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. 

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 icanhascheezburger.com




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. 

And:

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?)


Friday, 16 June 2017

For All Who Have Gone "Into The Darkness"

This week was already a bit melancholy, as it was coming up on the second anniversary of my father's death. With the addition of the horrific fire in London, England, my heart is heavy.

So, today: a poem in honour of all those who are gone, no matter what the circumstances of their passing may be. I do not remember how I was introduced to this poem, but if it was through the blog of one of you, my blogger friends, I thank you.



Dirge Without Music
  
   by Edna St. Vincent Millay


I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.







 *****

Back on Monday, hopefully with a lighter heart. Stay safe, everyone.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Poetry Monday: Fly, Drive & Walk Defensively

I keep saying I can't remember any poetry I've memorized, aside from very few pieces which I've already used for Poetry Mondays.

And then something will prompt a memory, and a verse will spill out of my brain onto my tongue, and I will think "Oh Good!" and "Oh Drat" simultaneously. "Oh Good" is easy to understand; I'm happy not to have to sit down and actually use my little brain to compose a new poem (especially when I am mentally drained from worrying about my latest haircut). "Oh Drat" means I know I lied -- again.

Today I have two very short verses; each one will cost you zero munnies, or you can have two for no munnies at all.

The first came to me years ago when I was driving my children somewhere. It must have been about this time of year, when the birds are so busy nest-building and obeying nature's edict to reproduce that they take shortcuts everywhere they go, fearing nothing, hurrying and hurtling through the air, often at eye level of drivers who happen to be in their way.

One such bird had a near miss with the front of my car, and these lines came to mind. My kids liked my little rhyme, and it has come in handy many times since, including just the other day, when yet another bird, probably the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchild of the one I nearly hit so many years ago, came a tad too close to my grille for comfort.


Plea To All Addlepated Birds In Springtime 

Birdie, please don't fly so low;
My car is fast and you are slow.
Please fly higher, if you could,
So you don't end up on my hood.

*****

And this verse, also about speed and cars, is one my grandfather used to recite, likely to try and impress on us youngsters that even if you have the right of way, that doesn't really matter if you end up dead. I often shout it at drivers, and even walkers, who blithely lurch ahead on a green light into an intersection or into a crosswalk without checking to make sure they are not about to be driven into or mowed down by someone whose mind is elsewhere at the moment. Drive and walk defensively, people, and live a little longer! (I don't actually shout it, although I may say it out loud, as long as I have no passesngers, my windows are tightly closed, and I don't think anyone can see my lips move.)

Grampy's Advice

He was right -- dead right --
As he sped along;
But he was just as dead
As if he was wrong.

*****

That's it for Poetry Monday, where the poems are free and you are welcome to read, critique, laugh, cry and BYOP -- Bring Your Own Poem! Contributions are always welcome. Leave yours in the comments, or if you have a blog and wish to post it there, leave us your blog address in the comments so we can come along and clap for you. Don't forget to visit Diane (who came up with the idea of Poetry Monday) and Delores (who knows a thing or two about writing poetry too).


"Who are you calling 'addlepated'? Your pate doesn't look all that non-addled to me either!"

Whoa. That bird has an attitude.


I hope you have an accident-free week, and avoid all unexpected hood ornaments :)



 Starling photo courtesy of Pixabay.