Looking at Whale Song

I was thinking about human courting behavior. Which made me consider my ongoing romance with my husband. Below is a haiku where I explore love after 40 years:

Belly to belly
In language only I know
He sings a whale song

I decided to take this theme and attempt to move it into different forms. This is a kimo, a modern Israeli haiku, composed of 3 line with a syllable count of 10/7/6:

We sing intestinal whale song duets
Entwined belly to belly
Through ocean depths in love

Then there was the Tyburn. This form is more difficult – there are 4 rhyming lines of 2 syllables each, followed by 2 rhyming lines consisting of 9 syllables each. The 5th – 8th syllables of the 5th line are made of the 1st and 2nd lines and the 6th line followed the pattern of the 5th – 8th syllables are the 3rd and 4th syllables. It isn’t the easiest poem to write:

My love
Sort of
True love
Held to his heart my love sort of sings
Whale song rises, true love above wings

And then there is the Rhopalic verse, a Greek form with deceptively simple rules – the 1st word in a line has one syllable, the 2nd has 2 syllables, the 3rd has 3 syllables, the 4th has 4 syllables, and so on. You can have as many words in each sentence as you desire as long as they follow the rule.

Minds entwined intellect
One body interweave
True marriage consummate
Love making serenade
Whale language recital


Looking at Tinted Windows

Slowly rolls the big black Escalade
Watching the summer shorts on parade
Dark tinted windows hide whose inside
Stopping to call them over curbside

He picked a cautious and wary group
His nefarious plans become moot
Techno girls with cameras steady
Snap likeness and license already

One dials the police another her dad
Reports the man in the car unclad
Keeping their distance they raise a fuss
Tables turned he loses his smugness

At once the girls flip him off en masse
Tires squealing his foot hits the gas
There’s no escape from the cops today
One more pervert they’ll lock away

It has been awhile since the last time there was a report of a suspicious vehicle attempting to lure children up to or into a car. It always seems to happen in the summer. Except for this time. October has been a bit chilly but we had a couple warm days. I suppose I’m as guilty as the next person because I put on my light weight top and my capri pants and sandals one last time. According to the NextDoor neighborhood network (an annoying social media site that my neighborhood is part of and I got suckered into subscribing to and can’t get out of), some middle school girls were walking home from school when a big SUV rolled up and started following them. They stayed together (safety in numbers) and when he rolled down the tinted window all 5 of them started taking photos – of him and his car and his license plate. One called the police and described the guy. Lucky for the girls, our police department is responsive and happened to have a neighborhood patrol not more than a block away. They were there in a flash. Literally. The suspect didn’t have time to get his pants up and zipped before the officer was ordering him to exit the car with his hands up. I’m guessing the girls had moved up the block by that time!

Looking Down

Willow Poetry, a site by Hélène Vaillant posts a weekly photo challenge whereby the readers are challenged to write about the posted photo. This week the photo was provided by Jordis Fasheh.

Peer into the darkness long hidden
Ask why decoration in the interior
Never mind the iron jail grate
Down deep there is a sound, rising
Open to the light they rush
Rail thin from confinement
Angry and vengeful they escape
Screaming at God and man
Fainting you fall back, fall down
As they fill the air mocking life
Utter an oath, a prayer, a plea
Loosed on the world all pestilence
Too late curiosity’s regret

This is my acrostic poem for this prompt…

Looking Left Out

I was a small child. I detested the ritual of picking teams because I was the last one picked. There is nothing that compares to the feeling of being unwanted. Perhaps I had overdeveloped intuitive sense but I could tell when I wasn’t welcome. Growing up in a subdivision created a closed group of playmates. As the subdivision expanded, the number of potential friends increased too. On one occasion my best friend and I joined a large group to play kickball. Teams were chosen and yes, I was the last one picked. It was finally my turn to kick. I kicked the ball. It went sailing and I ran. However it was caught and I was out. I was relegated to the end of the rotation and no matter how many times others were up to kick I remained at the end of the line. After a few more innings I simply walked away. It took the others a good hour to realize I was gone. That is the passive rejection. Active rejection is not as easy to ignore. I’ve had people refuse to acknowledge my existence. I’ve had people talk over me. Once a group turned their backs on me.

Those experiences shaped me is myriad ways. Perhaps the most prominent was that I have become very accepting of others that are on the margins. In high school I had a little group of friends who were all “odd ducks” in one way or another. My circle of of friends in college was the same only different. It made me patient. Many of my coworkers think I have the patience of a saint. I prefer to think of it as cutting others some slack. Not everyone learns at the same rate in the same way. I am willing to try different methods without putting the blame on them or me! Those experiences of being left out pushed me away from the mainstream. Probably saved me from experimenting with drugs, alcohol, tobacco or becoming sexually active as a young teen (I came of age in the 1970s). I was always an introvert but having to rely on myself for entertainment, conversation, and companionship allowed me to be comfortable being alone. I can eat at a restaurant solo, see a movie by myself, and be home alone without trepidation. It also pushed me to become less introverted. I consider myself to be a recovering introvert in that I can be comfortable in social settings, meeting strangers, and I appear outgoing.

