March Draws to an End

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Hummingbird and aloe bud picture by Gretchen Hosking

Pretty small creature
Flitting about aloe blooms
Spring is in the air

Hello Readers and welcome to the last day of March #NationalCerebralPalsyAwarenessMonth and the unofficial start to #NaPoWriMo. Today’s prompt at NaPoWriMo.netAnd now for our early-bird prompt (optional, like all our prompts!) Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poetic self-portrait. And specifically, we’d like you to write a poem in which you portray yourself in the guise of a historical or mythical figure.

And no the above haiku is not for the prompt. The haiku challenge word on twitter today is pretty and after reading the self-portrait poem by Mary-Kim Arnold, I was thinking about birds. We have had several (or maybe one several times) hummingbirds visit our aloe this spring. They are quick little creatures and I haven’t been able to photograph them, but lucky for me I borrowed a photo without permission.

Playful zephyr lifts
away winter blues, touting
how lovely is spring

 

 

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AZ Matsuri Honorable Mention

So far I have not written too many new poems in 2019. I’m slowing up too early in the year, but back in February I did write a “sportku” for the poetry pea podcast (look at my only February entry for the link to listen) and I wrote a couple for the Arizona Matsuri Haiku contest. The festival was the last weekend in February; it seems even they are running a little slow this year because I just got the link to this year’s ebook today. And I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my haiku made honorable mention again this year. After I submitted the haiku they included on page 58, I recounted my syllables – oops… I didn’t think the haiku would be chosen. I put eight syllables in the second line, but maybe due to the fact it’s 17 total syllables and English and Japanese syllables aren’t equivalent, it works. My haiku in the 2018 ebook.

Meanwhile Shawn and I had our 2018 taxes done yesterday. Today’s #haikuchallenge word is ghost.

Tax season haunts me
as I watch my refund shrink
face pale as a ghost

At least we did get a refund but it was significantly smaller than previous years; still better than owing. My return to work paperwork was accepted so now I’m just waiting for the invite to grade essays. Then my afternoons will be busy reading though it hasn’t impeded my poetry writing before this year I just seemed to have lost momentum.

Hello February

valentine 2019

WestGate Glendale, AZ

Shows up to class late
would rather see his sweetheart
than attend English

A long time ago, when we were in college, one semester Shawn would wait for me outside of one of my classes in the English building (remember I was an English Education major). At the end of the semester, he earned a C in the English class he was enrolled in and then I had the same professor for a class. I told the professor my fiance was not happy with the C he gave him. The professor smiled and replied, well he shouldn’t have skipped class and then show up in the building to see you. LOL! The moral of the story, don’t skip a class (very often) and then show up where the professor can see you and know you were at school.

The Westgate over in Glendale had a heart display up for Valentine’s Day. Shawn and I went over there on the 8th to take a selfie. Of course Shawn added his own fingerprint to the photo later. Then on Friday the 15th, we went to the poetry festivus at Alwun House.

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Shawn’s sculpture in Erotic Show 2019

Caterpillars know
anything is possible
Butterflies emerge

Then on Saturday night we went to see the Arizona Ballet and Phoenix Symphony performance of The Firebird and La Sylphide both pieces were very interesting.

Tickets to ballet
Dancers perform La Sylphide
and then The Firebird

On top of all this, I was also busy filling out my return to work paperwork. I’ll be busy grading essays again this season. Patricia over at poetry pea included one of my haiku in her sportku podcast, please go and have a listen. Since I could not play sports due to my CP that is what I wrote about. FYI – CBS 5 news in Phoenix is holding a phone bank February 27 to raise money for UCP (United Cerebral Palsy).

 

High School and College Yearbooks

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NYPIRG Buffalo State Group – The Elms 1995

Look through old yearbooks
Make fun of hot fashion trends
Search for Mom and Dad

Last night Shawn was looking at his senior yearbook from Bishop Timon because he learned his Principal, Mr. Chambers, passed away. Gretchen and Rachael came in and started looking at it, too. Then Gretchen asked if I had a yearbook too. We started looking at my senior yearbook from Frontier.

I reminded Gretchen, you’ll be getting your senior yearbook soon. The past week they took their senior class photo at Agua Fria.

