Looking Worse for the Wear

Cracked, crazed the jug held cool water
Disappointment to the potter
Hoped for perfection settled for useful

Convicted felon branded bad
Tough demeanor hid a good lad
Wants to prove worthy of a second chance

Dented, dinged but held at the seams
The sturdy pitcher still held dreams
Despite rough handling over many years

Black eye, broken nose marred her looks
Crushed spirit survived reading books
Appearance notwithstanding she held love

A broken handle and chipped rim
Pink painted pattern, pretty trim
Kept mother’s favorite coffee piping hot

People nearly broken apart
Still hold sweetness within their heart
Vessels cracked or perfect pour the same cream

This is a Tripadi, a Bengali poetic form written in tercets. The tercets have a syllable count of 8/8/10 with a rhyme scheme of a/a/x where x is an unrhymed line. There is no stated limit of stanzas. This poem was inspired by a chance meeting at the grocery store.

I was intently pondering my options among the broccoli crowns when a young couple came up and stood near me. They were having a very serious discussion of fresh versus frozen broccoli. Because this is Indiana where we are helpful and friendly (most of the time), I struck up a conversation. We had a very nice chat and before we parted they both thanked me for speaking to them. It seems that they have experienced some negativity due to their looks and life experiences. He was pretty heavily tattooed (not a cohesive design but pretty hodgepodge) and she had some serious scarring on her neck and arm. They told me about their rough lives. He had been in a gang as a teen and ended up in prison and now couldn’t find any job but working at a fast food place. She had survived a house fire unlike her 2 siblings and then was rejected by her mother (who was accused of setting the fire). It was as if neither of them had ever found kindness until they found each other! It made me consider that the appearance of the container doesn’t alter the sweetness of the beverage within….

Looking for the Rattle

My car is 9 years old (2014 Prius C) and has been a dream. I get marvelous gas mileage (48-50 mpg in the winter and 60 – 89 mpg in the summer). I love the color, the handling, the zip, visibility, and even the “extras” like CD player and bluetooth for the phone. The ride is smooth and the heater and AC work quickly to heat or cool. BUT there was a problem in paradise. My little car had developed a rattle. At first I thought it was from some stuff I had in the front storage – a few coins, a charging adaptor, some parking passes. So I removed them. Still had a rattle. Then I took my sunglasses out of the cup holder. I could still hear the rattle. I emptied the glove box – the manuals, insurance cards, extra napkins, some plastic spoons, rubber bands, and a few straws. That didn’t make the rattle disappear. I took all the stuff out of the door pockets – my stash of Altoid breath mints, the cough lozenges, the lanyard, and kleenex box. I could still hear it! Then I got very serious.

I removed floor mats and vacuumed the interior. The seats were checked and flipped up and all seatbelts were examined. I took all the extraneous materials from the backseat (the emergency kit, shopping bags, umbrellas – yes I had 3, and my work bag and spare shoes). I then went for a little drive. Still a rattle persisted. I removed the GPS. Took out all the CDs and removed the hang tag. Another drive around the block and the sound seemed to have gone. That was until I drove to the nearby grocery to fill the gas tank. As soon as I hit 30 mph I could hear the rattle. I started putting my hand in various positions on the dash to see if that was where the sound was emanating from. No luck.

I slowly added things back into the car with no increase (or decrease) in the annoying noise. It seemed I was going to have to make an appointment with the professionals and shell out some big money. With a heavy heart I called the dealership and made the appointment. Dropping the car off in the morning, they said they’d call when the rattle sound origin was located. Sparky took me home and then left to play his addiction – Pickleball. About 10 minutes later they called to inform me that the rattle had been identified and fixed. No more rattle. It cost me $65: $60 for labor and $5 for a new windshield wiper blade. They told me I could come get my car anytime… I felt a tiny bit silly and also annoyed that I hadn’t figured that out!

Now I am happy and no longer bothered by strange noises!

Looking at Language

I love language. Playing with words is too much fun! I hope you enjoy this little romp…

English language nouns delicious
Mixed with verbs to savor
Adjectives add a salty flavor
Are a diet filling and nutritious

Around the tongue and past the lips
I roll words wondrous rare
Enjoying taste and texture fair
Never enlarging my hips

The language French too rich
With vowels in multiple union
Consonants refused communion
Leave a taste of tar and pitch

Spanish a rhyming lingo
When rolling Rs are hot
Speech is like a pepper pot
Though I speak it like a gringo

The speech of peoples far away
Sound striking strange to hear
An acquired taste for mouth and ear
With pleasing flavor and bouquet

The joy of American English preached
The comfort of words most common
The privilege of the hegemon
English not yet impeached

A little poem using enclosed or envelope rhyme (ABBA, CDDC, EFFE, etc.). Just a little bit of fun with words. Although I would love to be able to speak and understand any foreign language I’m very deficient. I can remember just a tiny shred of Russian and a little Latin as well but that’s as far as I can go….

