#NaPoWriMo 2021 Day Fifteen

Mom in 1967 when my dad was in Vietnam. Six years before I was born.

Twice Married

Mom always said,
You’ll live until you’re twice married
Whenever her children fell down
A phrase I found quite peculiar

Mom always said,
You’ll live until you’re twice married
A phrase I found myself repeating
Whenever my children were upset

Mom never said,
You’ll live until you’re twice married
My twin would not pass it down
After her second marriage

Mom always said,
You’ll live until you’re twice married
She hoped we’d all live forever
Never contemplating divorce

NaPoWriMo PromptAnd now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today’s prompt comes to us from Juan Martinez. It asks you to think about a small habit you picked up from one of your parents, and then to write a piece that explores an early memory of your parent engaged in that habit, before shifting into writing about yourself engaging in the same habit.

Good afternoon and welcome to day fifteen of #NaPoWriMo. My mom always had little catch phrases like, “I’m blind in one eye and can’t see out the other;” “if it had teeth it would have bit you;” and my favorite, “You’ll live until you are twice married.” A very cute one I found myself repeating to my own children while they were growing up. I always thought it was odd, but never really thought too deeply on its meaning. Then one day my sister said, I never tell that to my children because I am married twice. So…? The phrase is actually conveying you will live a good long life because 1) you won’t get remarried or 2) you’ll get married a second time after living a long, happy life with your first spouse and they’ve passed away. There was never any contemplation of divorce in the saying. Oh well, I still use the phrase because yes, I’m still happily married to spouse #1. 😛

I also remind my children, Life’s a b@$#% and then you die. Maybe a little insight to marriage number one not being happily ever after, 😉

#NaPoWriMo Almanac Questionnaire

Before April ends
Heat radiates off pavement
Spring bids fond farewell

As days grow hotter
Some begin hibernation
Desert breathes new life

Palo verde blooms
Beautiful yellow flowers
Contrast its green bark

Sizzling summer sun
Beats down on desert creatures
Tortoise digs new home

Chupacabra hunt
Late at night, hungry for blood
Exsanguinate prey

NaPoWriMo Prompt – And now for our prompt (optional, as always). This is one that we’ve used before, but one test of a  good prompt is that you can come back to it! For this prompt, you will need to fill out, in five minutes or less, the following “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as to basis for a poem.

Good morning and welcome to day twenty-six of napowrimo. As April is coming to an end, so is the school year. This is the last week of the spring semester. Both Robin and Gretchen are busy with final papers and exams. Which means of course Noodles got a haircut yesterday, someone is trying to procrastinate. Not to worry I told Noodles she and I can commiserate together. She’s going to have an awkward phase, too. And Robin’s book from Changing Hands Bookstore finally arrived! It appears since both orders were made at the same time, the bookstore thought they shipped them together. They did not and somehow Robin’s order got lost in the shuffle when they thought the two orders were combined. But all was set right and Robin is excited to start reading his new book. Yet another excuse to procrastinate. Someone has a serious case os senioritis.

#NaPoWriMo Backyard Garden

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Tortoise enjoys a treat

Backyard Garden

Tortoise
surveys his kingdom
slow and
methodical

Little dog
scurries about
seeking an audience

NaPoWriMo Prompt – Today’s (optional) prompt is ekphrastic in nature – but rather particular! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. Whether you take the position of a twelve-legged clam, a narwhal with a cocktail olive speared on its horn, a man using an owl as a pool toy, or a backgammon board being carried through a crowd by a fish wearing a tambourine on its head, I hope that you find the experience deliriously amusing. And if the thought of speaking in the voice of a porcupine-as-painted-by-a-man-who-never-saw-one leaves you cold, perhaps you might write from the viewpoint of Bosch himself? Very little is known about him, so there’s plenty of room for invention, embroidery, and imagination.

