Monday, 11 December 2017

Poetry Monday: Happiest Family Memory . . . Fail

It's Poetry Monday, which I can't quite wrap my head around, because we just did this a couple of days ago, didn't we?  Technically, it was seven days and I know that perfectly well, but it seems far less.

This week's suggested theme is "happiest family memory." I found this topic quite challenging and since it was a very full week in other ways, I am bowing out of the party for this one.

However, please feel free to use the comment section to leave your very own poem or to give me a tongue lashing for wussing out. You can also post your poem on your own blog; please leave a note in the comments so we can find you.

Remember, too, that Diane and Delores will have a freshly baked poem for you to digest; just click on their names to make your way to their blogs.

And just so you don't feel it was a complete, total, absolute waste of finger power to click over here to my blog today, here is a consolation prize:

Home decorating kitties (courtesy of

Have a good week and don't let your kitties (or doggies or hamsters or ferrets or ponies or lions or giraffes or elephants) help you with the furniture placement this holiday season.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Sober Second Thought

I had a post all written about my reservations regarding the seeming excoriation of all the men on the planet by the #metoo movement, or perhaps it's just the "me too" bandwagon aspect of it that's making me crazy, but at the last minute I pulled the plug on it. I'm going to let it sit and see how I feel about it in a few days or a week.

How's that for dipping my toe in the water without committing to going swimming?

Let's just go with this for today instead.

Recklessly stolen from Facebook. I'm not insulting old people. I AM one.

Have a good weekend, folks.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Poetry Monday: Shopping

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is "shopping."

Join Diane, Delores, Joan (in the comments) and me as we dissect this subject and pound it into poetic shape, making it a beautiful thing. Or an interesting thing, at least. Why don't you write a little something, too? You can leave it in the comments at any of our blogs, or if you post it on your blog, write a note in the comments so we can follow the breadcrumbs back to your online home and cheer you on.

We celebrate a secular Christmas here, a chance to gather some of the family at the beginning of the long winter, enjoy a traditional meal, and exchange gifts. But whatever and however you celebrate, I'm pretty sure there's likely some shopping involved and you can probably relate to my poem this week.

For me, shopping at this time of year is sometimes a pleasure but more often it is filled with doubt, vacillation, second-guessing my choices, a sinking feeling, and sore feet. We have a relatively limited selection of stores in our area. I don't do online shopping because I want to see, touch, and even smell the stuff I buy. (If you've ever brought home "eau de rubber tire" shoes or "eau de mustiness" paper products, you'll understand why.) So it's not often possible to come up with a great idea and then shop for it. It's more a matter of checking out what our stores have and trying to match available merchandise with the people on our gift list. 

Please Just Shoot Me Now

Christmas is coming
In twenty-one days,
And I'm in the midst of
A gift-finding haze.

Every store in the mall
Is a feast for the eyes . . .
Every store in the mall
Is full of big lies.

They're all so inviting,
With colours and scents,
But I know I will NEVER
Find perfect presents.

I wander the aisles
In a path most erratic;
With eyes all glazed over,
I'm on Automatic.

I'm hot and I'm cranky
In these winter clothes;
My feet hurt, my back hurts,
And DRIP goes my nose.

I pick up a geegaw
And carry it around,
But I know before leaving
I'll have set it back down.

No one needs geegaws
Or whatsits or whosits
Or trinkets or baubles
Or whatchamacallits.

(They ESPECIALLY don't need
The whatchamacallits)

I pick up a toy
And carry it around,
But again before leaving
I put it back down.

Ditto for clothing,
And slippers, and books,
Jewellery, wallets, and
Everything That Cooks.

What's that I hear?
The stores are now closing?
I plod to the door,
My plans decomposing.

The List is no shorter,
My time runneth out . . .
I'll be back tomorrow --
Of that I've no doubt.


Thanks, Pixabay, for the awesome picture of me.


P. S.  Guess what? I did go back, the very next day, and, lo - I whacked my list nearly in half, in one go. Maybe all that "looking" paid off after all.

QUESTION:  How do you attack your "to buy for" list? Do you come up with ideas and then shop for them, or do you have to "take what you can get"?

Friday, 1 December 2017

A Better Mousetrap

If you've been reading along the last few weeks, you'll know I fell on Halloween evening and hurt my back. It's feeling much better now and I can even put my socks and sneakers on without wincing. But that one-second slip has caused ripples in the pond of life that continue to spread outward and swamp the small and the innocent.

My car had to go to the garage this week to have snow tires put on and some regular maintenance done. When I picked it up, the service guy went over the items on the bill with me. The last charge was for replacement of the cabin filter, which is the air filter between the outside and the interior of the car. The mechanic had found and removed a nest from the blower motor.  A nest made by a rodent who was, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on who you are), dead when the mechanic found it.

All I could think was "poor little mouse." I wrote a couple of posts about mice in our house, HERE and HERE and even HERE, and the gist of those is that while I am not a mouse-lover (more of a mouse-liker, or a mouse-accepter, or maybe just a mouse-admirer-but-not-in-my-house-person) I hate the thought of causing any animal to suffer, no matter how small. I suspect the mouse set up housekeeping while my car sat unused in our lane during the time I couldn't drive, and I also suspect it died the first time I went for a drive after that hiatus.

In addition to the burden of death that is now on my hands, we paid just under a hundred bucks to have the little corpse and its home removed and a new, clean air filter installed.

And no, I didn't smell a thing.


But now I'm super aware that another mouse could get in, and I spend most of the time I'm driving at night imagining that there is a mouse inside the car and that it is going to run up my pant leg.