Looking at Paris

Yellow sunset over Paris
Ferris wheel obscures Polaris
City spins below
Glow of lights on snow
Love spins slow
I know this

This is my entry for the the Skeptic’s Kaddish W3 Poet of the Week Prompt by Melissa Lemay – to write a poem in any form using one of 2 Marc Chagall paintings as inspiration and incorporating the colors into the poem. I chose the above picture and used the Welsh form of the Clogyrnach. That is a rhyming and syllabic form of a 6 line stanza with a syllable count of 8/8/5/5/3/3 coupled with a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/b/b/a. I was feeling a little rambunctious and added some additional rhymes. (Can you find them?)

Looking at GWXIX

It was an adventure. Saintvi volunteered that we drive her van (mostly because she hates the tiny cramped backseat of Sparky’s Honda Fit). She spent the night before at our house and then we all loaded into her van and were on the way. It wasn’t as early as Sparky wanted nor as late as saintvi preferred. We geocached our way south. Racking up some massive numbers from Adventure Labs in Casey, IL and some new caches that were part of a GeoTour that was connected to GeoWoodstock (GW). Although I was feeling better, I wasn’t 100% as I wasn’t sleeping due to the coughing from the bronchitis. We took our time and grabbed at least 30 caches. The next day we got 27 traditional caches and at least 30 Adventure lab caches! We were very tired by the end of the day. We did some more caches on the morning of GWXIX (GeoWoodstock nineteen) including getting a ton of different icons (which are categories of caches) to attempt to be “well-rounded cachers”. We started with an event – Breakfast with the Mommas.





Then we grabbed a traditional cache. We headed south and got a Werigo (after 2 tries). It was on to an earth cache that brought us closer to GWXIX.





Our next stop was a virtual cache. Then it was a quick stop to sign the sign and get the Mega icon.





We tarried a bit and managed an Adventure Lab. Next was the GPS Maze to escape the heat and score another icon too!

After grabbing a bite to eat we were off to gather a Letterbox hybrid followed by a Puzzle cache which saintvi was very happy to have noodled out on her own (and I was only too happy to let her)!

Which only left the Multi cache (with multiple stages). We were able to get it all done! Eleven icons in one day! Woot!
We capped the day with the last event – Midnight Madness where we traded pathtags and talked to lots of really interesting cachers. I was just a tiny bit bummed that Patti wasn’t able to attend afterall. She missed out on some fun times! Then it was Sunday and we took a little bit of a leisurely drive back north. Yes, we stopped to get some geocaches and managed to get through Indianapolis while the Indy 500 was still being run (so avoided major traffic). We were able to get home by 5:00 PM – exhausted but very pleased with ourselves and nearly an additional 200 caches under our belts!

Looking for a Paintbrush

In my photo pot I mentioned the “Hawaiian paintbrush” and I promised to write a little bit more about it and include a couple photos. The screwpine produces a pineapple shaped fruit that is listed as “edible”. Most Hawaiians don’t eat the screwpine fruit – the sweet fresh fruit tips were only eaten as famine food by the early Hawaiians. Children would break open the mature keys (the drupes) and eat the nut-like centers. The Hawaiian word for the screwpine is Hala or Pū hala and is sometimes referred to as Pandan. This is because the plant is from the Pandanus family including Pandanus fatuhivaensis, Pandanus filiciatilis, and 7 others. The tree comes as a male and female, with the female producing the fruit and the male hala producing a highly fragrant and attractive floral display. Hala is one of the classic picturesque coastal trees of the South Pacific. Hala have thick aerial roots known as ulehala. The early Hawaiians used hala extensively and planted them near houses.
It was used medicinally as a laxative, to treat colds, chest pains, low energy, urinary tract infections, and red eyes. A mixture with sugar cane and other plants was used as a tonic for mothers weakened by childbirth. It is said to be rich in vitamin B.

The fragrant male hala flowers were made into beautiful lei. The wood was used for house construction, canoe rollers, and occasionally for bowls. Wood centers of branches were hollowed out and used for pipes to channel water from one taro pond to another. Where it was abundant the leaves were used for thatch on roofs. The soft aerial roots were used as cordage. The leaves were used in plaiting pillows, mats and mattresses. The Hawaiians also plaited the leaves for hats, house ceilings, canoe sails, baskets, sandals for walking on rough lava, and fans to cool themselves.

The dried keys were also used as brushes for stenciling and for perfuming kapa (bark cloth). And this is where the paintbrush comes from.

Or tour driver “cousin Kimo” suggested we could pick up a couple if we were interested. I was very interested and grabbed two thinking I’d give them as a gift to my artist friends. Now I’m feeling greedy and want to keep them and try them out! They are about 2.5 inches long and the base is about the diameter of a quarter. Online someone on Etsy is selling them saying they are perfect for toddler hands.

