Life in a Nutshell

I’m on Round 73 with the Mandala. I added orange, pale yellow and red from earlier rounds to bring the colors outward. My inspiration for part 11 was the fiery sunset, the sky glowed intensely Saturday evening with the beginning of our heat wave here in Jersey. Thankfully, today is the last of this heat and air advisory. I don’t mind the heat so much but 95 is more than I enjoy.  I’m crocheting the Mandala directly under a ceiling fan or I’d be roasting. The picture doesn’t do the three colors justice but next to the blue is the orange, then its yellow followed by the cherry red and when I begin Round 74 it will be yellow again then the orange will end this part. The stitches are hdc, dc and dtr which are easy enough to do.DSC_0019

I did sneak in a mental health break and worked on a seashell hat and scarf pattern that I saw on Rhondda’s  Oombawka Design Crochet. I was very pleased with how it worked up. I’m not thrilled with the buttons I’ve come across yet so that part isn’t done yet. The brown button isn’t large enough nor does it contrast enough. The white plastic just looks cheap to me. Maybe it’s just me because I really wanted a seashell about the size of the white button but finding it thus far has been quite frustrating.

I’m inclined to have the lighter turquoise be the front versus the darker only because so much of the darker turquoise shows on the hat. This is the first time, I’ve tried Caron’s Cake skeins, I loved how the colors unfolded in this pattern. I still have a small ball of yarn after completing the scarf and hat.

If you haven’t checked out Rhondda’s patterns they work real easy with the clear instructions. I’ve included the link to the next hat I’m going to do for my grandson.

https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2017/06/just-my-style-hat-free-pattern.html

Writing challenge for the week wasn’t as much as I hoped but I still did accomplish 35 minutes a day with the blogging challenge I am doing on Writing.com and I wrote 2 poems that I’m still mucking with before I share them.

We’ve had guests at our home since last Tuesday until yesterday with the Airbnb part of our lives. Tuesday through Thursday, we had two writers join us because they were attending a writing conference in Princeton. Then we had a couple from DC up to watch their son in a soccer championship for the weekend. And the final guests were a one-night college couple that left a lot to be desired and encouraged me to change the details on my listing. Two of the three groups were awesome and we really enjoyed the conversations immensely. I was genuinely sad to see the DC couple leave.

After looking at Tami’s cinnamon rolls and broccoli alfredo I decided to make the alfredo Saturday evening for dinner, the lesser of the two evils much to Vic’s disappointment.  He’s not starving by a long shot. I made lemon cupcakes and apple brownies for the guests to enjoy and there were tons of leftovers. We had blueberry muffins and a lemon coffee cake for breakfast.  The alfredo, I decided to try a low-cal version with vegetable broth, flour, and a bit of olive oil instead of heavy cream with freshly grated parmesan and garlic. I added broccoli that I had sauteed with garlic and fresh herbs from the garden after the sauce began to thicken.  I love using fresh herbs. I grow rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and sage in rail planters.   It came out so good, Tami, thanks for the inspiration.  But I can never cook just for one meal so, on Sunday, I decided to add chicken and mushrooms which definitely took it to the next level. YUM!

Yesterday, I made us grilled cheese with tomato and fresh basil on sourdough bread for lunch. It was simply too hot to eat anything heavier and besides we had a dinner plan that was a lot more appealing. We went out for an ice cream date with our grandson, Chris. I don’t know about you but when it’s 92 degrees ice cream is a perfect dinner alternative. He enjoyed having ice cream instead of dinner too.

I’ve been enjoying reading USA Through Our Eyes posts about Rochester, New York. I learned a lot about the city and saw some lovely glimpses of the area. Gabe’s digital painting is really good , you should check it out.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/52885002/posts/1489123409

If you’re looking for healthcare info  I suggest you check out my better half’s blog Crain’s Comments.

https://vlcrain17.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-scandals-in-for-profit-medicine/

He’s a researcher and enjoys helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected nuances. If you have a question, he’s the person to ask, he’s really good at finding answers to health issues.

