Monday, 24 July 2017

Summer Vacation Blues

It's Monday, so it's time to get our fingers into some poetry again! Poetry Monday was started by Diane, then Delores jumped in, and I did too. There are a few other people contributing poems here, some regularly, some occasionally, some original, some not -- and you can, too. Leave yours in the comments or on your blog (and leave your address in the comments so we can find you).

The theme this week, as suggested by Diane, is VACATION.

What can I write about vacations? I haven't had what most people would call a vacation in years. Don't feel sorry for me, though. I work only part-time, there are quieter times at work when I can take a week or more to myself, and we no longer have children at home. So my life isn't hard by any means.

Still, sometimes all I want to do is have someone else look after the cats and be on call in case any of my elderly (or young) relatives need me, order takeout food for a whole week, and read all day except when I take a leisurely walk along our local trail, camera in hand. That is my idea of vacation. Not for me the trips to warmer places, the cruise ships, the cottage on a beach, or the city shopping. I'd be happy just to be free of responsibility for a whole week. Or two weeks, since this is my fantasy vacation ...

Even though I don't have a regular full-time job and therefore a regular vacation time, my husband does, and I understand how he -- and most working folks -- feel about their precious weeks off. They wait all year, and then vacation flies past, and before they know it, they're facing going back to work, with another entire year looming ahead of them. And for those, like my husband, who have had to change jobs from time to time, leaving them with no vacation at all in the annual cycle -- it's even harder.

That's what prompted this poem. (The title is courtesy of my dad, who would often wind up a discussion of something less than satisfactory with these words: "Oh well, it's better than a kick in the seat of the pants."

Actually, he usually substituted a short, descriptive word for "seat of the pants" that happens to be a synonym for "donkey" ...)

Better Than A Kick In The Seat Of The Pants 

Vacation ...

Is never long enough
Restful enough
Cheap enough
Sunny enough
Memorable enough --
But ...
It will have to do.

Is too long
Too tiring
Too insanity-inducing
Too depressing
And too frustrating
To bear.

Let us be thankful
For whatever vacation we get
Whenever we get it.


Not exactly a poem filled with joy, I'm realizing. But ya gotta write what moves ya.

However, the word "vacation" also brings to mind this upbeat song from my childhood. Enjoy!

(Ms. Francis doesn't look very happy in that photo, does she? I wonder if she ever had a vacation. I hope so.)


Let me ask you this: What would be your ideal vacation, if you could go right now, and if money, time, health, etc. were not a problem? I'd love to hear your answers to that, as well as any poetry you have up your sleeve for this week's Poetry Monday theme.

Some of the books I bought at the used-book fair last fall ... long since read and enjoyed. Most have gone on to new homes with other book lovers. Now I'm waiting (impatiently) for this year's book fair, which is still three months away ...

And stay tuned for Friday's post, which will be all about the Mystery Blogger Award for which baili nominated me. Thank you, baili! (baili's blog is HERE) There will be questions, there will be answers, there will be speeches made and glitter tossed in the air and cameras flashing! Well, maybe not those last things :)

May you have a restful, peaceful, vacation kind of week, even if you're not actually on vacation, my friends. Or take ten minutes for yourself, if that's all you can spare. Close your eyes and be in your happy place. Mmmmm....

Friday, 21 July 2017

Bits Of Fluff

You could be forgiven for thinking I'm about to lament the cat hair in our house again -- but, no, the bits of fluff are the random things floating around my head.

I have learned that water pooling inside the fridge is better than water pooling under the fridge, and is likely to be caused by a clogged drain. The first trick is to find the drain. Ours is located JUST out of the line of sight of any human being unless that human is down on his or her knees, praying to find the drain, and happens to look up. The next trick is to figure out what is clogging the drain: ice or bits of gunk. We still haven't figured this out yet, although I'm guessing it's ice because I keep the fridge very cold. Now that we've vacuumed five pounds of cat hair (oops! I said cat hair!) off the coils at the back, hopefully all the other problems will solve themselves. (Wishful thinking is the solution most relied upon by procrastinators and un-handypeople. Sometimes it even works. I guess we'll see.)

