April 16, 2014

  • Youth

    I worked sporadically all day yesterday on a rhyming poem for today’s NPM Scavenger Hunt topic – #16 Youth. This is what I had by late last night:


    Old folks hold it to be fact,
    A universal truth,
    That money, time, and being young
    Are wasted on our youth.

    The younger generation, though,
    Believe, if truth be told,
    That all they are, and love, and do
    Are wasted on the old.

    I wasn’t very happy with it, or maybe I was just tired, feeling ill, and not in such a flippant mood anymore. So I wrote a one sentence poem in a more pensive mood.

    When we say youth is wasted on the young,
    it is just our wistful acknowledgment
    that youth is the time we
    dreamed wildly,
    loved passionately,
    acted impulsively,
    hoped irrationally,
    and lived life fully.

    If I wrote two poems for today, does that mean I can skip a future topic? I have no idea what to write about steeples. Oh well, I guess I’m still young enough to hope irrationally that something will come to me at the last moment.

April 15, 2014

  • Wind Chimes


    We have a set of wind chimes on the front of the house. We’ve had them for so many years I can’t remember when we got them; I think perhaps during the Navy years. I love those wind chimes. We bring them inside when winter winds begin howling around the corner of the house, banging the wind chimes against the siding. They hang in the corner of the living room door frame all winter and I never realize how much I miss the sweet, gentle chimes until my husband hangs them out again in the spring. One spring day in 2004, a violent storm sped across the lake so quickly we had very little warning. The wind was gusting around 90 mph and noon was as dark as midnight. Some trees fell on our house and one of them broke my beloved wind chimes. My sweet husband took a log from that tree, used some of the wood to rebuild the broken pieces and restrung the chimes. In the years since, he’s had to replace his rebuilt parts a few times. He just cuts another piece off the log, drills some holes in it and strings the chimes through it. I am listening to the sweet music of my wind chimes as I type this. A bird is singing outside the window behind me. Boo is snoozing beside me. It’s a peaceful morning.

    This is my entry for the NPM Scavenger Hunt using prompt #15 Wind Chimes. The poem is a list of names for different types of wind, forming an Acrostic poem. The Acrostic poem is a variant of an Abecedarian poem. My muse has left me; this was an act of desperation. I’ll try to do better next time.

April 14, 2014

  • Cabin Fever

    My very first time, I got the infection,
    Even though I was using protection.
    I booked a hotel room and went with a buddy;
    We left in the evening when things might get naughty.
    My friend saw the symptoms; I didn’t believe her,
    But soon we were both sick with cabin fever.
    Our fevered brains saw things that couldn’t be true:
    The smoke from the fire turning yellow, then blue.

    CP smoke
    Gnomes in the forest, wild women with axes
    Chasing men on whose shoulders grew heads of jackasses.

    CP axe
    A naked man howling outside at the moon.
    And everyone holding a colored balloon.

    CP balloons
    I thought I was dreaming, but pictures don’t lie,
    So learn from the knowledge of my friend and I;
    If you want to avoid the cabin infection,
    Abstinence is your only protection.

    CP group

    The only method that is 100 percent effective in preventing cabin fever is the complete avoidance of cabins, or cabstinence. A couple of years ago, murisopsis and I went to a party at a cabin in an isolated area of New York state. Everything in the poem might have happened, or one thing in the poem might be a lie, or maybe we hallucinated everything. I think only one person knows the whole truth. Had we been practicing cabstinence, we would not be haunted by visions of gnomes and donkeys and axes and psychedelic smoke. We might even be normal, but I admit that’s a bit of a stretch.

    This is today’s entry for murisopsis’s NPM Scavenger Hunt, using prompt #14 Cabin Fever.

April 13, 2014

  • A Palm Sunday Tale

    I usually get to church a little bit late on purpose. My goal is to avoid the “passing the word of peace” part of the service because I can no longer tolerate having my right hand shook. This morning being Palm Sunday (and 20 new people joining the church I later discovered), the parking lot was nearly full and I was afraid Brett would be crowded down the pew and lose the spot he was saving for me, so I sucked it up and went in on time.

    The choir and two bell choirs were lining up in the narthex in their red robes as I was receiving my bulletin and palm frond. I spotted Krysten in the crowd and waved to her. She motioned me over, enveloped me in a hug and said, “Don’t do anything funny with that palm frond,” or something like that. I can’t remember her exact words, but her meaning was perfectly clear. “Do not traumatize a little old lady and disrupt the service this time.” Leave it to your adult kid to listen to and remember the story of one of your most embarrassing moments ever. Leave it to me to write about it on the internet.

