some since there is no requirement for rhyme, meter, topic, syllable count, or even length. It is simply a list of items or phrases with a common denominator, which may or may not be obvious to the reader.

The most common list in my life is the grocery list. Generally the list makes itself over the course of the week. I plan my meals several weeks in advance and base the menu on the past sale items either stocked in the pantry or in the freezer. Grocery needs are written on the pad magneted to the refrigerator door. Just before the shopping trip the ads are scanned with an eye toward the next couple weeks’ menus. Everything is jotted down and off we go. This serves 2 purposes. First it prevents us from forgetting needed items and second it stops us from impulse buying – sometimes! This poem was generated by my need to be in 2 places at once. I put some additional notes on the list and handed the chore to Sparky. He did an outstanding job with everything except the bananas. His idea of a good banana is essentially a banana that can only be used in banana bread. We now have 5 “too ripe to eat” bananas on the counter. *sigh*

Looking at Odd Pies

As we have travelled it has become apparent that many places feel a sense of pride concerning their regional pie flavor. We went to Utah and discovered Pickle Pie (no we didn’t try it even though it was purportedly “like pumpkin” in flavor and texture). The Buttermilk Pie was very much a lemon bar in a pie crust – and very sweet. The Sour Cream Raisin had a grainy texture reminiscent of the Midwest favorite Corn Casserole in texture but very bland with puffed up raisins. Without the raisins it would have been completely flavorless. The Pinto Bean Pie looked like refried pinto beans (not the smooth kind) with lots of sugar added. Not appetizing.

In the south, most notably Georgia, Peanut Butter Pie co-reigns with Peach Pie. Most of the Peanut Butter pies have had a very smooth texture and a sweetness on top of a very strong peanut flavor. If you like peanut butter you will love that pie. As for Peach Pie, it is so variable – if made with fresh peaches it can be heaven. Made with canned peaches it becomes a gooey mess that oozes out of the crust to form a moat.

The Cherry Pie from Michigan is almost always delicious. It isn’t made with that horrible glop in canned cherry pie filling. Instead the cherries are tart and there is just enough sweet stuff to hold them in the crust!

For this month’s cooking experiment I made a pie that has been around forever. From the pioneer era, and revived during the Great Depression, the sugar cream pie reigns supreme. This pie belongs in the category of “desperation pie” which was made with what was at hand. Since most people lived on farms there was easy access to butter and cream and any homemaker worth a spit had sugar, flour and corn starch on hand! This is my youngest sister’s favorite pie. I’d never made the signature pie of my home state of Indiana before but it turned out delicious!
Single pie crust (sure you can make one from scratch but who has time for that?)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter cubed (1 stick= 1/2 cup)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 cup corn starch
2 1/2 c. cream (the good stuff not Half & Half!!!)
a dash of salt
Ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon – just need a sprinkle

1. Bake the pie crust until it is a light golden color (It helps to put parchment paper in the crust and use weights to keep it from bubbling). You DO NOT want to prick the crust.
2. In a medium saucepan, add cornstarch, sugar and salt. Stir to mix. Then add cream and butter. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the filling thickens and begins to boil. Cook 1 minute at boiling, then remove from the heat. You really have to stir constantly or the cream will burn and everything will be lost!
3. Add the vanilla and stir well.
4. Remove the parchment paper from the crust and put the pie plate on a baking sheet (just in case you get spill over). Sprinkle nutmeg (in the winter) or cinnamon (in the summer) on the bottom of the crust. Pour the filling into the crust. Jiggle to make sure the filling is even in the crust.
5. After the pie filling sets for 15 – 30 minutes, sprinkle nutmeg (in the winter) or cinnamon (in the summer) top of the pie.
6. Cover the edge of the pie crust with a Pie Shield and return it to the oven at 400F for 15 minutes.

7. Cool the pie completely then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, or until the center is set.
The texture is smooth as silk, cool as a cold watermelon kiss and the sweetness is better than a hug from Grandma.

Looking Frustrated

I thought that I was all done with the paper work related to the moneys my mother left me. I was so very wrong. This last investment has driven me nearly to the point of an ulcer. I wanted to write a poem with the stock phrase all of the “estate experts” would toss out when ever they didn’t know an answer to a question (like what is the account balance?): “I’m not a lawyer, I’m not an accountant, I’m not familiar with that form!” Of course they have the account balance because they generate the statements and sold the stocks. Of course they should be familiar with a form that they insisted we send them but can’t fill out until we have the information they won’t give us! As for not being accountants or lawyers, we asked them to transfer us to an accountant or lawyer but they claimed not to be able to do that!! This is the kind of thing that sorely tries my patience and makes me have to go to confession.
Below is a Stornello. This is an Italian poetic form consisting of tercets written in monorhyme with 11 syllables per line. I usually don’t title my poems but this one is called “Frustration” because that is what it has become.

Four days with hold muzak makes my spirits sag
As a beneficiary I play phone tag
Talking to five different reps, wave a white flag

I’m so sick and tired of this red tape fuss
The negativity soon outweighs the plus
Dealing with this mess has driven me to cuss

J.P. Morgan wants a waiver form for tax
An original embossed form not a FAX
They are fortunate I don’t own an axe!

P.S. Just before we left for vacation a letter arrived. From J.P. Morgan. It was a check. We quickly deposited it. Sadly my youngest sister is still dealing with this agent of evil. She swears that it is Satan’s invention and the company is intent on corrupting souls… My sister does not have the same aversion to strong language that I do. She has given the “estate agents” an earful daily. I’m hoping she can get her check by the time we return from Alaska!

