Looking Greenish

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. In the past it was a day of politics, green beer, hardboiled eggs, and large gatherings. Since COVID restrictions are still in effect, any gatherings will be of limited attendance and physically distanced. Being on a college campus, I realize that tradition is not so easily dismissed. There will be private gatherings. There will be groups that go to the local watering holes. And yes, there will be the consumption of green beer. I suspect that the beer will be cheap and plentiful since it is not likely to have a long shelf life…

Entering the “way back machine” transports me to 1978 and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. I was never a drinker. I still don’t drink and have a very low tolerance for alcoholic beverages. One of my dorm-mates and several of her friends invited me to join them for some green beer at the local watering hole. I was not 21 yet. I was a color-in-the-lines kind of kid so I declined. They insisted I come anyway. The place was packed. It was so busy that we literally couldn’t get inside. So we hung out in the little area to the side where they had set up some chairs and tables. A waiter came over and asked us what we wanted. My friends announced, “Green beer for everyone.” Without batting an eye soon there were 6 frothy mugs of green beer on the table. Five of them were gulped down in an instant. My mug sat there. Finally my friend asked if I was going to drink it. I told her I didn’t like beer. She wanted to know if she could have it; and she drained that mug in nearly a single chug. The “designated driver” movement hadn’t been started yet but that soon became my standard role. I was the friend who made sure everyone stayed together and kept any from wandering into the street or walking into signs…

I swore off drinking green beer
But they pushed the pints ever near
Loud I raised my voice
That drink’s not my choice
To which they shouted hear, hear!

A little limerick in honor of the day. I hate writing limericks, and drinking beer. But I did wear green today!

Looking Fit

There once was a girl wore a Fitbit
She had to walk, run and stay fit
She ran around
And never sat down
Finally got so tired she quit

It has been maybe 3 years since I got my Fitbit. It is a Charge 2 and it has seen better days. I received a set of bands for it from my husband – they are in every color of the rainbow. Theoretically I can change the band to match my outfit daily. However my sister got wind of my decrepit Fitbit and gifted me with a new one for Christmas!! It is not a Charge 2 but a Flex so the watch bands are completely different. Now here’s the thing, I am still wearing the old one because I am frugal. I figure I’ll wear this one until it completely dies. So the other is sitting next to the computer staring at me and making me feel guilty.

The other issue is getting in my steps. I am not a fan of exercise for the sake of exercise. I want my exercise to be productive. Walking on a treadmill is easy but I think of all the other things I could be doing instead of walking in place. So my house is really clean. I’ve branched out and I’ve been cleaning other things… But there is only so much clean that can be done before I become my Aunt Regina and start taking pictures out of the frames to wash the frames and then wash the paintings or wall hangings or needlework pictures!! So I’ve been walking around the neighborhood. But even that after a few laps get old. I’m feeling like a slave to the Fitbit. It buzzes and “reminds” me that I need to get 250 steps per hour. The nagging is starting to get on my nerves. In my defense I’ve met my step goal every day with the exception of Mother’s Day and the one day where I had a huge sinus headache that kept me recumbent for 8 hours during the day.

The stair goal is only 10 flights and I find that I’m getting that easily every. single. day. Even walking around the neighborhood nets me at least 4 flights of stairs. I’ve been wondering how that happens since I live in the flat lands of Indiana. But there is a little slope and if I do 3 laps I get 4 stairs. The research indicates that one set of stairs is equal to 10 feet. I guess mt neighborhood isn’t as flat as I thought. We do have the hills in the newer part of the neighborhood but walking up that hill is killer on foot and death defying in a car during icy weather.

The bottom line is I’m going to change my band from the dark purple to a more summery color – possibly turquoise. And I’m going to go for another walk to make it stop nagging me. When it dies I’ll switch to the flex and see if I can set the parameters to not remind me. Until then I’m staying active and fit, until I sit, and rest a bit.

Looking at Disasters Big and Small

I’ve forgotten the words to my song
Everything that can has gone wrong
All my bridges are burned
Instead of right I left turned
And April was thirty days too long!

So here we go. I decided to torture myself and attempt another limerick. Because that is my penance for saying things out loud that I shouldn’t have said thus jinxing myself and the rest of the world. My friend saintvi was asking if she had jinxed herself by greeting the last few new years with relief since “the new one couldn’t be as bad as the past one”. She even asked a philosopher friend that if she stopped being optimistic, would that ensure that the new year would actually be better? Or was she still jinxing herself by being pessimistically optimistic? I understand her quandary. Even if the current POTUS refuses to entertain any hint of responsibility for the state of the country, I feel partially that the mess is my fault. There. I said it. Why is it my fault? Well, I uttered several things. And just like the guy who decides to have a picnic and then washes his car in July – my picnic too was rained out.