Technically, "musical earworms" is redundant -- the term is just "earworms" -- but I didn't want to make you think I was going to talk about earwigs or something equally shuddery. I have had an earworm for over a week now. EVERY SINGLE TIME I find myself humming (which is a lot; humming is my expression of happiness, boredom, anxiety and just about every other emotion) I am humming the SAME TUNE. It's a great tune, by talented singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, with a surprisingly intricate melody, the kind that sticks in my head until I learn it, no matter what the lyrics are, but I need to pass it on to someone else and get myself a fresh tune to hum. Here it is and don't say I didn't warn you:

And if you want the official lyric version instead, here it is:


A week is a looooooooooooooong time. Sob.

I know, I know -- I made you think I wasn't going to talk about those critters, didn't I? I lied. I used to despise earwigs. I've been pinched by them: I've had them crawl out of bed when I was crawling in; I've had them holding a parade in the basement; I've poured them out of a box along with my cereal that year they were really bad. I used to stomp on them, squish them, swat them -- whatever it took to demolish their skeevy little bodies. I'm not a violent person but try telling that to the adrenaline in my veins. But then last year I read that earwigs are good for the garden. They eat garden pests. (What? Aren't THEY THEMSELVES garden pests?) And I decided they can't help what they look like, or how they crawl so creepily, or how they like to hide inside things and jump out when the things are disturbed. I took a deep breath and determined they would get the "cup and card" treatment and be picked up and put outside, just like the spiders and ladybugs and moths are, at our house. That was fine. I remembered my vow this year, and have dutifully been picking up baby earwigs and setting them free outside. The only ones I was finding on the floor were, seriously, babies. Aw! Look at the little baby earwig! Not really cute babies, but still. Then came the day (it was inevitable, really) that I went to the cupboard to get a square of chocolate, picked up the bar and BOO!!! an earwig the size of a small lobster hurried out of the package and waved, once, awkwardly ... because he probably had his mouth full of MY chocolate ... Yeah. I tossed the rest of that bar, which represents a week of chocolate because I ration it out ... Since then I've been on High Earwig Alert. Those grown-up earwigs are frightening.

I could probably write a half a dozen posts on this topic, but I promise it will be just this one paragraph and then you won't hear about it again. We have a LOT of stuff going on in our area in the summer. It starts on Victoria Day weekend in May and keeps going until the end of August. I'm an introvert who does not like crowds, loud music, running marathons, listening to bagpipe music, or golfing, among other things, so these events do not appeal to me. Nevertheless, I wouldn't mind them taking place except that while they are on it's hard to get around town. Streets are closed off at random times and in random places. And the noise of outdoor events carries down the river to our house, filtering in through our windows (it's summer, the windows need to be open!). I am so happy when September comes and the town becomes quiet again. I feel like I am holding my breath all season and let it out when fall comes. Thank you for indulging my hermit-y rant. You are fine people.

Now that the fluff has been cleaned out, my brain is all nice and tidy :)

And since I would NEVER put a picture of an earwig on my blog, this will have to do instead:

Wishing you a nice and tidy weekend, free of bugs of all kinds. Unless you are a bug-lover, in which case -- can I interest you in a shipment of earwigs??


Monday, 17 July 2017

My English Teachers Would Be Wincing Right About Now

It's Poetry Monday ... with a twist! We have the option of using a suggested theme now, and this week's theme is NONSENSE. Don't forget to head over to Diane's and Delores' blogs to see what they've come up with, and feel free to leave a poem of any kind, using the theme or not, in the comments at any of our blogs, or on your own blog (just leave us a link so we can find you).


When my mother used to tell my brother and I to "Stop that nonsense!" she meant that we were being naughty, misbehaving, or otherwise getting on her nerves and we'd better settle down.

But when I looked up the definition of the word "nonsense" I found that there is another meaning directly related to poetry: verse or other writing intended to be amusing by virtue of its absurd or whimsical language ("nonsense poetry").

Because I spent the weekend (1) recovering from last week's work and travel and (2) cleaning out the fridge and attached freezer, a job that has apparently not been completely done since 2008, because, yes, I found a couple of things in there with that date on them, and to be completely and embarrassingly honest the only reason I was now emptying it was because great quantities of water have been pooling in the bottom and we needed to move it out of its snug little hole in the wall in order to clean the coils at the back in the vague hope that it would do some good, and it's also been freezing food in the refrigerator section which is very inconvenient if you've got, say, raw carrots for snacking on since you're trying to lose weight and have you ever tried to eat a frozen raw carrot? well it's not all that delicious and when you have sensitive teeth it's not all that comfortable either.