    It actually began years before the Palm Sunday incident. When I was a kid back in the 60s, you could visit a friend or relative’s school as a guest. It was actually a lot of fun; you shadowed your friend or relative all day, ate lunch with them and played with them at recess, but you didn’t have to do any of the schoolwork unless you wanted to for some insane reason. School in Denver must have gotten out for the summer earlier than my cousin Lynda’s parochial school in the tiny town of Olpe, Kansas. We were visiting and I was invited to go to school with Lynda. I would have been in 2nd or 3rd grade and Lynda was a year behind me. I already knew all the stuff she was learning and was having a wonderful time until something unexpected happened… something I hadn’t been warned about and had no idea how to handle. The children went to mass in the afternoon. Just to clarify, I wasn’t Catholic and had never been to mass. Lynda just shrugged and said, “Follow me and do what I do.”

    So I filed in with the rest of Lynda’s class and when Lynda genuflected, I genuflected. When Lynda crossed herself, I crossed myself. When Lynda knelt on the folding prayer kneeler attached to the old wooden pew in front of us, I knelt. And when Lynda followed her classmates up to receive Communion, I followed Lynda. She stuck her tongue out to receive the wafer, so I stuck my tongue out. She sipped from the chalice, so I sipped from the chalice. The priest and altar boys all gave me puzzled looks, but I brazened it out and Lynda never said a word about it, so I figured I’d done okay.

    Fast forward a decade or so and Lynda and I were 18 and 19 respectively, rooming together in our very first apartment in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Lynda had been feeling guilty about not attending mass since she’d moved to Arkansas so we decided to drive up to Kansas and surprise her family on Palm Sunday weekend. I attended mass with the family, but this time I was much smarter and knew better than to do what everyone else was doing. I was determined to sit respectfully, bow my head during the prayers, and not pretend to be Catholic.

    When we arrived at the church, we were each handed a palm frond. Not the puny little thing the protestant churches handed out, but a full sized piece of a palm tree. I accepted my frond with grace and dignity, telling myself that if there was some ritual involving the palm fronds, I would sit respectfully and not take part. We sat in a pew at about the middle of the sanctuary and I stood my frond on its stem end, leaning against the pew in front of us. The mass seemed to go on forever. When the congregation stood and spoke, I stood quietly. When they sang, I sang along if I knew the hymn. When they knelt, I sat in the pew and bowed my head. It was all going well until communion. Why oh why is Catholic communion always my downfall?

    The congregation went forward one row of pews at a time, received communion and circled around to return to their pews. The folks sitting in the row of pews about four ahead of us were just getting back to their seats and hadn’t sat down yet when somebody folded the kneeling bench up under the pew in front of us, in preparation for our row filing out to go forward. My palm frond, as you recall, was leaning against the back of the pew… inside the kneeler. When the kneeler was folded up, my palm shot forward like a bullet out of a gun with enough velocity to carry it under four pews and up the black dress of a tiny little old German lady. She jumped and squealed and everybody in the back half of the sanctuary burst out laughing. In the middle of communion. The priest shot a stern look to the back of the room and the laughter turned to quiet giggling. I was beet-red with humiliation, thinking I couldn’t possibly, ever in the rest of my life, have a worse moment than that. And that’s when Lynda leaned toward me with tears of suppressed laughter in her eyes and whispered, “That was my Grandma Redeker.”

    And that was the last time I went to mass with Lynda.


  • Hijinks

    Pikes Peak.jpg

    High atop Pikes Peak
    Words uttered in unison
    You owe me a Coke

April 12, 2014

  • Meatloaf

    My meatloaf has a seCret ingredient.
    It’s not wine.
    Adding wine nearly bUrned down my apartment.
    The second time, I leaRned my lesson.
    No wine.
    My meatloaf’s secRet ingredient
    Is most definitelY
    Not wine.


    This is today’s entry for the NPM Scavenger Hunt using prompt #12 Meatloaf. I’m a fast learner. It only took two times nearly burning down the apartment complex for me to figure out that wine in the meatloaf is not a good idea.

    I am stuck on tomorrow’s topic. I may have to skip ahead and come back to that one when I’m feeling inspired.

April 11, 2014

  • Snowbirds



    Today’s entry in murisopsis’s NPM Scavenger Hunt using prompt #11 Snowbirds.  For those of you keeping score, I an 11/11 and everyday I post a poem I’m setting a new personal record. Woohoo!