I suppose some people when rejected become angry and want to avenge the slight. Others become withdrawn and depressed and exhibit self destructive behaviors. Some seclude themselves effectively creating insulation against the rejection. And others rise up against it and become social butterflies. What is your experience?

Looking Left

I have an eclectic group of friends who come in a variety of political persuasions. I don’t discuss politics on my blog too often. Today is an exception. My philosophy has always been one of respecting the opinions of others even when they radically differ from my own – an “agreeing to disagree” kind of view. The last few weeks has brought out the nasty in so many people! I’m all for passion in your convictions. I understand that emotions on both sides have been running high. I felt the urgency and the hesitation concerning the Supreme Court nominee. What has pushed me, and not over the edge but farther to the left, has been the assertion that because something happened a long time ago, it shouldn’t count. That kind of thinking is all kinds of wrong. If I murdered someone and wasn’t arrested, tried, convicted, and punished then it wouldn’t count against me if 30 years has passed? I think not. Justice demands an accounting. The priests that molested children in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s should get a pass and not face their comeuppance? I think not. Some crimes require righteous outrage. And rape and attempted rape are the kind of crimes that cry out for redress. The wounds inflicted on the mind and soul (or for those less religiously inclined the psyche) of victims of sexual assault never really go away – they may heal but there is always an ugly, angry scar that they carry. The injuries for the most part are hidden, just like the crime. Too often there is a lack of belief, a refusal to grant credibility, and an insistence that the victim somehow brought this on themselves. The culture of placing all the blame on the victim effectively silences the victim and absolves the perpetrator of any guilt or responsibility. This is wrong. I believe we need to do better. It isn’t about blaming boys for having testosterone coursing through their bloodstream any more than it is the fault of girls for being attractive. What it boils down to is personal integrity – or the lack thereof. And what I want in a judge that sits on the highest court in our country (other than a functioning brain) is personal integrity. Brett Kavanaugh may be a Yale graduate and a sitting judge in the appellate court (which necessitates higher brain function) but I posit his moral compass is broken. I think Brett Kavanaugh’s attempt to sidestep the questions, turn the tables, and conveniently refuse to address the issues raised during his Senate hearing was arrogant, flippant and downright disrespectful. I personally think that if he doesn’t know that “boffing” is not the same as burping he can’t possibly be smart enough to be a Supreme Court Justice. Really, I’m probably more naive about these terms than most and even I know that one! His getting emotional when reminiscing about high school chums and holidays with his family only highlighted the presence of a double standard. Any woman who exhibited the same tearful demeanor would have been denounced as unsuitable due to a weak and sentimental disposition – obviously not cut out for the Supreme Court. And it makes me angry. Angry that the FBI investigation was rushed. Angry that it was a sham. Angry that the Senate has put partisan politics ahead of due process and the will of the majority of Americans (last time I checked women aged 16 or older made up 58% of the work force). I’m bringing my anger to the ballot box. My vote will go to the opponent of any of the politicians voting to confirm Mr. Kavanaugh. Trump has his court justice but I think he will soon become a President without a majority.

Looking at the Photo: What Do I See?

I visited Hélène Vaillant at Willow Poetry where she has posted a poetry challenge to write a poem, haiku, tanka or short story which represents what you (see) feel (within you) about this photo. I’ve seen several of them but I wasn’t inspired. Today was different! Below is the photo.

Lot’s wife looked backward
True story, the rest did too
Disobeying God
Frozen in stony silence
Watching Sodom’s destruction

A little Tanka (made up of a hokku paired with a waka), which is to say a poem made of syllabic line counts of 5-7-5-7-7. Although the true Japanese form is not about syllables but rather 3 lines of 17 or less “on” words in 3 lines. The true haiku must contain a season word and is serious in tone.

Looking Finished

The bathroom is almost completed. I will mop the floor, clean the sink, tub and shower and put up the decorations. I’m very happy so far with the look of the room. It is exactly how I imagined it!!
They put the fan in and it looks good. The toilet is spiffy too. But what is even better? That floor vent cover!The old one was so rusty and disgusting (little boys have really bad aim)!
The sink is now on the vanity and you can really use it too! The second photo shows the mirror and the hanging lights. I can change the glass covers if I want – the lights take a standard wide mouth Ball jar!
The shower tile is grouted and looking fabulous. The shower fixtures are now all in place.
This is a good picture of the wainscoting. The guys did a great job on it and it looks so very good. They talked me out of using the pre-fab bead board and instead used raw wood pieces. The workmanship is wonderful! As a bonus I was able to find switch plates for the light switches and outlet that matched.
Lastly a picture of the towel bar and the expanse above where the storage cabinet aka “johnny cabinet” will be hung and then the photo with the cabinet installed. There are a few little things left to do: put up the shower curtain and hang some decorations on the wall next to the sink. The guys (Nolan and Nate) painted a few spots and the door jam/trim/door. They left the bill and the house key on the table (since we were at Goodwill’s half price day). I’m hoping I can schedule the master bath remodel since we now have a working second bathroom!!