I see that sentence fragment has gotten away from me in a way that entire paragraphs have not gotten away from me in a long time.

So, to make a long story shorter (because it can't be made "short" now, no matter what), I was tied up this weekend and although I kept thinking about our Poetry Monday theme (thinking consisting of putting the word up in front of my mind's eye and letting random thoughts float past), I didn't get any flashes of inspiration, and when I sat down to try to make inspiration behave with hard work instead, I came up dry as well.

The only reasonable thing to do at that point was to Google "nonsense poetry" and ...


There I found a poem that I can dimly recall my brother reciting to me when we were young. He was four years my senior, so perhaps I should say *I* was young, while he was old enough to teach me a few things, both good and bad, that I probably wouldn't have stumbled into on my own. But that's a story (or a bunch of them) for another time.

Anyway, I now bring you this nonsense poem, not from my fertile mind or the sweat of my brow, but from the mists of history, of verses passed down from generation to generation, with many variants (which you can read HERE if you wish). I chose the following version, because it encompasses the best of the variants, in my opinion, and also because the authors of the website where it came from (HERE) explained their reasoning for editing it as they did.

I expect that many or maybe all of you have heard some version of this while growing up.

One Fine Day

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight, 
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralyzed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don’t believe this story’s true,
Ask the blind man - he saw it too!

Footnote 1: After I wrote all of those words up there ^^^ I read the introduction on the BC Folklore website cited above, and discovered that the authors don't consider this poem to be true nonsense poetry ... but you can read more about that at the link.

Footnote 2: I think there are some words in this poem that are not politically correct.

Footnote 3: I feel like I've just written a very badly done term paper for English class because I've spent the weekend doing the wrong things (leisure and home chores), but the time has come to pass it in and this is it, folks ...

Footnote 4: I did manage to remember the elusive post topic mentioned in Friday's post, and have come up with another as well. If I write them on a piece of paper, the paper will probably get lost in the flotsam from the freezer that is sitting thawing on the kitchen counter, so instead, I'll write them here! (1) earworm (music), and (2) summer festivals. There. I'm so proud of myself.

If only I can remember where I wrote the ideas down when I need them.

There's nothing else to add, really.

Have a good week, folks!


Friday, 14 July 2017

Facebook Is Not Entirely Useless

As readers know (or can find out from my profile), I post on Mondays and Fridays, which are Tuesdays and Saturdays for some of you, depending on which side of the globe you call home.

This week, after Monday's post was published, my mind turned toward Friday's post. I immediately thought of something to write about. I'll remember that, I thought. How could I forget it?

On Tuesday, I reminded myself of the thing I was going to write about for Friday. AHA! I thought; I had NO trouble remembering that! I'll do the post later in the week when I'm not so busy.

On Wednesday, I didn't think about it at all because I already knew I could remember it at will when I finally got time to write my Friday post.

On Thursday, I drove two hours to the city to have lunch with a friend and then drove two hours back home, with another visit to a relative and some shopping along the way. All the way there and all the way home I tried to remember what I was going to write about.

You know where this is going, do you not?


So, instead of my excellent yet somehow absent post, here are a few funnies that were delivered to my Facebook account. Most of the things that show up on Facebook are, in my opinion, not worth reading (although you no doubt see the irony that I must have read quite a few of them in order to establish that fact), but I had to admit that I enjoyed these, so I stole rescued them for "recycling."

They are actual notes written by apartment dwellers and home owners.

In one of my apartments, my upstairs neighbours never clomped around, but there were a lot of squeaky springs almost every night. Sheesh, people, get a room ... Er, yes, I guess you did. I just wish it wasn't right over MY room.

I bet Bob is SUPER HAPPY about that, especially with the smiley face :)

You'll need to click on this to make it big enough to read (or use "Control +"), but it's worth the effort. I'm especially impressed by Max's drawings.