The main reason I worry about that particular scenario is because of the story my father told me about his job working at a commercial hen house in the 1950s. As you can imagine, there was a constant rodent problem around the barn which housed thousands of chickens. My understanding is that they couldn't put out poison because the chickens would get at it. So rodent control consisted of a pitchfork and a person. A horrible thought, but it was a fact of life and part of my dad's job. One day as he was dispatching mice, one intrepid fellow ran up one of his pant legs, across, and down the other leg. My dad would always shiver when he told the story, even though he was half-laughing at the same time. (Not about the stabbity part, just the up-across-down part.)

I really, really hope I don't have a close encounter with a mouse in my car while I am driving.


Have a good weekend, people. May you be mouse-free in both house and vehicle. And especially in person.

I hope this is what "my" mouse is doing now, in a different dimension . . .

(Picture: source unknown)

Monday, 27 November 2017

Poetry Monday: People

The topic this Poetry Monday is "people" - join Diane, Delores, Joan (in the comments here) and me as we take on this wide-open-to-possibility theme. You can take part, too; leave a poem at any of our blogs or on your own. If you do the latter, please leave your blog address in the comments so we can come along and cheer you on.

Get comfortable, people, because we're going to take the long and winding road to this week's poem.

On Saturday afternoon I decided to head into the countryside to a craft sale I'd never been to before. I wasn't sure exactly where it was, but the community wasn't very big and it wasn't far from where I grew up so I figured I'd find it. But when I reached the hall where I thought it might be, there was no signage and only a couple of cars in the yard. I decided to check another venue on a side road in case the sale was actually there instead, but I still didn't see any signs and by that time I was well along the side road and there was a rather large truck on my back bumper, so I had to keep to the speed limit or risk being flattened and before I knew it I was way out in the country where I went to high school.

And since I was that far along, I thought I'd keep going out to the little community where I grew up. The route I followed was the same route I took home from school on the big yellow bus every day for six years, so as I drove I remembered all the kids who got let off along the way. Eventually I got as far as my old home and a bit further to the church where we were married and then I turned around and drove back to my current home by way of a different country route which we used to take to get to town every Saturday when I was growing up. And so I saw even more homes of more people I knew until I moved away as a university graduate on my own at last.

So I never did make it to the craft sale but that drive certainly stirred up a few memories for me. I recalled my best friend of many years, and realized I need to call her because it's been too long since we've gotten together. I was reminded of the older boy who spent his summers working on the farm across the road from us, and what a gentleman and a hard worker he was, with a great sense of humour. I remembered the poor family whose kids always seemed to be grimy-looking; their parents spent their money on cigarettes and booze and I always felt bad for the kids, but the daughter who was about my age was one of the kindest girls in school. There was the lady who played the organ in church every week; she played at our wedding, too. There was the church itself, the setting of many a potluck dinner and many a community concert, one of which included yours truly on the recorder, and one of which included my brother and three of his friends lip-synching to a Beatles hit, and all of which included fudge for sale at intermission and not a drop of water in the building. There was the empty lot of land where our telephone operator's little house used to stand; my mother gave her a home permanent every so often and the one time that I went with her, I was put in front of the old-timey plug-style switchboard, given a ten-second lesson on how to connect people if the phone rang, and remained sitting there, paralyzed with fear that it actually would ring. (It didn't.) I recalled the live-in housekeeper of the farmer one house down, who kindly welcomed us with cookies and milk, and often a shiny dime, when we knocked on her door, and who looked after my brother and me the time we had chickenpox and my mother was teaching. I remembered the retired nurse who lived two houses down, to whom my mother sent my brother when he stepped on a board with a nail in the end - it flipped up and the nail went into his forehead right above his eye. I saw the empty land where our two-room schoolhouse used to stand, and in my mind I saw the kids playing in the yard at recess.

And mostly I thought about my own family, and the house I grew up in. It was sold a few years after my dad's stroke. It wasn't in great condition to start with and with no one living in it, it was going downhill fast. He sold it to the first buyer who came along, who - as it turned out - didn't have the means to keep it up either. The house is empty now; the flower gardens my mother laboured over with love for years and years are now overrun with scrubby trees and long grass. The vegetable gardens my father put in every year and gave carloads of food from are long gone to grass as well. The garage where my father spent so much of his time tinkering and doing car repairs for the neighbours is falling in.

It was a melancholy way to spend a gray fall afternoon and I was glad to get back to my town and re-surface in the present. Nothing is the same as it was, and I'm not sure I'd even want that. But I wish I could step back in time just for a few minutes, and have the future spread out before me like the full blue sky on an early summer day, and a community of hard-working, kindly neighbours at my back.

After all that, we need a very short poem, don't we? Emphasis on "short."

My People

The people of my childhood
Are frozen in time in my mind
Like black and white photos--
Like a group school picture,
A community baby shower,
A card party,
A dance,
A Sunday school picnic at the park.
So many are gone now,
Living elsewhere,
Or no longer living.
But, always, they will remain
In a little flame of memory
Burning in my mind's eye.


Thank you for reading. It was a long post, and I appreciate you hanging in there.

A community shower; I'm not sure if it was a baby shower or a bridal shower. It was my first; I was all of three months old. Can you find me? (That's a kindly neighbour who is holding me.) You can see part of an old-fashioned telephone at the top of the photo, just left of center. The baskets of gifts for the honoree of the shower can be seen on the floor. All the women wore dresses. And most of them wore high heels. I wore a diaper and a nightie. By the time I got old enough to be the guest of honour at a shower women were mostly wearing trousers. Way off topic, I know.

There I am!

Question:  What kind of community did you grow up in?