I’m going to close with Theresa’s challenge to write with our inner child creativity inspiring us to do something different than we normally write. That in itself is difficult to do because we’re just creatures of habit. At least, I know I am and writing differently sometimes makes me feel unnerved. I need my coffee cup and my pencil in hand. Even this blog entry I wrote the jest of it on paper and then copied it here on WordPress. I feel safe with my paper and pencil.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/56405964/posts/6515

If you haven’t checked out Theresa’s Tattoo Girl, you’re missing an enjoyable read. I can’ t wait to see what happens next with Jaime and Corey.

 

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. ”   

Soren Kierkegaard

 

 

 

Featured Poet~Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska

On Death, without Exaggeration

It can’t take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
that couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

Death
always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.

 

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “The People on the Bridge”, 1986
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all.
Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don’t rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
My apologies to the felled tree for the table’s four legs.
My apologies to great questions for small answers.
Truth, please don’t pay me much attention.
Dignity, please be magnanimous.
Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.
Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.
My apologies to everyone that I can’t be each woman and each man.
I know I won’t be justified as long as I live,
since I myself stand in my own way.
Don’t bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light.

 

Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, and translator. Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.

 

Poets and Poetry, Writing Challenge and the Mandala

I will admit there is a smugness among poets because we try to use our poetry to make something happen or stop happening. We hang onto that thread of belief that what we wrote will shorten a nightmare, maybe even save a life. We find it unimaginable to not try with our writing.

There are definitely some bad poems out there but for every bad poem, there is the one intellectual poem that will strike a nerve. As an author on more than one occasion, a poem I’ve written has surprised me with the end result being different than where I began.

This particular poem has engaged different readers in ways I didn’t anticipate. From how did you know how alone I feel, or I’ve been there or are you okay?

Undesired

I lie

withered beside

the road like

a broken little bird

to confused to fly.

My neglected state

is apparent

even to the most

oblivious of

the oblivious.

Anger and frustration

sustain me

initially

but even that

energy fades

leaving a pitiful wisp

of what I once

was.

Now, a memory

shuffled among

many, I’ve

lost value

over time

until all

that is left

of me is

dust.©

The writing challenge had a slight bump in the road, Monday, and Tuesday no matter what I began writing ended up torn into pieces in frustration. My poor pencil snapped at one point because I was pushing so hard into the pad. Course, having my migraine spike that the control meds didn’t take the edge off didn’t help. I decided to sleep,  read some and work on the mandala until the Botox injections finally kicked in and the migraine from hades dissipated. It’s been three days since the injections and I am still struggling but at least today when I sat down to write I wrote something I liked.

Marcus sent me back my critique on Death and I and unfortunately, his commentary was the same as Vic’s that with all the time I’ve been spending trying to emulate what other authors in our local writing group do I lost my own voice in the process. So today, I went back to the table with my beloved pencil and began again line by line.

Funny thing before I knew it three hours had flown by and a whole pot of coffee drank. Oops, sorry, Vic.  (I’m a serious coffee drinker unlike my husband, he doesn’t usually drink more than one cup whereas I am usually a pot and more. I sleep like a baby every night regardless what time I indulge.) For this week, Theresa, Ronel, Tami I have almost 5 hours accomplished, although 2 I really feel were unproductive.

I did get some blog reading done. I spent some time with usathroughtyoureyeswith Audrey, Tom, and Emma (their dog). I also tried finger crocheting without much success, Yolanda. I did enjoy catching up with your crochet posts. The sweater is gorgeous but she (Yolanda) is frustrated with the sleeves. My only crochet clothing projects were vests for my children when they were younger. I do hats and scarves quite often because I love the look of Tunisian stitches. I’ve avoided shirts because of the sleeves and the way they drape or don’t drape as she discovered. Misstalkaholic had an interesting post about the Wagah border I enjoyed in addition to her examples of baggy shirts and wearing options. I’m guilty of liking loose baggy shirts untucked and just hanging there but then I’m 61 years old and comfort matters immensely to me. Tami is trying out bloglovin. I wish you lots of luck Tami.  I blog on Writing.com, I don’t have time to commit to another site beyond here and there. I did see oceanoriginals is looking for pattern testers. I briefly contemplated that and decided not to stretch myself any thinner than I already am.