I hope they plan to get a nicotine patch for the cat's withdrawal symptoms.

Now, some of you already know my thoughts on Facebook (i.e., that it doesn't interest me) so why, then, you ask, do I have a Facebook account?

Here's why: so I can keep in touch with my niece and nephew, whom I see only once every year or five. And to see adorable pictures of my little grand-nieces posted by said niece and nephew.

One final comment on the value of Facebook (hmmm ... could apply to Twitter also):

An isolated incident, I am sure!

If you have cats I hope they are not smokers. If you are painting your fence, have fun with it. If you are wearing cement flip-flops, you're probably pretty tired by now. If you have to share laundry facilities with other, unrelated people, good luck. (I remember those days well.)

Wishing you all a happy weekend!

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Smiling Goat

Welcome back to Poetry Monday!

Read a poem, write a poem, leave a poem, have fun! Check out Diane's and Delores' blogs for more poetic goodness.

Last week seemed awfully busy for a four-day work week (we had Monday off in lieu of Saturday, July 1st, our country's birthday). I'm not sure how a day off makes life more busy instead of less busy, but it seems to do that.

As a result, my poem-making brain cells are dry as a bone. Therefore, I offer this verse I learned from my mother, who learned it from her father. On doing some internet checking, I discovered that it has been around for a long time, in a number of variations, and has been attributed to a number of sources. You can read more at the Wikiquote entry, HERE, for the author Stephen Grellet, who seems to be the most favoured source. 

I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good, therefore, that I can do
Or any kindness I can show to any human being,
Let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
For I shall not pass this way again.

The only change I'd make to this would be to substitute "living thing" in place of "human being," because critters of all kinds, not just people, need to be treated with respect and thoughtfulness.

This might be my shortest post ever.

Now, we can't have that, can we???

We need some padding to give this post some self-respect.

A picture and a question should do it.

Here's the picture:

Kindness can be as easy as showing a little smile.

And here is my question for anyone who'd like to weigh in. Random acts of kindness seem to be popular right now, and a very common one is to buy coffee or a fast food order for the next person in line. I keep wondering why. I doubt it's because people in the lineup are impoverished. And if it's to make a stranger feel good, can we do the same thing with a kind word, a smile, or a bit of conversation? Would the money we spend on coffee or fast food do more good at the food bank, the homeless shelter, or elsewhere? This is such a universally accepted form of random act of kindness that I feel I must be missing something here. Any ideas? Thank you for your time and thoughts.

Have a good week, all :)

The smiling goat picture is from our friends at Pixabay.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Random Pictures ... And Hair

I thought this would be a short post today, using a few pictures that have been hanging around in my files since May.

As my mother always used to tell us, You know what THOUGHT did ...

First I found that half of the pictures I wanted to use didn't show up very well in the small format I need to use here. So I was inserting pictures, and deleting pictures, over and over.

Then I thought something was wrong with Blogger because suddenly none of the pictures, good OR bad, could be inserted into the body of the post.

Then I thought the internet connection was dropping, which is a common thing here because we have a wireless router and the signal is a bit sketchy.

Then I did the only other thing I know how to do, which is click on "Troubleshooting" for the internet connection. And it told me our modem was having problems connecting. I was advised to turn it off, wait for all the lights on it to go out, and then turn it back on.

At this point I should just tell you all upfront that my husband always does this stuff when it's necessary. But he wasn't available to do it just then. He is an early riser, and also an early retirer. I wasn't about to waken him to fix the modem so I could write a post.

So down I went to the basement where the modem is located, and tried to turn it off. There was no on/off switch. So I turned off the first of two power bars that looked like it might be the right one. I know I should have followed the cords to see if it was really the right one, but there were an awful lot of cords and I'm not really that patient. Nothing happened. So then I turned off the furthest power bar. Nothing happened. Then I unplugged everything I could see from the wall outlet. Nothing bloody happened! It was like a zombie modem; it wouldn't die.

So I got the broom and started sweeping the cat hair up because at least that was something I knew how to do. I was getting a little rattled at this point, and physical work helps me calm down.

After I finished sweeping, I plugged everything back in, and turned off the furthest power bar again. Suddenly all the lights went out on the modem and the router, and something started beeping. What??!! How can anything be beeping when the lights are out??