April 10, 2014

  • Encouragement

    Feel the rush
    Push! Push!
    Birthing pain

    Gift from above
    Birthing pain
    Awash in love

    Gift from above
    New life springs
    Awash in love
    Angels sing

    New life springs
    Feel the rush
    Angels sing
    Push! Push!



    Spring has finally sprung in Michigan. The massive piles of snow are not all melted yet, but they are shrinking. A few trees have gotten that fuzzy look as leaves and blossoms tentatively peer out at the April sky. And most encouraging of all, daffodils are beginning to push out of the earth and crocuses are actually blooming! Finally, some color! It was a long and painful labor. At times I felt like standing over the spots where I knew crocus bulbs were buried under a few inches of soil and a few feet of snow and shout encouragement at them. “Push! Push! You can do it, Mother Earth!”

    This is today’s offering, using prompt #10 Encouragement, for the NPM Scavenger Hunt hosted by murisopsis. I have ripped a page from murisopsis’ book of poetry forms and attempted to express the encouragement I feel in a pantoum. If I have understood the rules correctly, each stanza is four lines with a rhyming pattern of ABAB. Each stanza uses lines 2 & 4 of the preceding stanza for lines 1 & 3. The final stanza also uses lines 1 & 3 of the first stanza for lines 2 &4. Is that about as clear as squishy spring mud?

April 9, 2014

  • Rabbit

    Rabbit picture poem

    This is my entry for today’s NPM Scavenger Hunt – #9 Rabbit. I decided to make a picture poem. As you can tell, I am no artist but I did my best to make it look somewhat rabbity. It lost some of the formatting when I copied it into the xanga editor. I thought I’d fixed it, but it fell apart again when I previewed this post. Thanks to modern technology, I found a solution. I printed the original poem, scanned it into my printer and sent it to my computer as a JPG file. I then imported it into Picasa, cropped it, uploaded it into my Xanga media files and inserted it into the post as a photo. Being creative sure is a lot of work these days.

April 8, 2014

  • Carpet

    In the shade of the epochal gnomon,
    The parlance of household chore common
    Includes sweeping and raking,
    And beating and shaking.
    The carpet was tough and so was the woman.

    I wrote this limerick late last night and it wasn’t what I wanted. I’ve been trying all day to write what I want and it’s not working out, so this is what you get for today’s NPM Scavenger Hunt entry.

    I hate vacuum cleaners. When they came out with the bagless ones, advertising, “Never pay for another bag!” I though it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. What they didn’t tell you is that you’ll pay a lot more for the filters required by the bagless vacuum cleaner and the filters will get harder and harder to find until you give up and buy a new vacuum cleaner even though the old one still works but you can’t use it without a filter and you’ve banged the living crap out of the old filter trying to pound the dust out of it by beating it on the driveway. How was that for a sentence? Not very poetic, I know.

    Thinking about all of that got me thinking about the generations of women before me and how they handled cleaning the carpets. There was my mom, who had a canister vacuum cleaner with unwieldy hoses that had to be dragged all over the house. She tripped over it once and broke her toe. When shag carpeting was all the rage, we had a carpet rake. It looked like the one on the left in the photo.

    carpet rake

    After the carpet was vacuumed, it had to be raked so it wouldn’t look tangled… or something. I’m not really entirely clear on why we raked the carpet, but we did. In a five bedroom house that was carpeted from top to bottom and in between (the staircase), vacuuming and raking the carpet was a huge chore.

    My grandmothers would have probably used a carpet sweeper.

    carpet sweeper

    It wasn’t as bulky as the canister vacuum cleaner, but it also didn’t clean the carpet as well. But oh, what an improvement it must have been for the young housewife whose mother had to roll up the carpets, drag them outside, throw them over fences, clotheslines and bushes, and whack them with a carpet beater.


    My great-grandmother was a small woman; her mother was teeny-tiny. Women back then had to be so much tougher than we are today with our wimpy little upright, bagless vacuum cleaners.

    One of my grandmothers had wooden floors in her house. The living room and her bedroom might have had carpeting; it’s been too long for me to remember. I do know there were lots of floors and a staircase that needed sweeping with a broom. I can imagine that she had neither the time nor the patience to bother with carpet and all the extra work that came with such a luxury. Besides, her broom was a multipurpose household tool. When she figured out my dad was sneaking out at night by climbing out his bedroom window and shinnying down the drainpipe, she decided to catch him in the act. Grabbing her broom, she stood outside in the shadow of the house and waited for him to appear on the roof. Until the day she died, she denied it was a shotgun in her hands. Until the day he died, Dad did not believe it was a broom. Regardless of what it was, he was scared straight and his nocturnal adventures were over, at least for a time.