1. When the lock down began I said, “This won’t be so bad.”
2. After 4 weeks I muttered, “We are all okay.”
3. After 6 weeks I whispered, “Nothing bad has happened.”
4. After 10 weeks I groaned, “We will all get through this.”

So that set into motion a series of unfortunate events.
1. My job was shut down with the rest of the university.
2. Sparky’s job disappeared (officially furloughed).
3. Son#1 (an essential worker) started working more hours with no masks.
4. A friend had her car die – because it hadn’t been driven and had to have a new battery.
5. My very very dear friend broke herself.
6. GeoWoodstock was cancelled until 2021.
7. We are supposed to make 10 credit card transactions per month per card (2 cards). This is proving to be really hard. And if it comes down to doing a McDonald’s drive through for a $1 ice cream 10 times – so be it!
8. It snowed in April – three times and once in MAY!

I spoke to another friend who has been working from home. She is in panic mode. Her children were missing their friends and school. They are really smart kids and were breezing through the school work in an hour leaving the rest of the day to putter. She had them doing chores on the farm and helping with some interior projects but there are only so many things to be done. And now that school is over there are no summer activities that they had been looking forward to. On top of crabby bored kids, she is writing grants and trying to figure out a new budget for her facility. The new rules require her staff to wear additional PPE which of course costs money which isn’t in the budget. But not to worry – she has to trim 20% off the budget! She is about ready to do some major hair pulling.

Another friend is a HS teacher. Her class was a mostly hands-on course. There was no way they could do all the work remotely. She’s struggled with the distance learning since technology isn’t her friend. But she got it done. At a cost to her sanity.

And on top of everything, the former secretary has been diagnosed with cancer. She had an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic and they are doing absolutely nothing. The tumors are growing slowly but they have not been able to identify the primary tumor so haven’t scheduled any surgery or radiation or chemotherapy. She has had bronchitis and pneumonia in the last month. She is afraid that if she gets COVID-19 she will die. I’m afraid of the same thing for her.

Even though some restrictions have been lifted, I don’t think it is safe to mingle with people. Not yet at least! We are still practicing social distancing and it is so very hard! I hope May is better than April!  I mean, it is almost the end of May and that is another Month closer to 2021. 

Looking in the Pantry

Because we were staying away from people and places where people congregated, Sparky and I were eating out of the “emergency stores” and not replacing items. Well, I went to the basement to find a couple cans of soup and some rice and beans. It was a shock and surprise to find a hole in the rice bag. Not only was there a hole but the contents had spilled onto the shelf and the floor. At first I thought I had caught the bag on a sharp edge. But no, there was additional evidence of a mouse… As some of you may know, I work with mice. I like them. They are valuable partners in the search for cures to many of this worlds ills. That said, I cannot abide a mouse running amok in my house. I thought that caulking the crack around the dryer vent and some strategically placed traps had solved the problem of rodent interlopers. I was mistaken. So all out war was declared. I can say with confidence that the whole field mouse family has been eradicated. It took a couple days but I eliminated the whole lot of them.

For NPM Super Poetry Challenge #8 Use the following words in a poem – mice, rice, nice. I decided to write a limerick. I suppose I felt a little guilty about the mice and thought I should suffer a little (because I truly dislike writing limericks).

I went to the pantry for rice
What I saw wasn’t at all very nice
The bag was chewed through
The grains scattered like dew
It was obvious I was infested with mice!

Looking at a Challenge

I was hoping that 2020 would be the year that just flowed. You know the feeling – when everything just falls into place and the living is easy. I was lulled into a false sense of calm and then all holy heck broke loose. I somehow jinxed myself and the whole family when I put up the post on gratitude. Since that post I’ve had several events challenge my sanity.
1. The master bathroom toilet started to malfunction. It wouldn’t stop running. At first it was just a little trickle then I had to turn the water off to the toilet.
2. The front door lock has become defective. You can lock it from the outside but to unlock it from the inside is nearly impossible. And it just kept getting worse.
3. I found some evidence that we have become the winter residence for some mice. I love mice but they have no business in my basement! Sparky wanted to put out some snap traps but I suggested that we caulk the opening around the dryer vent and put out some humane traps. I won. The mice are being relocated slowly but surely. Until that time all bread is in the refrigerator.
4. I said that I was going to get more involved in church activities. Boy was I unprepared! So we were part of a trivia team last Sat. I’m being urged to join the Rosary Society but I think I’d be the youngest member!
5. Among the family we have 3 health issues (none life threatening but worrisome nonetheless), 2 work issues (that will no doubt be resolved easily), and a couple house issues that are just annoying…

I’ve got my fingers crossed that this is just a hiccup and I will have smooth sailing real soon.