Cripes. I counted eight beeps, and then ... nothing.


Who says I'm bad with technology, eh? *preens*

An evening sky in mid-May, caught on my way home from work. My camera couldn't capture the full glory of the whole sky overhead, but the colours in this little rectangle are true to what I saw.

Mary and Joseph in the garden in early June. The blossoms start out pink and turn blue, and the leaves are dappled with white spots. They multiply dependably and flourish in shade. This plant is a good choice for a lazy gardener like me. Its other name is lungwort. What the ...? Whoever thought that was a good name for such a lovely, reliable plant?

Flowering trees by the river, with the church steeple in the background. I have no idea what this tree is called. Any ideas? In the meantime, being a better namer of things than whoever named the lungwort, I shall call this a Frothy Fluffy tree.

A towering cloud formation in early evening of late June, captured on my way home from work ...

... and the same clouds a few minutes later, from a vantage point near the river, facing the same direction. I didn't realize until I looked back at the pictures how much the formation had changed in such a short time. There were no other clouds in the sky at all. My husband said it reminded him of a mushroom cloud after a nuclear explosion.

Speaking of mushrooms ... time to update you on my latest haircut. Fun, right? Here's me when I saw the back of my head in the mirror at the end of yesterday's appointment:

My poor hairdresser. She had worked from a picture I brought with me. I kept telling her the picture was just for the silhouette (i.e., flat, not mushroom-shaped!!) but ... it ended up quite short in the back. Not as short as I had it once about ten years ago (that one was next thing to a buzz cut) but too short for my liking. And the front was long; so long I felt like this:

Sad doggie has long ears. Sad Donkey had long hair-ears. Not ear hairs; HAIR-EARS.

Anyway, she took me back for a second try today (at the end of her long day, bless her), and at least the front of it matches the back now. Oh yes that's right people, more hair is on the floor at the salon and less is on my head.

It will be easier to take care of, though. So there's that.

I'm not sure what the next move is in this chess game, but I have five weeks to think about it. I really appreciate her ability to give me a precision cut, something that's difficult to do with my fine, heavy hair. So I want to keep trying to work this out. Heavens to Betsy; it's almost like marriage. Stay tuned! There will likely be more instalments in this harrowing saga. Harrowing. Get it? Hair-owing? ... Never mind.

Wishing you all a week-end without hairy situations :) And hopefully with a minimum of long-winded people ...

Monday, 3 July 2017

They Should Be Bald By Now

Here it is, Poetry Monday once again! Every Monday, you can find new poems--delicious, freshly grown, organic, and pesticide-free--here, and at Diane's and Delores' blogs. Leave a poem in the comments if the spirit moves you, or tell us where to find your blog if you've posted one there. Have fun!

Here in Donkeyland, it's been a very short weekend. I know there are supposedly twenty-four hours in every day, sixty minutes in every hour, blah blah blah, but I can tell you for a fact that some days are shorter then others and some are longer ... when you are measuring not in real time but in feel-time.

We've all experienced feel-time, right? Feel-time is what makes a dental appointment last forever, and it's what makes a vacation fly by uncommonly fast. Feel-time stretches out to the horizon when we are sad or lonely, and snaps back like an elastic band to less than nothing when we want a magic moment to last longer.

The effects of feel-time also kick in when we desperately need to get more done than we have time in which to do it.

That was the case this weekend when we had family scheduled to visit for supper on Saturday. The previous three weeks were busy at work for both my husband and I, and many household chores were put off during that time. So when Saturday came, we had to cram a whole lot of cleaning into a few measly hours. In feel-time, those few hours seemed awfully short.

There are only two people in our household now, but there are three cats, and despite daily brushing they are somehow still able to stroll through a room and shed hair with every step. We gave up years ago trying to keep them off the soft, cushy furniture, so there is a constant battle with cat hair on the upholstery. And I have even found cat hair stuck to the walls at times. It's a good thing they are cute and lovable, because no one would put up with their hairy mess otherwise.

And that's the inspiration for today's poem.

I'd Really Rather Sit And Eat A Chocolate Eclair

Cat hair
Didn't I just
Sweep there?
It's not fair!
They don't care!
Makes me swear
And despair.
They stare
Past my glare,
Quite aware
That they share.