Looking to Relax

On David’s blog, the Skeptic’s Kaddish, he hosts this week’s poet of the week, Suzette Benjamin. Her challenge is to write a Haiku or Tanka on the theme of “a favorite way to relax/unwind”. I used to love the Haiku. I used to write Haiku. But the funny thing was that the more I wrote and learned the less satisfied I was with my results. So I stopped writing them. I had been playing around with the Haiku again. Then this prompt. I took it as a sign that it was time to give Haiku another shot.

Pull tedium’s thread
Unravel the mind and heart
Breathe in love’s perfume

And because it is how I roll, a little explanation: When I’m really stressed and need to unwind I like to do a little visualization. I imagine the worry is a knitted sweater. And I find the thread and just pull. I also wind the yarn into a ball and then toss it away. To finish my “unwinding” I find Sparky and get my hug quota. I can smell love. I can hear the words “I love you” in each heart beat. Yep. That’s my relaxation.

Looking Excited

I’m so excited! It is a race. Will I be healthy enough to go to GeoWoodstock??? Sparky is finalizing our plans for attending this year’s GeoWoodstock! We registered to get our packets (Name tags, t-shirts, pathtag, geocoin, and a little more swag) and made our hotel reservations ages ago. Now it is all about packing and making sure we’ve loaded all the geocache coordinates. I’m looking forward to traveling with saintvi and likely meeting up with some other geocachers. I’m especially hopeful that I can meet a fellow blogger and geocacher Patti Aliventi!

The other activity that was going on was the search for some furniture for son#1. He was still looking for a bigger dresser. We went to several estate sales and a couple garage sales hoping to find one that fits his criteria. We hadn’t had any luck until just before the vacation. He wanted one in the same style as his bed (1930’s parquet veneer), having at least 5 drawers (a “high-boy”), and must not exceed 4′ long. And of course, his price range is $120 or less. I’m pleased to say that our search for his other furniture needs have been successful. His desk (he allotted $150) was found for $20 and it is a massive solid cherry affair with tooled leather on the top and a big heavy glass cover to protect it. He wanted a work table for next to his computer at a maximum cost of $75 that I was able to find for $2.50. On a whim we detoured to an estate sale and managed a score – a dresser that fits all of his criteria for only $25! We cleaned it up and it looks great!

We are also planning a trip to visit the maritime provinces of Canada. Saintvi will come too and it will likely take a good 3 weeks. I’m hoping we can get all our ducks in a row as Sparky wants to take this trip in July! So much to do and so little time! That trip will involve passports and vaccinations and COVID testing (though I’m hoping by the time we actually arrive it won’t be as much of an issue).

And on top of that, I’m wondering what son#2 has up his sleeve. It will be 1 year that he and the GF have been dating as of June 25th. Will he “put a ring on it”? Will he wait until we get back from the trip or will it all go down while we are out of the country? Such excitement in my future! What are you excited about??

Looking for the Hum

The living
Hear it, feel it
The hum electric
Transfer from heart to skin
Universal vibration
Conduction through touch and through sound
Some call it love others name it lust
Primal imperative, a new life formed

Our crabapple tree in the front yard has finally leafed out. The little red tinged leaves have expanded to an acceptable size to entice the tree frogs to take up residence again this spring. I love their constant chorus as they trill their love songs. Each evening as the sun sets, the wooing begins. They drown out the chirps of crickets, overpower the fading sparrow tunes, and even the lone cicada is silenced. The air is alive with the blended frequencies of each male frog making his case for love. As they take a breath, the females send out their tentative responses. By the time I’m in bed their songs have faded as they pair up. Only the forlorn solo voice of the unmated remains. A sad tune but now the only sound vibrating through the night time hours.

And if you are wondering, this is an Etheree. That is a syllabic form of 10 lines. The first line is one syllable and each line following adds a syllable until you conclude with a 10 syllable line.

Looking Tumultuous

This is my W3 poetry prompt entry for this week. The Poet of the Week, Punam, has challenged us to write an acrostic poem using one of the 5 words provided. I chose Tumult, as that has been a close companion for me this week. Between the thunderous coughing, the sudden gushing of liquid from my nose, and my seeping eyes all the world is in tumult! I was able to get an appointment at the “Furi” (pronounced Fury not furry) clinic. The good news is that I have antibiotics for the sinus infection and bilateral “pink eye”. The bad news is that I tested positive for COVID (after 2 negative tests at home). The good news is that my isolation period is over but the bad news is that the window for antiviral treatment has closed…

Try to ignore the rumbling thunder
Under dark clouds split asunder
Make no mistake the rain a pattern soars
Uproar to punctuate need to shelter indoors
Like lightning spiders in sudden spike
Thunderstrike we clutch each other

And since I wasn’t suffering enough, I did a little playing around with the rhyme so that it is reflected at the end of one line and the beginning and end of the next… and no it isn’t perfected but it was fun…