Good morning readers and welcome to day six of napowrimo. I’m not sure my septolet is exactly on point, but back in my early bird post I wrote about how Shawn has been working on a garden in our backyard. He also put together a nice sitting area (where Gretchen and I took her birthday photo with the  pink garland filter). I have been spending my mornings out there, drinking my coffee. It is also where I was reading my book. Since I finished the book, I decided to take my poetry journal out there this morning hoping for inspiration. The septolet came from watching the dog and tortoise interact though I’m not too sure I’d really call it interaction. The tortoise seems to tolerate the dog’s nonsense.

Well my coffee is finished and my poem is written so I guess I have to get on with my Monday. I hope everyone is hanging in and finding inspiration in their everyday life. As I wrote later in the day yesterday –

Wish for excitement
Life continues as normal
Keep towel handy

Yes, my life has had barely a blip with the stay at home order, but if any alien ships show up in orbit I do know where my towel is. 😉 And no I would never intermingle two different sci-fi domains.

#NaPoWriMo Self Portrait

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Self Portrait

Hopeless
Tied up in knots
Little girl in despair
Cannot coax bunny through the hole
Failure

NaPoWriMo Prompt – And now for our (optional) prompt, which also deals with metaphors! Forrest Gump famously said that “life is like a box of chocolates.” And there are any number of poems out there that compare or equate the speaker’s life with a specific object. (For example, this poem of Emily Dickinson’s). Today, however, I’d like to challenge you to write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances. For example, bowling, or shopping for socks, or shoveling snow, or teaching a child to tie its shoes.

Good morning readers and welcome to the first day of NaPoWriMo. I know my self portrait is bleak, but a long time ago a five year old girl thought she was a kindergarten failure before kindergarten even began. I still flashback to the feeling of dread at my inability to tie shoelaces. So when the prompt mentioned tying shoes…

Let’s focus on a happy note. I did coax someone to give me the link to her Tumblr. Mom does not use the platform and I know thing two does not use Twitter nor does she go on Facebook very often. Saturday is the big day – 19 years old! Please go wish her a happy birthday. By the way, for those curious mom was also successful at teaching thing one and thing two to tie shoelaces. One would think I’d be over the dread of life’s early failure maybe someday.

#NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 3

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Gretchen wearing #RedInstead April 2, 2019

Life’s Journey

Simmer for nine months
Celebrate milestones
First tooth
Learning to crawl
Stand and walk
Potty training
Send off to kindergarten
Move up to middle school
Graduate from high school
Eighteen years old
Off to college
Study hard
Earn a degree
Life has just begun

NaPoWriMo Prompt Day 3 – And now for today’s prompt (optional as always). Today’s prompt is based in a poem by Larry Levis called “The Two Trees.” It is a poem that seems to meander, full of little digressions, odd bits of information, but fundamentally, it is a poem that takes time. It takes its time getting where it’s going, and the action of the poem itself takes place over months. Today, I’d like to challenge you to similarly write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. Perhaps, as you do, you can focus on imagery, or sound, or emotional content (or all three!)

Good morning and welcome to day 3 of NaPoWriMo. Yesterday I made an error and linked to the participant’s blog for day 2 instead of the prompt page. When I clicked on it to get back to the Shakespeare Sonnet in German video, I realized the mistake. It is now fixed. I wanted the link to the poetry video to share on Facebook with my poem from yesterday as my blog is in Facebook jail at the moment and I am unable to share links to my poetry posts.

As my long time readers should know, Gretchen has a birthday in April. Tomorrow she will be 18! Wow where did that time go; she’ll be graduating from high school next month. It seems like we were celebrating Rachael’s high school graduation only yesterday, but it was three years ago. I figured a poem about growing up would cover an appreciable length of time plus it’s still going. The #haikuchallenge word today is not. I worked that into the theme as well.

Meander through life
Eighteen years she walks the Earth
Direction not set

And yes I was able to take a picture of the elusive Gretchen yesterday. The cat distraction was helpful.

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).

 

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

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#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.