Still, they dare.

Cats have flair.
And so much freakin' HAIR. 


Have a chocolate-elair kind of week, people :)

This is why we can't have nice things.

Well, except for the cats. THEY are nice things.

Disclaimer #1: this cat does not live at our house.

Disclaimer #2: we do not have a polka-dot couch.

But thank you, Pixabay, for this awesome picture.

Friday, 30 June 2017

My Father's Stroke

Some readers who have been with me from the time I started my blog may remember my posts about my father. He had a crippling stroke at the age of seventy-six, and lived for another eight years, confined to a wheelchair with his left side paralyzed. He passed away in late June of 2015, so he has been on my mind more than usual as that date approached and passed.

I wrote one post about his upbeat attitude; that one is HERE.

I wrote another about the last few months of his life; that one is HERE.

He went through many things that I have yet to write about, probably because it makes me very sad to revisit those memories. It's probably not all that much fun to read about it, either.

But I've been thinking that maybe his story can help others--either a person who has had a stroke or someone who knows a person who has had a stroke. I want to thank Terry of Treey's blog for providing the motivation I needed to do this. If you want to learn what it's like to have a stroke directly from someone who's had one, go on over and have a read.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a stroke happens when blood stops flowing to any part of the brain, damaging brain cells. The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that was damaged and the amount of damage done. Damage to the right side of the brain affects the left side of the body, and vice versa.

 My father's stroke was a severe one and his life changed completely in a matter of hours. He left home to get help, and never returned. He walked into the hospital under his own power and was unable to walk or move the left side of his body shortly after. He was an active, independent person right up to the day of his stroke, spending his days gardening and doing yard work, fixing up second-hand cars, and taking long walks. After the stroke, he couldn't walk at all--not for pleasure, not for the activities of daily life, not if his very life had depended on it. He was dependent on caregivers for most of what he needed, from bathing to toileting to dressing to getting in and out of bed and his wheelchair. He even needed help to change position in bed or in his chair, which led to an increase in pain from pre-existing back issues.

He was very despondent in the first few weeks after his stroke. He kept going mentally only because the doctors told him he might regain the function in his left side. He couldn't imagine not being able to garden or walk. There were tears from both of us as he begged for reassurance that if he worked hard enough he would be able to do those things again. He was sent to the first available bed at rehab, but sadly he did not regain any ability to use his arm or leg.

Because Dad's stroke occurred in the right side of his brain, his speech was not affected. (Conversely, a left brain stroke can destroy or impair the speech function.) We were grateful that he had not lost his ability to talk. He would have had no other way to communicate well with us, as he was not familiar with typing or computers. The day that Dad had his stroke, there was another man admitted to the same hospital who had a left brain stroke. This man's hospital stay, rehab, and eventual placement in a nursing home paralleled my father's, so we had many opportunities to see the frustration and isolation caused by his inability to speak. He refused to use the picture board provided to him (to point at things like meals, toilet, bed, and so on) so he was left with only hand gestures to try to get his needs met. He was a very impatient and easily-angered person, and while I suspected from observation that part of that was his original personality coming to the fore, it could only have been made worse by not being able to communicate his needs, wants, and feelings.

There is more to tell, but I've gone on long enough for today. Some of the things that happened to Dad were even humourous, although all of them are tinged to some extent with the pain of his losses.

Thank you for reading. I'll leave you with a list I hope you never have to use.

Signs of stroke (also taken from the Heart and Stroke Foundation's website, linked above):

Face - is it drooping?
Arms - can you raise both?
Speech - is it slurred or jumbled?
Time - to call 911 right away

Notice the FAST acronym formed above: getting help fast is critical to save a person's life and reduce disability.


Until Monday, please have a healthy and safe weekend, my friends.

I would love to have sat with my father on that bench in that forest. In real life, Dad wouldn't have sat--he'd be too busy scraping spruce gum off a tree trunk to chew or checking out which tree he'd be taking home for Christmas or telling me which mushrooms were good eating or digging up wildflowers to transplant into his garden ...

Thanks, Pixabay, for bringing back those memories with this picture.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Hanging Out The Closed Sign

It's Poetry Monday again (sheesh, where did THAT week go?) and I think it's also time for another bird-y update.