Senior class photo
Balanced hand guides camera
Panoramic shot

She wanted to see mom and dad in the same yearbook. We didn’t go to the same high school so you’re not going to see us together. Then she asked about our college yearbook. Rachael said, they don’t have college yearbooks. Wanna bet? Dad brought down the 1995 The Elms from Buffalo State. There was mom and dad together in the same yearbook.

I’m with Cap – as Seen on Twitter

@ChrisEvans – “Dear All Technology, Remember the 90’s when you just WORKED??? I don’t need a ‘smart’ feature on my TV, thermostat, lights, music, refrigerator, security cameras, and f-ing car. You’re a major pain in all of our asses. You’re not worth it. Signed, Everyone”

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Notification on Smart Thermostat

Last Friday I walked by the thermostat and saw this, snapped a photo to send Shawn as a reminder to put on his weekend to-do list. This was the first time the thermostat gave us this notification. In the summer, when it’s hot and the system is running all the time, I keep track to change out the filter every other month. I had no idea our new thermostat was this smart. But as my readers know, I’ll find a way to make a haiku from the mundane. So when the #haikuchallenge word was snap –

New message pops up
smart thermostat instructs us
snap in new filter

So Shawn changed out the filter on Saturday and then yesterday I turned off the system to open windows to let the glorious sun and warmth in – highs in the 70s 😀 I’m a happy desert tortoise again.

Climb out of cold snap
Cannot wait for seventies
Hope for tomorrow

Sun shining again
Current high temperature
70 degrees

I turn it off, walk over and open windows and as I walk past the thermostat again, I notice another yellow notification. Huh? Shawn replaced the filter so I stop and read, Control Board Replaced. What the hell does that mean? I google it and only come up with when thermostat “control board” loses power. No, my thermostat is on and working. Hmm… so I set up an appointment with the HVAC tech. Turned the system back on last night as I knew the heat would kick on over night. After Gretchen left for school, turned it off, thinking the notification would pop back up for the tech to see. It didn’t, but when he arrived and clicked to view previous notifications the entire screen went blank. When it rebooted up popped, Control Board Replaced. Yep that’s not right. So he went up into the attic and changed some wiring. Came back down and messed around with the controls to see if it would blank out again, everything was good so it appears to be fixed.

No offense to the HVAC techs because they have all been pleasant and did their job well, but we had an old AC unit and stone age thermostat for 18 years and NEVER once had an issue. This new system is driving me crazy – First 110 Degree Day after the first visit, another tech had to come out and reboot the AC and he told me there was a circuit board recall so a third tech came out to replace the circuit board before we left for Buffalo at the end of June. I’m just getting a little tired of having to call out techs to maintain the new “smart” system.

Broken #Haiku Record

BLOG BADGE 2019 Poetry Blogging Network

Poetry Blogging in 2019

Snow in the desert
Need to manage staying warm
Plenty of pea soup

Hard to manage pain
Desert heat evaporates
Cold seeps down to bone

Shivering inside
Temperatures still frosty
Blood may never warm

Cold blooded tortoise
Hiding away in his home
Thinks hell froze over

 

So far so good on the poetry front of 2019. As you can see, I’m a little bit of a broken record right now, obsessing about the weather. Yesterday Phoenix was colder than Anchorage – ALASKA! I moved away from Buffalo, NY because I did not enjoy dealing with the snow AND cold. This year it will be 20 years since we left it all behind. Mother Nature really had no need to remind me what I’m missing; I still do NOT miss it. Yesterday the #haikuchallenge word was manage and today it is blood.

There was rain on the 31st and some areas of desert saw snow, but the majority of the cacti in snow didn’t get posted until yesterday. Our tortoise did not venture out of his home at all yesterday and may be hunkering down all day again. I don’t blame him; I enjoyed the batch of pea soup New Year’s Eve night, again on the 1st and again yesterday. Still as my one poem states – I’m not sure my blood will ever warm again. Thanks for reading my rant about freezing in the desert. I hope everyone is keeping warm and having a productive 2019.