Here is the final photo with the bath towels and assorted decorations. I still haven’t hung the shower curtain – forgot to buy the hooks. But other than that it is all done! I even got all the stuff stowed under the sink and into the cabinet!

Looking at the Pool

We are planning a vacation this winter. It is a pseudo family reunion to be held at my sister’s vacation home in Pensacola Beach, FL. For the first time in a long time we will be all together in one location – at the same time. My sister’s home can sleep 21 easily. There will be 13 of us there with the possibility of 2-3 additional prospective family members. Not only does the house have 5 bedrooms, a bunk room and several sleep nooks, it boasts a salt water pool. The last time we visited I didn’t get in the pool. Partly because I was so stinking busy doing other things that I didn’t want to hassle with having to dress, undress, dress, fix hair, etc. The other reason was that my swimsuit was only 20 years old and the Lycra spandex decided to crumble. I figured it was a sign that I shouldn’t get in the water. Fast forward. I have one bathing suit in reserve. It is only 10 years old. However it is missing a strap. I looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. My choice is to wear it strapless (not a good choice given that the Lycra could go and I’d make Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” look like nothing). Or I could use the remaining strap as a halter strap around my neck and attached in the front. That option isn’t comfortable as the strap is a tad too short. The last option is to wear it diagonal front to back. I could do it but every time I’d need to go to the bathroom I’d have to have assistance to get it reattached.

I had been looking at suits for several months. I was unwilling to spend the kind of money they were asking for a piece of clothing I would wear (being optimistic) 2 or 3 times a year. But not to worry I finally broke down and went shopping. I know it is early October and there aren’t too many options left. I had looked at Meijer but all they had were tankinis. Ditto for Kohls and Target. I ended up at the mall. My first choice is always Sears but I struck out. All they had left were some tankinis and some Speedo suits definitely geared for the winter swim teams. Dejected I went to Penney’s and struck gold. All their swim wear was on sale 50 to 80% off. I selected a couple different styles and came up with a winner. I was a little worried.

This is the suit I selected – conservative black one piece with a black/white/royal blue patterned bodice. Nothing wild and nothing revealing. There aren’t any peek-a-boo cut outs, sheer mesh, no sequins, and no plunging neck or back. The only troubling issue was the price tag.

I did a calculation in my head (note: Math is not my strong suit) and figured that at 65% off it would be about $35. I had a coupon for an additional 20% off which by my hasty calculation made it about $28. I mulled this number over for several minutes as I made my way to the check out. I finally decided that if it lasted another 10 years that would be about $2.80 a year and I could live with that. To my delight the cashier announced the total and I triumphantly exited with my new suit!

I will be swimming in the pool and possibly dipping my toes into the ocean come December!!

Looking Disjointed

The sun breaks through disjointed clouds
Tween eyelids cracked disturbs my sleep
Stabs the retinas dispels my dreams
Monday looms to disappoint me

As night dissolves and starlight fades
The sun breaks through disjointed clouds
With a beam dispatches darkness
I launch distraught from cozy bed

Comb and brush hair disheveled
Breakfast dispatched while I’m driving
The sun breaks through disjointed clouds
Spotlights freeway car disorder

Swerve around pothole disasters
A prime parking spot discover
Friend calls me indispensable
The sun breaks through disjointed clouds

This is a Quatern, a french form of 4 quatrains (sets of 4 lines) with each line containing 8 syllables. The twist is that the first line of the first quatrain is repeated in subsequent quatrains as the 2nd line in the second quatrain, 3rd line in the 3rd, and the 4th line in the final quatrain…

It isn’t even December yet and I’m having trouble rolling out of bed. I tend to have more difficulty getting up when it is dark outside. Sunrise is at 7:30ish and by the time I’m leaving home it is shining and making everything look new and awake.

Looking at the Tile

The bathroom is coming along. After they installed the tub, they needed to prep the walls to waterproof them and to put up the tile. This consisted of painting on some truly wicked smelling green slime. Supposedly it is so evil that if it gets on the tub, it will be there forever (thus you can see that they taped plastic over the the new bath tub). It is some sort of plastic or rubber polymer that had to be applied with a brush instead of a roller! We were told it had to “cure” for several days. Luckily the ceiling vent fan was installed and working. It ran for 2 days non-stop but the fumes still made the entire upstairs stink.

After several days, they returned to prime, paint, and texturize the ceiling. It is the same spackle bumps that were on the ceiling in our first house. The old ceiling had a pattern which looked nice but was impossible to match when repairing. The photo below shows the tile to the corner.

The next couple of photos show the color and pattern of the new tile. I went with a white wave textured subway tile with a non-textured but painted tile as an accent tile. The accent tile has the same wave pattern as the texture in the smaller tiles. The colors are difficult to see but they are earth tones in browns with a greenish tint.

The last thing they did was paint the walls. Since there is no light or windows, I had to use the camera flash which makes it hard to see the real color. The paint color is Valspar Arid Plains in a satin finish. I was worried that it would be too dark in the small space but I really like it!

So there you have the update. The guys continue to work at it and are making progress. Because it isn’t a major priority to get it done we are fine with letting them take their time. It should be done by the end of October!