I try to keep everything level
But that’s not in the plans of the devil
He rocks the boat
And gets my goat
And turns my serious to revel

Looking to Wrap Things Up

Here we are looking at the 3rd Sunday in Advent with only 12 days until Christmas and 18 days from the new year. Time seems to be rushing past me like the air past an open car window. I have tried to slow down and enjoy the season. That said, I still have gifts that I need to wrap. In years past I’ve wrapped using newspaper (all recycled and recyclable), tissue paper, gift bags, and the traditional printed gift wrap. This year I was toying with the idea of not wrapping anything at all. When I mentioned this to the family I was met with blank stares. After a long silent pause while my words sunk in, the consensus was that unwrapping the gifts is part of the fun. So I still have gifts that I need to wrap. I’m planning on wrapping a couple gifts in a devious and devilish manner that may stymie the recipient and require additional tools to open. I considered doing the Saran wrap gift ball with various items trapped within the giant ball of plastic. Then I discarded the idea because that would be a huge waste of the cling wrap and I’m too frugal for that. I have several gifts that must be shipped but I’m not too concerned as they will get to where they are going when they get there.

The end of the year also heralds a multitude of holiday parties. So far I’ve attended a University Retirees Holiday Luncheon where we (Sparky was invited as my spouse) were gifted with certificates for groceries. I went to a lab Christmas luncheon at a ritzy restaurant (no plus ones allowed), a department party just this last Monday where I was included because I am working with one of the researchers. We have a Christmas dinner on the 19th and a choir party on the 22nd and the traditional Christmas Eve breakfast (on the 24th). Believe it or not this has been a real slow down from years past. At least there aren’t any work gift exchanges that I need to buy for!

Through boxes and boxes she sifts
And each name tag she carefully lifts
Peels back the paper
A before Christmas caper
To discover what’s inside her gifts

A little limerick (I really don’t like to write them but sometimes it is like breaking wind and they just oops out) for your anticipatory pleasure. My father was notoriously good at guessing what was inside his presents. I suspect it came from years of hefting boxes and peeking into gifts so that he had honed his skill to the point of clairvoyance! One year my sisters and I went to the mall to purchase a gift. We were so devious (or so we thought). We even had it wrapped at the store. He came to pick us up and when he placed the beautifully wrapped box into the trunk he turned and thanked us for the new bed comforter! We were so dumbfounded that he had guessed!

Looking to Build that Thirst

There are days when I purposely restrict my liquid intake due to job demands. There are times when I know I’ll be involved in a surgery or a study with very close time points that will limit my opportunity to run to the bathroom. Usually on those occasions I try to avoid spicy or salty foods. Well, it just so happened that there was a confluence of events that resulted in me consuming pizza. I’m not sure what was different with this particular pizza but by 2:00 PM I was dying of thirst! I needed water in the worst way and I couldn’t have any because I was doing tours and training. The training was over at 4:45 pm and I rushed to get my stash of Propel (Strawberry Kiwi) only to find it missing! I looked everywhere and finally found the empties in the recycling bin. I then resorted to my secret back-up bottle in my office only to discover that it too was gone. This forced me to open a tiny emergency only bottle of water. I gulped it down and was still thirsty. I refilled it at the water cooler and slammed another one back. Still thirsty. Refilled it twice more. I sloshed as I walked. And I was still thirsty. I changed clothes and realized I had a dollar in my purse (I hardly ever carry cash). I fought the urge to spend that crisp bill in the vending machine. As I exited past the Dasani/Coke machine I succumbed to the thirst and purchased a Strawberry flavored bottle of water. It was cold and I couldn’t help it – I opened it on my way to the car. I had decided I would just sip on it. It tasted good and it was so cold and refreshing – I drank it all. My thirst was waning. Finally I thought with glee. But by the time I had exited the parking lot I could tell that I had exceeded the quantity of water my body really needed. So without any prompting on my part, my kidneys started to excrete urine. By the time I pulled into the driveway at home my bladder felt like it was the size of a beach ball. I had to go so badly I could barely see straight to get the door unlocked! I’ve learned my lesson – 7 cups of water in 1 hour is going to get you in trouble!!

I was so thirsty you see
I craved cold water not tea
I drank like a fish
And now I just wish
I could find a place to go pee!

Because the topic was just screaming for a limerick!

Looking for a Limerick

Happy April Fool’s Day! In that vein I’d like to start National Poetry Month with some fun. My dear friend Saintvi reminded me that in years past I issued a National Poetry Month writing challenge. She indicated that she would play along if I were to throw down the gauntlet. So here it is:
1. Write a limerick.
2. Write a poem about the changing seasons
3. Write a poem about angels (any kind).
4. Write a concrete poem.
5. Write a poem about signs of spring.
6. Write a poem about dogs.
7. Write a Quatern.
8. Write 4 haiku about favorite foods.
9. Write an acrostic poem using an emotion.
10. Write a Blitz poem.
11. Channel your inner Doctor (Seuss, Who, Frankenstein, Doolittle, Zhivago, McCoy… your choice)
12. Write a list poem about clothes
13. Write a poem using the words: crow, sparrow, snow, chapeau, below, ginkgo, shallow, and solo.