I hope my poem cover both bases.

Some background to help it make sense:

- I started putting a small bird feeder out in April, following a late snowstorm.
- I bought a second feeder in May, which I filled with the caviar of bird seed--Favourite Finch seed, at a scary price per bag, because I wanted to attract the tiny, cute birdies.
- Within two weeks I was filling that feeder every day, and by noon it was empty. For a few days, I filled it twice a day. Please note that a bag of Favourite Finch seed contains enough seed for only three and a half refills.
- Finally, I sat down and added up the cost of the seed, the fact that several pushy blackbirds/grackles were getting the lion's share of it, the finches were nowhere to be seen, a couple of pigeons had joined the eight (yes, eight) doves in the back yard to eat up the seed that spilled out when the blackbirds/grackles ate in their very messy way, plus the fact that we are not made of money, nor do we have a money tree in our back yard ...and came up with an indisputable fact: I had to stop. Either stop feeding them altogether, stop putting increasing amounts of seed out, or stop using the expensive seed.
- I bought a large bag of mixed seed which was much cheaper, and started cutting back the amount I put out each day. I am now down to one-third cup of mixed seed daily, sprinkled on the back yard because the only birds that still hang around are the doves and pigeons. And the occasional sparrow.
- Within another week, the free buffet will have gradually been pared back to zero. The remaining birds probably will, too. 

And now my poem, drawn from the crucible of hard, hard experience in the bird-feeding department ...

It's A Slippery Slope, All Right, And I Have Hit Bottom

It starts with: Aw, birdies!! So cute and so sweet!
So hungry, you poor things! Here's something to eat!

And then it's: My, my, little birds, so voracious!
I'll buy a new feeder that's much more capacious!

Progresses to: Dang it, we need more bird feed ...
Didn't we just buy some? And yet we still need ...

And now it's: Okay, birds, the free ride is over!
The living's been great; you've all been "in clover";

But birdies, my wallet--it's flat as a pancake;
This restaurant is closed, though it makes my poor heart ache.

It's summer, dear birdies; there's food everywhere.
You'll get along fine if the feeder's not there.

I'll miss your sweet faces and quick little feets,
Your beady black eyes and your stabbity beaks.

Have a good summer, and raise up your young,
And come back to visit when autumn has sprung.


Whew! Rhyming is hard work!

Have a good week, folks. Or at least don't hit bottom :)

On behalf of my feathered brethren, I would just like to say that we are not amused. 


Do visit Diane and Delores to see what they've posted for Poetry Monday, if you are so inclined, and feel free to leave a poem in the comments or link to your blog!

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Pep Talk For The Donkey

I may have said a time or two that I'm trying to get to a lower and healthier weight. So far I have lost and re-gained the same pounds several times, but have managed not to put on any additional weight in the last two years. Consider that the scale used to go in only one direction--up--for the previous twenty years, and you will understand why I am counting that as a partial win. I'm still learning and still trying, and I hope that recording the things that have worked for me in the past will help me get going again.

You can skip the blah blah blah and go straight to the lolcat at the bottom of the post if you wish!

1.  Exercise doesn't just burn off calories, it also works for me as an appetite-reducer. It's quite astonishing how moving around makes me less hungry, not more so.

2.  Distraction works wonders. If I'm reading a good book, I don't eat. If I'm talking, I don't eat. If I'm sorting things to donate or brushing the cats or typing on the computer or sewing or doing a craft, I don't eat. Etc., etc., etc.

3.  Writing down everything I eat and keeping a running total of the calories has been critical for me. I use the labels on prepackaged food, an inexpensive calorie counter book, and the internet to figure out the calories. I also use the internet to find the calories in chain restaurant meals, the few times we eat out. The numbers make my hair stand on end, but better that than making my backside too big for my slacks. Knowledge is power.

4.  I eat my food as plain as possible most of the time. Because I have excess stomach acidity (controlled by medication if I avoid trigger foods) and sensitive teeth, I have to forego acidic foods (most fruits), fat, fried food, sauces, gravy, and most salad dressings. This seems rigid at times, and can be boring if I'm not careful to eat a variety of vegetables (vegetables are low-calorie stars!) but it works well for weight loss, which makes me happy.