We’re on Airbnb now, trying to earn some much-needed money to finish the renovations in this stone fortress so I really need to stay on top of the house cleaning and not let my furballs get to out of hand.

Mandala update:

I’m on round 66, the most challenging row thus far I have encountered. The directions are a bit complicated and working with two yarns at once have definitely slowed my progress. I’m working with baby blue and royal blue in this section which is Part 10. The designer did note there are only two colors in this part.

Round 64 and 65 were a snap unlike 66. I have taken it apart now 3 times because I messed up the popcorn spacing and the changing of colors which shows big time if you don’t have it as directed. It didn’t help either that Purryl, our oldest tabby, decided to chew the yarn I had pulled out either. A migraine didn’t help either.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis

I’m taking my time and checking often now so I don’t have to take it apart again. Plus I moved to the table so the mandala did not lay on top of me because it is mighty toasty here. I could give in and put the AC on but I’m resisting. We’ve been shut up for so long I want to hear the birds sing, and even that crazy woodpecker who’s clearly not working for the government because I can see his accomplishments .:)

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle

Have a great day!

Writing Challenge Continued

The rough draft of the poem I shared several days ago about life in moments and another one about wildflowers I took with me to my writing critique group. They enjoyed the imagery but the feedback was the cadence was off in both. One of the authors Raz Steel suggested I merge my poems into paragraphs with punctuation and see what comes to mind with it in a different format. This is both poems together with punctuation.

  Life in a Snapshot

This morning, I saw the droplets of water on the glossy leaves and fragrant spring petals. The plants bowed in the breeze, joyful for their reprieve from Mother Nature’s exploits. The birds sang sweet melodies, and a squirrel chattered noisily. Each sure, they have the remedies for the making of a beautiful day.

I sat with my coffee cup to my right while I scribbled with my pencil on paper. I tried to keep my thoughts reined in, but I’m enchanted at the moment. My youngest kitten nudged my hand startling me out of my musing. I happily agreed to Macavity’s insistent demand.

Unable to focus, I asked Vic to come dance with me in the field of clover. Our toes tickled the sweet fragrances free. I entwined garlands of wild flowers for us to wear as the bumblebees happily buzzed from blossom to blossom. The celandine and berries add brilliant color to the spring canvas. The birds sang magical notes as we strolled hand in hand back home as the sun faded behind the treetops.

At our age, we cherish every minute in this revolving door called life.

Life in a Snapshot evolved further with Raz Steel ‘s help. He hates adverbs and redundancies and I’m guilty of using both. Needless to say, he jumped all over them and immediately brought them to my attention. I’m eternally grateful for his editing prowess.

What do you think of Life in a Snapshot now?

Droplets of water beaded on glossy leaves and spring petals this morning. The plants bowed in the breeze, joyful for their reprieve from Mother Nature’s exploits. Birds sang and squirrels chattered, each sure they had the remedy for rendering a beautiful day.

I sat with a coffee cup and scribbled with pencil on paper, my thoughts reined in, but enchanted, nonetheless. Macavity, my kitten, nudged my hand and startled me out of my musing, and I agreed to his insistent demand.

Unable to focus, I asked Vic to dance with me in the field of clover. I entwined garlands of daisies and lavender to wear, as the bumblebees buzzed from blossom to blossom. Our toes tickled the sweet fragrances free, and celandine and berries added brilliant color to the Spring canvas. Magic guided us home as we strolled hand in hand, and the sun faded behind the trees.