The rules are simple. Write 13 poems in 30 days (that comes out to a poem each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the month of April). Once written you merely post on your blog and then comment to let me know you have one up. I’m not going to get all fancy and have you send me links or write a separate post with all the participants listed and linked. This is for fun and to stretch your poetical muscles. Who knows you just might enjoy it… You can write them in any order but I’m going to do them as listed.

Who doesn’t enjoy a limerick? But what exactly is a limerick (other than annoying and tedious to write – IMHO)? The limerick falls into the broad category of Cinquain poems. Cinquains are any stanza or short poem of 5 lines. This category includes the Sicilian Cinquain, English Cinquain, Quintella (a Spanish form), Crapsey Cinquain, Didactic Cinquain and last but not least, the Limerick. The limerick is 5 lines (of course) with the 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyming and having 3 stressed syllables and the 3rd and 4th lines rhyming with 2 stressed syllables. The limerick is historically somewhat, um, coarse. They tend to humorous in a ribald sort of way or often poke fun at human foibles. I love a good syllabic poem and rhymes are my jam but I loath having to figure out meter and to count stressed syllables. That said I can write them and have (but I didn’t enjoy it). Here’s some for your reading pleasure – I hope you enjoy reading them more than I did writing!

I want a ribbon to wear
Proud of the gray in my hair
I earned every strand
My color’s not canned
They’re jealous and that’s why they stare

Parents in kindness name
Causing anger and pleasure the same
When to the world you are Art
But your peers call you Fart
And you are the butt of their game

The dog days of summer arrive
Panting we try to survive
It only gets hotter
With cool drinks of water
Our flagging spirits revive

Looking White

I would make a good vampire. I shy away from direct sunlight. It burns me. I am an expert at drawing blood and I enjoy it. And I’m very pale – a deathly white color in the winter. I blend into the scenery in a snowy landscape. I wear sandals and people sneer at me and comment, “Why are you wearing white socks with sandals? It isn’t fashionable!” Sadly I am not wearing socks. It is just my normal skin tone. Being as it is summer, I broke out the white Capri pants. I put on a sleeveless tunic top and stepped into the day. As I trudged across the parking lot headed into work, a coworker intercepted me. She was looking concerned. She had thought I wasn’t wearing any pants! Of course as she got closer she realized I did have clothes on but felt compelled to let me know that from a distance I appeared to be wearing a micro-mini dress. I laughed but it made me think. Is there such a thing as being too pale? As a youth I had fervently hoped that my freckles would run together and make me look tanned. I tried, I really did, to tan. I slathered myself in suntan oil and stretched out on a towel with my best friend. She got a tan and I got burned. Fried bacon crispy burnt. I have always questioned the health benefits of tanning beds and I have been vindicated with all the dire warnings of skin cancer risks.

I think I was born too late. If I’d been born in the early 1800s, I’d have been considered a real beauty. I wouldn’t have had to take arsenic to become pale. I would have been right in style wearing a wide brimmed hat and long sleeves in the summer. Alas I was born into a time when being tan indicates health and vigor instead of shouting that you are poor and a common laborer. So to recap I have the ability to turn 2 colors, red and white. I suppose that’s pretty talented. So here is a limerick (not my favorite form but I’m forcing myself to stretch).

I’m as pale as they come
Until booze I’ve had some
Then I turn red
Pass out like I’m dead
And wake feeling real dumb

Looking at Humidity and Heat

The dog days of summer arrive
Panting we try to survive
It only gets hotter
With cool drinks of water
Our flagging spirits revive

I really don’t enjoy the limerick. This one however just kind of birthed itself from my brain. It happened and I couldn’t stop it and yes, it was unpleasant. Such is life. I am trying to stay cool both literally and figuratively. August is the month that prepares us Northern Indiana residents for winter. It is so humid and miserable that we have emotional spasms and blurt out heretical words “I wish it was winter”. This causes us to immediately clap a hand over our mouths and mutter phrases such as “I didn’t mean it!” and “I’m sorry! I love summer!” But it is too late. In retribution August gives us the heat treatment. We have temperatures that hover in the 90s with humidity reaching 90% but it doesn’t rain often. When it does rain it isn’t a cool rain. No, it is tepid rain that fails to refresh. It is the same as that first drink from the garden hose that is the water that has been boiled in the sun. By the end of the month we are ready for the gradual slide into winter.