Looking at Tears

I don’t like to cry in public. I don’t much like to cry in front of even Sparky. Usually I do any crying alone. There are a few things that will make me weep. I was home alone a couple weeks ago, while Sparky picked up a shift at the library, and I decided to turn on the TV and see what I’d been missing for the last few months. We get an “oldies” station that plays movies from the 1930s thru 1970s with an emphasis on the earlier Black & White movies. I caught the tail end of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie “The Gay Divorcee” and before I knew it I was watching “The Little Princess” and sobbing and wiping away tears! Shirley Temple movies usually wring the tears from me. Of course it isn’t often that I see one any more. I started thinking about why this particular movie affects me so strongly. I’ve decided that the major reason is the sense of abandonment coupled with the helplessness of the character, Sara, played by Shirley Temple. There is a constant back and forth of having and losing – having a father and then him leaving, the party and then the cancellation of the party in the midst of the celebration, the luxury replaced by poverty, friends who become enemies, warmth withdrawn and left in the cold (and this is both physical and emotional), never wanting for food to being given barely enough to prevent outright starvation, being believed and then called a liar, from served to servant, and finally child to criminal! I suppose I always identified with the underdog and felt empathy for those who were tossed in fate’s storms. So I sat there and wasted 2 hours of my day and bawled like I’d just lost my best friend.
Are there any movies or books that tug on your heart and make you weep or am I alone in this??

Looking at Summer Vacation

Black ball bouncing
But Buick brakes
Before ball bursts

Call kids inside
Catch errant ball
Coolly chide child

Go get Granny
Go gentle girl
Gather green beans

Hold the hamper
Don’t hurry her
Helping her pick

Just jump higher
snap jutting pod
Lighting gas jets

I remember the summers my parents went in with a group of friends from church to plant a communal garden. It was a garden of such proportions that everyone was overwhelmed with the prospect of caring for it. Our whole summer vacation was punctuated by the garden. We’d be called in from play and off to the farm we’d go. As children, we were conscripted to assist in weeding, watering, and eventually harvesting. I didn’t mind watering. I could do it from afar. What I really didn’t want to do was weed, though I did my fair share. The most heinous activity was the harvest. I would volunteer to harvest the green beans because they would only have Japanese beetles on them (unlike the tomatoes with the big worms and the rotten ones that exploded in goo in your hand). Now there were 2 different kinds of beans – the pole beans and the bush beans. I was short and those pole beans were magnificently tall. My mother joked that we ended up with Jack’s beans and no doubt a giant was going to be climbing down into the garden any time. Nevertheless I would diligently harvest beans, which included me jumping up and down to snag the beans that were up high. At the time my grandmother wasn’t yet living with us but she’d come to the farm and help as best she could. That meant mostly supervising but she liked to pick beans too. So we were a team. I’d hold the wicker basket and she’d toss in the ones I couldn’t reach. After they were all picked, I’d haul them inside where they would be washed, the ends snapped off and snapped in half in preparation for blanching. Once the big pot of water was boiling I’d scoop handfuls into a wire basket that was lowered into the boiling water before being removed and dumped into the sink with ice water.

The poem above is a Novem. It is a poetic form invented by Robin Skelton. It is an unlimited number of 3 line stanza with 3 words per line with a strict syllable count. Line 1= 1/1/2, Line 2= 1/2/1, and Line 3= 2/1/1. If that weren’t enough each stanza must repeat a consonant sound 4 times.

Looking Before Crossing

It finally looks like it will really happen this year. That specifically is GeoWoodstock XVIII in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada! As you read this we have flown to Vancouver, B.C., passports and vaccination status handy. We have rented a car and arrived in Abbotsford, a hop and a skip from Vancouver. We had planned this trip in 2020 but the pandemic had other plans. Then it was scheduled for 2021 and was likewise scrubbed. There was much trepidation as we were constantly monitoring the ever changing requirements for entry into Canada. The rules for boosters were tightened and then relaxed only to bounce back to more stringent requirements. Doing the best we could we got our boosters on July 28th. We have updated our ArriveCan app on the phones (duly loaded with all the information). We managed to get into Canada without too much problem. GeoWoodstock is lots of fun. Saintvi traveled with MaxB by van cross country because she really, really, doesn’t like to fly. We met up with them in Abbotsford. Tonight is the big meet and greet with a bunch of activities. But most importantly it will be the pathtag swap meet! I have several new pathtags that were made just for Geowoodstock!

So you will all have to forgive me if I’m not making the rounds – I’m going to be very busy for the next couple of weeks as we geocache the heck out of Canada before taking a cruise to Alaska before returning home and collapsing! As usual I’ll attempt to read and comment as time and internet connections permit. I’ll do my best to catch up once I’m back home again in Indiana!

Looking at Kisses

Kisses fly
Your cheek turns red

The above is a Pi-ku, a poetry form derived from the Haiku in which the number of syllables per line is determined by the first 3 digits of pi. Thus the syllable count is 3/1/4. Like a Haiku, there is no rhyming.

I was at a restaurant with my friend the fashionista. While we waited for our meal I was able to do some people watching. It was very amusing. There was a group of young girls probably in middle school at a table. Maybe it was a birthday gathering? They were being chaperoned by a couple women sitting in a nearby booth. Then a group of boys arrived, perhaps a little older, who were seated in close proximity to the girls. Some flirting ensued. Nothing overt and nothing inappropriate. The girls finished and as they gathered their things to leave, one of the boys caught the eye of one of the girls and he blew her a kiss. She blushed such a red that I had to chuckle. I doubt she will ever see him again but she will likely never forget that kiss – even though his lips never touched her cheek!