*************************************************************************************

My writing was derailed again. Unfortunately, it was for bad news.  My deceased husband’s aunt texted me to let me know my ex-brother-in-law Jimmy had passed away.  Wow, He’s the same age as me. Jimmy’s health had been complicated with diabetes and heart issues for some time now. I’ll miss him but I know he is in a better place.

RIP Jimmy Osborne.

angel

               Don’t Cry For Me © Deborah Garcia Gaitan

Don’t cry for me,
I will be okay.
Heaven is my home now,
and this is where I’ll stay.
Don’t cry for me,
I’m where I belong.
I want you to be happy
and try to stay strong.
Don’t cry for me,
It was just my time.
But I will see you someday
on the other side.
Don’t cry for me,
I am not alone.
The angels are with me
to welcome me home.
Don’t cry for me,
for I have no fear.
All my pain is gone,
and Jesus took my tears.
Don’t cry for me,
this is not the end.
I’ll be waiting here for you,
when we meet again.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/dont-cry-for-me

“I have come to know that it [death] is an important thing to keep in mind — not to complain or to make melancholy, but simply because only with the honest knowledge that one day I will die I can ever truly begin to live.”

—R.A. Salvatore, The Halfling’s Gem

I’m going to give a shameless plug too for my friend, fellow author Raz Steel. He has two published books available on Amazon. I’ve posted one link the other is easy to find.

Spending time with Poe

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

A Dream is one of the countless poems Poe has written, a poem that contains imagery, symbolism, and a profound theme that explains how a dream can cause hope as well as sorrow. My attraction to Poe has always been because of the dark topics he focused his work on. Last year I shared my very favorite Annabel Lee and also the Raven. Anyone that reads poetry is familiar with the Raven, it’s a classic. But if asked are they familiar with some of his other great poems probably not. I hope you enjoy reading some of his less known works as much as I do.

A Dream Within a Dream  by Edgar Allen Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”~Poe

In the first stanza, “In visions of the dark knight, I have dreamed of joy departed- But a waking dream of life and light, Hath left me broken-hearted.” Poe relates his feelings about his desire and the sorrow felt. Poe’s intention was to show how a dream may be the only hope you have, but it is only a lie in reality. Another example is “Ah! what is not a dream by day, To him whose eyes are cast… Hath cheered me as a lovely beam. Poe is talking to himself about his confusions and emotions when having a dream in the middle of a horrible life he is living in. He wrote the poem in his perspective, and we know this by the figurative language he used to show intimacy. The poem discusses motivation, anxiety, and the false hope you get when dreaming, only to wake up knowing it was never true. It is still very relatable today.
He uses literary devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, symbolism, imagery, and others to show a deeper understanding of dreams and the dynamic but deceitful images that they show us. These devices are fundamental to the development and creation and allow Poe to expand his ideas to a greater extent.

To One in Paradise by Edgar Allen Poe

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine–
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.
Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“On! on!”–but o’er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o’er!
“No more–no more–no more”–
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams–
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams!

Alas! for that accursed time
They bore thee o’er the billow,
From love to titled age and crime,
And an unholy pillow!
From me, and from our misty clime,
Where weeps the silver willow!

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”~Poe

Poe’s sad poem, To One in Paradise, deals with the loss of a significant other something most of us are familiar with or will be.  The narrator says that love between he and the lady was all he ever wanted. He compares the object of his affection to various tangible elements in life. He feels that the love he and the woman shared was too good to last; now his one, true love affair is over, fallen victim to the grave. He is so distraught that he assures the reader that even nature will echo his pain. He was a dead man walking, miserable and alone. In this, we see how the universal love and death theme applies.

 

 

A Poet I Enjoy

From the Garden by Anne Sexton

Come, my beloved, 
consider the lilies.
We are of little faith.
We talk too much.
Put your mouthful of words away
and come with me to watch
the lilies open in such a field,
growing there like yachts,
slowly steering their petals
without nurses or clocks.
Let us consider the view:
a house where white clouds 
decorate the muddy halls.
Oh, put away your good words
and your bad words. Spit out
your words like stones!
Come here! Come here!
Come eat my pleasant fruits.