#PoetBlogRevival Part 2

BLOG BADGE 2019 Poetry Blogging Network

March also happens to be Cerebral Palsy awareness month and through the #PoetBlogRevival, I met Bekah Steimel, who was interviewing poets about their work as part of her blog. My interview appeared in March so I shared my poem Escape with her readers. And this brings us to April, National Poetry Month or better known to my readers as #NaPoWriMo where I insanely write a poem a day from the prompts at napowrimo.net

In 2017 I also got a job as a remote reader, grading the essays on standardized tests and I returned to this work in 2018, making April even more insane. Near the beginning of the month my poem. Pedernal, was published on ekphrastic.net. It was written back in 2011 when Shawn and I visited Ghost Ranch in New Mexico as part of our 15th anniversary trip. For anyone discouraged by rejections I can tell you your poetry will find a home somewhere. I actually got a rejection a couple weeks ago the same day I made the submission; and the editor said they send out quick replies so you can find the proper fit for your poetry. I know it’s meant to soften the blow of the rejection, but less than a day! Oh well, the poem went back in the queue.

Also in April, Patricia had a breakfast themed haiku podcast and despite the insanity of the month, I made a contribution. She also include a piece from my evil twin. Then we entered May and remote reading wound down for another year along with the school year. Rachael had a birthday – TWENTY; no longer a teenager and someone shared a quote by Sylvia Plath I found rather apropos. In July Patricia’s podcast focused on women; so you know me, one Sylvia Plath quote turned into haiku. The day the podcast was posted, I made my children listen to it while we were eating dinner. Hey, your mother’s a poet and you’re going to learn to like it.

AHHH… August the start of a brand new school year. Gretchen is now a senior in high school! How did that happen? It also happened to be the month I started not feeling well. One issue being the Cerebral Palsy, doing everything with one hand is catching up to me. My left arm/shoulder decided to spasm on me. I’m used to spasms on my right side due to the CP, but the left?! Come on I need that hand to work. A trip to the ER and explaining where the pain was located, the doctor swept his arm back and forth, Do you do this motion very often? Hmmm… let me think, yeah vacuuming,sweeping, mopping; chores I do everyday! So it was off to a physical therapist to learn exercises for my left hand. Ok that was new and different; I’ve only been to PT for CP related exercises.

At the end of the month three of my poems appeared in the summer issue of Unstrung. Then September, October and November were filled with doctor appointments I could have done without. I did not keep up with weekly blog posts for the poet blog revival 😦 But tomorrow begins a brand new year filled with new possibilities. And on a positive note, I do like my poetry short. It isn’t a huge strain to type out one-handed. Today’s #haikuchallenge word is place. And tying part 2 into part 1, I bring you another poem about the cold weather.

Freezing desert temps
Someone turn the sun back on
This place is too cold

My WTForecast app told me it was 31 this morning. Fortunately we had a bone-in ham for Christmas and split peas were set to soaking last night. I am off to make the split pea soup to keep us warm on the last day of 2018. Happy New Year!

#PoetBlogRevival

BLOG BADGE 2019 Poetry Blogging Network.jpg

#PoetBlogRevival 2019

At the beginning of 2018, a bunch of poets came together and decided it would be great to blog at least once a week about poetry, life, writing acceptances and rejections. The previous year my poetry writing hit a slump so I thought this would be a great way to revive it. For most of the past year, my poetry moved ahead well. Since the start of 2018, AZ Matsuri Ebook I had a haiku chosen as honorable mention and published in the ebook (FYI to AZ haiku writers 2019 contest is now open). Another haiku of mine appeared on the pure haiku website in February as well.

If you click on the link above and notice the post’s title, I want my heat back; the end of 2018 is no different than its beginning. The last weekend of the year we have had freeze warnings and with the possibility of rain in the forecast on the 31st, if it starts early enough it may deliver SNOW! So today I had fun with the #haikuchallenge word – sense and the forecast.

Phoenix may get snow
Precipitation likely
Forecast makes no sense

Temperatures plunge
Makes sense to stay warm in bed
Do not mention snow

Continuing through 2018, Patricia over at Poetry Pea included several of my haiku in her haiku podcast, beginning in March where I talk about snow in the desert. Yes, dear readers on rare occasions snow has been seen in my hot desert. Shawn just came home with groceries and tonight’s dinner, so my #PoetBlogRevival 2018 review will have to be continued later. Thanks for reading and joining me on this strange trip through life with poetry.