5.  Eating something very sweet or very high in carbohydrates sets up a vicious cycle of craving for me. Recently I caved in and bought two bags of a snack product because it was cheaper per bag than buying one. The little voice in my head told me I could set one aside for later in the summer. The little voice lied. And I somehow went from not planning to buy any, to buying two and eating them in three days, constantly hungry the whole time despite overall higher calorie counts for those days. That was 1750 calories' worth of bad decision and I didn't even actually save any money because I paid for two bags, not one ... my brain is such a sucker sometimes.

7.  The hardest part of going for a walk is just getting out the door.

8.  Taking the long view is very important. I want instant results, and it's hard to do something that I have to keep up ... well, forever. But I keep reminding myself it took me years to put on the weight, and it's going to take awhile to take it off, too. I slip now and then, but I get back up and keep going.

Now I'm off to read a book, to keep my mind busy and my cats happy (they like to join me on the couch).

Have a good weekend, all! And if you have a favourite weight loss or weight control tip, feel free to leave it in the comments :)

Me, in the grocery store the next time the snacks call my name ... okay, other people may look at me funny, but I have to drown out the little voice ... the little LYING voice ...

Photo courtesy of

Monday, 19 June 2017

Ogden, Alvin, and Donkey

It's Poetry Monday, and this post turned out to be a bit of a struggle.

I'm still feeling blue-ish, so at first I thought I'd try to lift my mood by posting a poem by Ogden Nash. Here were the choices:

The Cow

The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk. 


The Ostrich

The ostrich roams the great Sahara.
Its mouth is wide, its neck is narra.
It has such long and lofty legs,
I'm glad it sits to lay its eggs.

But I didn't have the heart--or the imagination--to write anything to go with them. I did research ostriches to see if they really sit to lay their eggs, and apparently, it's true. I also found out that they can run so fast in part because they have only two toes, and I considered whether I could run faster if I chopped off three toes from each foot, but wasn't really interested in finding out through personal experience. The cow poem inspired me even less than the ostrich one did. And this is coming from someone who loves Nash's poetry.

So then I thought maybe if I read some poetry on depression I might feel better. You know, the old misery-loves-company approach. A Google search quickly pulled up ten poems by famous people about depression, and just reading the descriptions made me feel worse, so I abandoned that idea too.

While all of this was going on, in the background the weather kept running through my mind. It has suddenly turned hot and humid here; it's the kind of weather we usually get in mid-July. It's electrical storm weather; it's frizzy-hair weather; it's hubby-please-put-the-air-conditioner-in-the-window weather.

And just like that, a line of a Christmas song popped into my head: "the weather outside is frightful." That inspired me to write a different ending. Here's Let It Snow, by Alvin and the Chipmunks, in case you've forgotten the song I'm talking about. (Why Alvin and the Chipmunks? Just because it was there in the search results, and I've always had a soft spot for those little rodents.) 

Without further ado, here's my contribution to the world of literature this week, and may lightning not strike me for putting those words together in a sentence.

I Love Snow, I Love Snow, I Love Snow

The weather outside is frightful;
The heat makes me so spiteful--
In humidity
I will guarantee
I'm the opposite of delightful.

(And just let me say that I try very hard not to complain about winter--except to the extent that it keeps me from visiting my grandchildren--in order that I may complain freely about summer. Hah.)

Ahhh. I feel better now. Ish.

What do you do when you feel blue--do you write about it, distract yourself from it, or hide in a closet?

And do you have a poem to share today? Please feel free to leave it in the comments, or on your blog if you have one. Just leave us a link so we know where to find you. Don't forget that Diane and Delores also post poems every Monday.

I hope everyone has a week with good things in it, or at least a week where you are not chased by an ostrich, because, my friends, they can run pretty darn fast and they're so heavy one could probably flatten you if it sat upon you. More ostrich facts can be found HERE.

Mr/Ms Ostrich is slightly amused by Donkey's scribbles. But not overly.

(photo courtesy of Pixabay, as usual; big thanks to the good folks who share their pictures there)

P. S. I don't know what happened to my font but I don't have the patience to fiddle with it! Let's blame it on the heat, shall we?)