“From the Garden” by Anne Sexton from The Complete Poems. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999. Reprinted with permission.

Outward Appearances

DSC_0443Do you ever consider what your clothing says about you? How much time do we spend fussing over how we look? I know I’m pretty laid back because I’m a blue jeans girl. My husband teases me that you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

I was reading poetry. Guilty, I know I do it all the time. I came across a poem by David Ignatow called Coupling. In the poem, he remarks on the importance we place on clothing. I chuckled thinking life would be a lot easier if we did all wear the same thing. In my childhood, we wore uniforms. At the time I hated it but thinking back it removed all stigmas about incomes because we all looked the same. There weren’t the obvious signs that you see in today’s world between the endowed and less endowed.

Life would be a heck of a lot easier without the stress of the perfect outward appearance, don’t you agree?

Coupling – Poem by David Ignatow ~
Against The Evidence, Selected Poems 1934-94

Wherever he looks, standing still in the city,
are people born of coupling, walking in gray suits
and ties, in long dresses and coiffed hair,
speaking elegantly, of themselves and of each other,
forgetting for the moment their origin,
perhaps wishing not to know or to remember.
They dress as if having been born in a clothing store.

They were born of men and women naked
and gyrating from the hips
and with movements up and down
and with climactic yells,
as if losing their lives
in the pleasure and so glad,
so wildly glad.

From this rises the child
from between the wet crotch, blood and mucus,
He stands upright and pronounces himself
humankind and steps from bed and clothes himself
in a gray suit and from the next room of birth
steps a woman in a long dress. They meet
in the corridor and arm in arm walk its length
in search of one room, empty of inhabitants
but prepared for them.

 

Quote

“For every poet, it is always morning in the world. History a forgotten, insomniac night; History and elemental awe are always our early beginning because the fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world, in spite of History.” ~Derek Walcott

Walcott passed on March 7th, 2017 at his home in St. Lucia. His metaphorical poetry captured the physical beauty of the Caribbean while never forgetting the complexities of his existence in a two culture world. Walcott was a mixed race poet living on a British-ruled island.

“Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? I who have cursed …

I who have cursed …

The drunken officer of British rule, how choose

Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?

Betray them both, or give back what they give?”

The Season of Phantasmal Peace
Then all the nations of birds lifted together
the huge net of the shadows of this earth
in multitudinous dialects, twittering tongues,
stitching and crossing it. They lifted up
the shadows of long pines down trackless slopes,
the shadows of glass-faced towers down evening streets,
the shadow of a frail plant on a city sill—
the net rising soundless as night, the birds’ cries soundless, until
there was no longer dusk, or season, decline, or weather,
only this passage of phantasmal light
that not the narrowest shadow dared to sever.
And men could not see, looking up, what the wild geese drew,
what the ospreys trailed behind them in silvery ropes
that flashed in the icy sunlight; they could not hear
battalions of starlings waging peaceful cries,
bearing the net higher, covering this world
like the vines of an orchard, or a mother drawing
the trembling gauze over the trembling eyes
of a child fluttering to sleep;
                                                     it was the light
that you will see at evening on the side of a hill
in yellow October, and no one hearing knew
what change had brought into the raven’s cawing,
the killdeer’s screech, the ember-circling chough
such an immense, soundless, and high concern
for the fields and cities where the birds belong,
except it was their seasonal passing, Love,
made seasonless, or, from the high privilege of their birth,
something brighter than pity for the wingless ones
below them who shared dark holes in windows and in houses,
and higher they lifted the net with soundless voices
above all change, betrayals of falling suns,
and this season lasted one moment, like the pause
between dusk and darkness, between fury and peace,
but, for such as our earth is now, it lasted long.
Derek Walcott, “The Season of Phantasmal Peace” from Collected Poems: 1948-1984. Copyright © 1987 by Derek Walcott.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.